Erik Hannerz on collaboration surrounding young people's involvement in urban development
Erik Hannerz is a senior lecturer in sociology who researches issues related to identity, style, authenticity and creativity in relation to urban environments.
Is there any type of collaboration in which you have been involved and with which you are particularly pleased?
– I am pleased with most of the collaborative projects in which I have been involved. If I were to choose a specific one, it would have to be the development of the harbour promenade in Simrishamn in which I worked together with Simrishamn municipality and the companies Sydväst Arkitektur och Landskap and Streetcorner. Sydväst first contacted me prior to their work in Simrishamn about a very simple question relating to young people's use of public spaces, and this grew into a discussion about organising and motivating young people and led to my involvement in the project.
In what way was this particularly successful?
– It was fantastic to see how a talented project manager, in this case Sydväst in collaboration with the municipality, not only listened to the research I came up with, but also actively included it in the project. A direct result of my participation was the inclusion of the association Streetcorner, which works with young people and creativity, often in socially marginalised areas. They built on our ideas, arranged workshops and helped to decorate the seating furniture designed for the project. This meant that a number of young people were involved as an active part of the project and were made to feel that they could influence their local environment and that their decorations became part of their city. At the inauguration, all parties were invited to give a lecture and presentation about how we worked, and my role then was to connect our insights and experiences based on our different interests and to highlight the results, as well as position the project in a broader sociological context.
Did you come across anything that you think could be problematic when collaborating?
– Not really, but on the other hand, the whole thing was handled very pragmatically. I gradually became more and more involved and could thus also control how much I was involved.
What was the result of your collaboration?
– In addition to the rebuilding of the harbour area in Simrishamn, the project resulted in me starting to collaborate with several other landscape architects on various project ideas across Skåne. I was also invited to lecture at the Swedish Architecture Days.