Proximity to everything and sustainability: what Swedish students want from their future city

Written by Helena Paulsson

In the summer of 2020, we asked 100 Swedish students in our network about their view on cities. Here are their answers.

To follow up on our larger survey among young Europeans from last year, we asked them what type of city in terms of size that they would like to live in.

Only 18 percent said that they can see themselves living in a city with more than 1 million inhabitants, the vast majority prefer smaller cities.

We also asked them whether or not their opinion had changed as a result of the pandemic. 83 percent replied that it hadn’t.

When asked if sustainability is important to them when choosing where to live, a staggering 99 percent said that it is.

Future Cities
Finally, we asked them an open question: what is most important to you in your future city?
The following three quotes sum up the majority of responses.

”When I’ve thought of my future city, I’ve always thought that I wanted to have everything close. Whether it’s the gym, shopping or work – all of that was important. Recently, however, I have begun to value living close to nature and water, and being able to have something of my own. The dream would of course be to combine these two. Additionally, I think it’s important with a sense of community. Something I miss having a place where you meet your neighbours in a natural way. It could be common spaces for barbeques, workouts or just hanging out.”

“I want my future city to be built to be able to satisfy all needs locally – work, culture and leisure. That my neighbourhood covers all needs in a sustainable way, in order to reduce traffic and focus less on car roads, which would be replaced by green areas and areas for socialising. To be able to avoid commuting to work in one part of town, pick up the kids at another, shop at a third and then go to a fourth place for the evening activities. I think it would benefit both ecological and social sustainability if one’s world became a little smaller, but of higher quality.”

”I believe that small and medium-sized cities are the future as they are the most sustainable, since animals and nature come closer and aren’t excluded. Energy supply and waste management are two important aspects for a sustainable circular society, which is a criterion for me when choosing what city or area to live in.”


Helena Paulsson - VP and Head of Business Area Architecture and Design

Helena Paulsson

VP and Head of Business Area Architecture and Design

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