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'Breaking Segregation'—Rhetorical Construct or Effective Policy? The Case of the Metropolitan Development Initiative in Sweden

Roger Andersson
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Roger Andersson: Institute for Housing and Urban Research, Uppsala University, Box 785, SE-801 29 Gävle, Sweden, Roger.Andersson@ibf.uu.se

Urban Studies, 2006, vol. 43, issue 4, 787-799

Abstract: This paper aims to summarise the experiences of the Swedish 'big city policy' (officially labelled the Metropolitan Development Initiative) and to judge the potential for achieving the MDI's overall goal to 'break segregation'. This state initiative was launched in 1999 with the two aims to promote economic growth and to break socioeconomic, ethnic and discriminatory segregation. The two aims have in practice been weakly connected and the paper will concentrate on describing and analysing the second goal. It draws upon a couple of EUfunded projects, the UGIS and Restate projects, and also makes use of some of the many local and national evaluation reports that have been produced by independent researchers as well as by staff expertise at the Swedish Board of Integration. The paper concludes that the ambitious aim to 'break segregation' has not been reached and attempts to explain why this is the case. It is, however, important to clarify that the initiative has not been a waste of public money and that it contains many positive elements and outcomes.

Date: 2006
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