Swedish Production of Sustainable Urban Imaginaries in China
2013 (English)In: The Journal of urban technology, ISSN 1063-0732, E-ISSN 1466-1853, Vol. 20, no 1, 77-94 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Sweden and the broader region of Scandinavia have been widely praised for their efforts to develop and promote models of sustainability for the rest of the world. Swedish international architecture and urban planning firms are driven by the advantage of being able to brand their projects as Sustainable and Scandinavian. In this sense, the sustainable city has become a Swedish service to export. In order to strengthen a coherent image of Swedish sustainable urban development, in, 2007, the Swedish Trade Council initiated a marketing platform for eco-profiled companies under the name of SymbioCity. This paper seeks to explore the production of imaginaries at play in the performance of SymbioCity. It especially addresses the way in which notions of progress and a better city life were presented to Chinese audiences in the Swedish pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai in 2010. The Swedish pavilion is here regarded as a node in the export of a wider network of Swedish sustainable urban planning services. I argue that the imaginaries that Sweden produces through activities associated with the SymbioCity underlines a view that equates progress with the notion of decoupling of economic growth and CO2-emissions. In presenting an image of decoupling as a Swedish experience possible to transfer to China, it also establishes views of progress as linear and space as static. Using the term absent presence opens up a counter narrative, which turns decoupling as a Swedish experience into a myth and raises the need for urban imaginaries based on a relational view of space.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 20, no 1, 77-94 p.
Sweden, Sustainable Urban Development, Decoupling, China
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-119070DOI: 10.1080/10630732.2012.735405ISI: 000314349900006ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84877326932OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-119070DiVA: diva2:609377
QC 201303052013-03-052013-03-052013-03-05Bibliographically approved