A building does not begin and end with four walls.
A town square is much more than an open space, and a city’s network of streets does more than just control the flow of traffic.
Architecture and design affect our lives on a daily basis: how we perceive each other and ourselves, how we meet, collaborate and live our lives together. With the help of architecture we can change our everyday lives, and eventually we may be able to change the world too.
Today we face several challenges, globally as well as nationally. These are about everything from climate change, population growth and segregation to housing shortages, health inequality and social division.
Architecture can play an important role here. Good architecture does more than just provide a sensory experience – it can also be used as an instrument for real change.
With well executed infrastructure we can reduce noise and emissions. With careful planning of housing we can increase integration. And by creating new places to meet we can get people to meet in ways they have not done before.
In other words: we see a clear shift, in which architecture creates benefit and content, and is not limited to the surface.
In may 2018 a historic decision was taken by the Swedish parliament, the Riksdag
Sweden became one of only a handful of countries in the world to adopt a new, comprehensive policy for what are known as designed living environments. Put simply, this is about everything that exists around us: residential buildings, schools and hospitals – and also public space with its parks, streets and squares.
The objective is clear: architecture and design are to contribute to a sustainable, equitable and less segregated society in which everyone gets the opportunity to influence our shared environment.
Our new architecture policy is closely associated with the UN’s 17 global goals for sustainable development, and the road ahead has already been mapped out.
The Riksdag’s goal is that quality and sustainability will always take precedence over short-term financial interests.
Knowledge about architecture and design will be disseminated through research and education. We will safeguard the good living environments we already have, and make them even better.
We will listen to the people who live in cities and communities, and let their needs and wishes lead to concrete projects that change both the social structure and everyday life.
In order to succeed we need everyone to work together: politicians and business people, architects and contractors, urban planners and inhabitants. The public sector must lead the way and encourage everyone else to follow suit.
The National Board of Housing, Building and Planning has been put in charge of coordinating policy, monitoring developments, improving competencies and providing guidance to government agencies, county councils and municipalities.
A new position has been created – that of Sweden’s national architect. The national architect will serve as an inspirer and facilitator, a positive force that opens up possibilities of new collaboration and helps us keep focused on our main goal: to use architecture and design to help us build the society we all want to live in.
Would you like to know more?
On www.boverket.se/arkitektur you can read more (in Swedish) about architecture and designed living environments.