Physical planning in place-making through design and image building

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This paper discusses how physical planning works with place-making through urban design to support image creation in a municipality that aims to create a new image for its city. Two large-scale urban development projects in Sweden are analysed. The analysis focuses on official plans and documentation, and expert interviews. It distinguishes how place-making by physical planning happens through aestheticisation, the design of physical environments for specific groups of inhabitants and by granting visual and symbolic coherence to an area aligned with the new image for the city. The construction of this image is kick-started by a flagship development, but requires that subsequent projects support complementing urban visions, so as to grant coherence to the perceptions of the new image. In the process, heterogeneity, variation and conflict are tamed and urbanity is framed for “creative classes”. The paper thus highlights potential dilemmas that place-making might create for the practice of physical planning in urban development and contributes to the discussions on the transformation of public sector urban planning in the context of urban entrepreneurialism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-172
JournalJournal of housing and the built environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • physical planning
  • place-making
  • urban entrepreneurialism


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