Updates from Göteborg (Gothenburg)

Updates from Göteborg (Gothenburg)

In the Gothenburg project, PI Kristina Lindström has her primary focus on public space governance and how events are used as a strategic tool to fulfill societal goals of a more inclusive city. Gothenburg has a long history as a “city of events” and, as a consequence, extensive areas in the city centre are designed to meet the needs of the local event industry. However, Gothenburg is also a city suffering from segregation of marginalized groups and consequently a key challenge is how events in public space and publicly funded events can contribute to a more inclusive society. A local event industry extensively owned by the municipality calls for strategies proving societal values beyond short-term growth, which is often the case in event and tourism development.

Governance is one of the most significant influences on how events develop and eventually become a facilitator of spatial sustainable development. However, events in the urban public space is a complex governance phenomenon, cutting across several domains of governance; institutional structures, policymaking processes and underlying diverse power structures.

The complex, yet crucial, nature of governance of urban public space in the face of eventification and festivalization of the city and, other related topics were discussed when the Festspace Gothenburg project met with the innovation project “Evenemangspiloter”, a pilot project with the purpose of using existing resources (e.g. public space) in innovative ways in order to prevent marginalization of residents and increase inclusion through events. Two of the stakeholders involved in “Evenemangspiloter” are Got Event and Equal City, both organizations within the municipality of Gothenburg. Got Event operates several of the city’s arenas and Equal City is a long-term initiative aimed at making the city an equal city. So far, “Evenemangspiloter” has developed co-creative methods to ensure broad representations of residents in the development of alternative inclusive event strategies. One example of upcoming activity is participatory observations at events with the purpose of understanding the nature of exclusion in the event context.

It became evident “Evenemangspiloter” can offer a valuable local and inter-sectoral platform for the Festspace Gothenburg project and further, that Festspace can add research-based knowledge and benchmark opportunities to “Evenemangspiloter”.

Some examples of public event spaces in the city centre of Gothenburg heavily debated in the face of increased demand for sustainability: the Ullevi Arena (above),
and Heden (below), the main arena area of the Gothia Cup, the World’s largest youth soccer tournament.
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