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The Secret Life of Möllevången
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The Secret Life of Möllevången

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  • 1. the secret life of Möllevången...
  • 2. In the search for vulnerability This densest part of Malmö is to be found right in the vivid centre of the city. With 40% of the population immigrants or Swedish-born children of immigrants, the selection of 10 000 inhabitants is a good example of the mixture of ethnicities, cultures and nationalities of today’s Malmö. Physically, the 53 hectares of Möllevången consist roughly of three different types of structures: the living quarters built mainly before 1940, the superblocks from 1960-1980 occupying three whole quarters and the “open spaces” - Folkets Park, Möllevångstorget and other smaller openings. The site was originally farmland. Möllevångens gård, situated by Folkets Park, was built in 1796. The building of housing for workers in this area began in 1870, and the garden of the farm was made the first Folkets Park of Sweden in the 1890’s. Today, the area is by some described as the vibrant and hip part of Malmö, known for its sub-cultural feel and politically active youth. Restaurants, pubs and immigrant-driven small stores are visible in the streetscape. Others see problems in the area too - narcotics, unlicenced business and a questionable level of safety. All these are signs of strongly ongoing life in the area. For some years now neglected by the investors and the city of Malmö, Möllevången has developed by itself to being the coolest new hot spot of the city. And all of the sudden, things take a turn rapidly: new housing projects are already at hand, restaurants with price level above the average have found commercial ground in the quarters, and left-wing-intellectual-students with an expensive wardrobe are moving in. In the search for vulnerability, the exposure lies in the slow, controversial transformation of the area from cheap working class quarters to renovated, more expensive and generic cityscape. The evaluation of this process, gentrification, is difficult - not all development is negative. The question at hand is: how to protect Möllevången from loosing its identity and the living ground for its current inhabitants? Are there guidelines to be found for the development where it is inevitable?
  • 3. charising the sub-cultural Möllevången, In this project, I set out for searching for a strategy to strengthen and expand the qualities making it unique.
  • 4. Discovering the streetscape and hidden qualities of Möllevången The street structure inside of Möllenvången is relatively tight. Roughly put three types of street scapes are to be found: streets along commercial activities, streets along residential quarters with no commercial activities but car parking in stead, streets along the parks and openings. The buildings embracing these streets are generally 4-storey high, but variation appears. Inspite of the commercial strokes, majority of the streets are plain and hard urban surfaces with little friction and easy to navigate. The hidden treasures of Möllevången lie in the dense, varied and surprising backyards of the closed quarters. These spaces are not visible for the random person walking by, but their existence is well known amongst those inhabiting the area. These spaces are heavy with possibilities for becoming the starting point of a rich urban resistance project. Their hidden character is in essence in line with the need for an underground activation of Möllevången.
  • 5. Imagine a new structure emerging inside the city,a well kept secret of Möllevången. Common, public, for voluntary organizations, random meetings, small businesses, collectives, underground movements, neighbourhoods collaborations. For everyone in Möllevången. Not that it is inaccessible, quite the contrary, but this you will not find in the tourist map of Malmö. You might just stumble across it, out of curiosity, when peeping in one of the backyard gateways.
  • 6. A rhizome of activities, services, meetings and everyday life grows undercover A new common realm is launched when the public sector steps in and purchases apartments and spaces in the quarters that otherwise would go to property developers and the free marked. Social, small scale commercial, cultural and integrative activities by the city of Malmö, private persons and non-profit organizations are started up inside the residential areas, and a new access is created to these spaces from the backyards. The backyards are opened towards the streets in subtle ways and turned mostly into public spaces. Inside, you can come across a spice marked, children’s playground, stage for an amateur theater, allotment gardens, a dance floor or shelters for wind. The sought-after ideal of intens medieval streetlife and mixture of programs and ownerships is not to be found in the streets of Möllevången, but in the backyards, connecting to a whole network of programs taking you up to the apartment floors and rooftops or down to the basements.
  • 7. A transformation...
  • 8. takes place...