The flagship concept of the '4th urban environment'. Branding and visioning in Malmö, Sweden
Planning Theory & Practice
In the process of turning the post-industrial city of Malmö, Sweden, into a knowledge-based, creative city, new urban planning strategies and visions are being developed. An important component of developing 'the knowledge city' is the spatial conceptualization for renewal of urban life. One such concept introduced in Malmö is 'the 4 th urban environment' [det 4.e stadsrummet]. In this article, based in critical urban studies, the development, branding, and practice of the 4 th urban
... as a strategy to generate a creative economy and knowledge city is critically analysed as part of a neo-liberal planning discourse. The article raises the question: what kind of vision is 'the 4 th urban environment'? What is it an expression of; what does it mean for planning practice and to urban development? Contextualizing and investigating trends of neo-liberal planning ideas are important to understand the social and economic consequences of unequal power relations. The 4th urban environment and its application in Malmö is illustrative of existing neo-liberal planning practices in a Nordic context, and in other similar economies with legacies of redistribution policies and long standing leadership of the Social Democratic party. This article focuses on what is articulated within discourses that re-present particular notions of space and place, to gain a better understanding of what neo-liberal planning does to space.