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Neoliberalization of housing in Sweden: gentrification, filtering and social polarization

  • Karin Hedin
  • Eric Clark
  • Emma Lundholm
  • Gunnar Malmberg
Publiceringsår: 2012
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 443-463
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Annals of the Association of American Geographers
Volym: 102
Nummer: 2
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Taylor & Francis


During the last twenty-five years, housing policy in Sweden has radically changed.

Once forming a pillar of the comprehensive welfare system, abbreviated ‘the Swedish model’,

neoliberal housing politics has established market-governed housing provision with a minimum

of state engagement. This shift has had consequences on the social geography of housing

conditions. The research reported here analyzes social geographic change in Sweden’s three

largest cities, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö, between 1986 and 2001, relating observed

patterns of gentrification and filtering to cycles of accumulation and to neoliberalization of

housing policies. First, we outline the neoliberalization of Swedish housing policies. We then

present an empirical analysis of gentrification and filtering in the three cities, spanning two boom

periods (1986-1991, 1996-2001) and a bust period (1991-1996). The data reveal social

geographic polarization manifested in the growth of super-gentrification and low income

filtering. The analysis also introduces the concept of ordinary gentrification, supporting the move

in gentrification research towards a broad generic conception of the process. Political reforms

after 2001 are summarized and we argue that these are behind the continued increase in

inequality and that the social geographic polarization mapped between 1986 and 2001 has

probably intensified during this decade.


  • Human Geography
  • filtering
  • gentrification
  • housing policy
  • neoliberalism
  • Sweden


  • ISSN: 0004-5608

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