From industrial city to city of knowledge

Per Olof Hallin
Professor in Human Geography, Malmö University

It’s pretty amazing that Malmö has created an ecologically sustainable district on the old site of the Kockums shipyard, once the industrial heart of the city. The adaptation is unique and has received international attention.

I worked as a sheet-metal worker between 1974 and 1980 at Kockums. My workplace, Hall 5, was an impressive building with a huge roof that could be removed so that completed sections of a ship could be lifted out by crane.

In 2001 I returned to the area as I was setting up a course in Urban Studies at Malmö University. To be back in the place where Hall 5 used to be was both fascinating and remarkable; just to stand there and take in the changes that had been made within a couple of decades.

The Western Harbour is a powerful symbol of the development undertaken by the City of Malmö. The transformation of the economy and the development of a world-class sustainable city are also intended to increase job opportunities in districts that are less advanced. This challenge remains.


• The Western Harbour is a world-class example of an ecologically sustainable dense city district. The project started with the Bo 01 exhibition of sustainable and affordable housing. With the new neighbourhoods Flagghusen and Fullrigaran, sustainable criteria are entering the mainstream.

• During the industrial crisis of the 1990s, every fourth job in Malmö disappeared. Today over 9,000 people work in the Western Harbour in many different types of business.

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