The housing area of Sofielund has undergone a dramatic transformation. From pronounced social unrest and exclusion a decade ago, to a well kempt area with increased property ownership and happier residents. Sofielund is unrecognizable. The secret behind the change is a collaboration between the municipality, property owners and other stakeholders to increase the security and safety in the area.
In the autumn of 2010, a mapping of south Sofielund, one of Malmö’s housing areas, was made, showing that housing standards needed to improve and the open drug trade addressed. A large group of young men had taken possession of the area.
59 private property owners were mapped within the area, with 10-15 of them being identified as not taking adequate responsibility for their properties.
A joint agreement allowed the relevant stakeholders to tackle these issues: local NGOs cooperated with the police, while the City of Malmö and researchers liaised with property owners, says Operation Manager Hjalmar Falck at BID Sofielund. Originally, BID stands for Business Improvement District. In the Malmö model, BID stands for Accommodation, Integration and Dialogue.
The property owners signed the letter of intent for creating a safe and pleasant housing area, pushing for the idea of a BID, which entails collaboration between several organizations for good urban development. In 2014, the property owner consortium BID Sofielund was formed where property owners, housing associations, community teams signed up to work together with the City of Malmö, authorities, research institutions and civil society. They aimed to increase well-being, security and cohesion within Sofielund, an aim which tied into their Agenda 2030 goal. The collaboration paid off. Since 2014, security and well-being have increased, relocation has decreased, and residents have reclaimed the area. The BID process went on to win the first prize of the European Crime Prevention Award.
At the same time, the police raised concerns about the adjacent area Möllevången and BID Möllevången started in 2020 to address these concerns.
The collaboration model has led to a reduction in crime and strengthened perceived security. The standard of living has likewise improved, with communal areas kept clean and tidy, and culture and arts initiatives being fostered. Both of these actions have seen the collective strength of Möllevången soar.
In order to spread this method to other areas, the Swedish National Board of Housing and Urban Development was commissioned in 2021 to investigate how site collaborations can be bolstered.
Researchers from the start
Criminologists from Malmö University have followed the BID process from the beginning and provided valuable evaluations. Security certifications of properties is ongoing.