The Street of Associations : Migration and Infrastructural (Re)Production of Norra Grängesbergsgatan, Malmö
Sammanfattning: As global migration alters the demography of Swedish cities in the postwelfare era, socio-spatial polarisation and discrimination present acute challenges. In recent decades, Malmö has transformed from an industrial into a postindustrial, service economy-oriented city. The neoliberal urban planning and regeneration policies guiding such processes carry detrimental social and economic effects for unprivileged groups with limited opportunities and access to recourses, such as migrants. The focus of this study is the post-industrial street of Norra Grängesbergsgatan (NGBG) in the southeast part of Malmö. Geographically central, yet peripheral and long associated with crime, surveillance, and ‘informal’ economy, it has transformed into a hub for migrant breadwinners and entrepreneurs, as well as artistic and activist groups. NGBG provides a complex case of how migration and urban marginalisation intersect with neoliberal policies, and how migrants have responded creatively to such processes through spatial and material interventions. By weaving together the stories of and from the street, the thesis unfolds the translocal associations created in this nexus. Based on a combination of ethnographic and architectural methods, mapping the in situ post-industrial conditions of NGBG, the thesis explores how migrants have (re)produced infrastructures in support of their aspirations to remain in the street in face of the risk of banishment. The spatial, socio-economic, and temporal infrastructures in focus of this study reveal how migrants negotiate their right to difference and their right to the city. In the face of obstacles and limitations, spatial as well as temporal, places of belonging, care, and survival emerge otherwise. Paradoxically, however, these transformations from below have placed NGBG in the limelight of commercial development interests, intent on ‘revitalising’ the street into a hub for leisure and entertainment. Hence, migrant practices remain ‘off the map’, discursively and materially invisible in planning and design policies and practices. This thesis argues that other ways of city-making require a revision of the value systems guiding planning institutions, which engage with multiple voices and subjectivities in the pursuit of co-production and co-habitation. It suggests an architecture of associations as an epistemological and empirical project, as well as an imperative for urban design practice.
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