On the Frontier of Mental and Spatial Change in the Swedish – German Countryside(s)


Transformations in 21st century city is leading into the deepest rural areas, bringing along with it increasingly new forms of activities, infrastructures and social transformations. Rural areas are experiencing accelerated realities consisting of demographic influx and outflux, social exclusion, digital divisions, extended landscapes of monoculture, decreased biodiversity and an urgent need for ecological reparations.

It is obvious that the rural areas in Europe are on the frontier of a spatial and ecological change, yet these transitions are too often overlooked by architects and spatial planners. Other disciplines have introduced new and alternative perspectives that are having an impact on the applied research and design methods focusing on these expanding city networks. 

To be able to anticipate these fast moving trends, the European countryside(s) urgently needs to apply cross-disciplinary readings and invest in transnational co-operation. This is the first in a series of seminars that begin with the ambition to understand and to connect historic and contemporary transformations affecting the Swedish and German countryside(s). Along with the seminars we’ll make attempts to critically distinguish what kind of possible future(s) do we as European citizens offer the union’s countryside(s) as well as what kind of life values does the countryside(s) offers us
as humans.
This program is funded by the Goethe Institut.

Countryside Nostalgia

Dr. Martina Doehler-Behzadi, Director at IBA Thüringen.

Madeleine Eriksson, Umeå University. Associate Professor at the Department of Geography and Economic History.

Peter Lang, Royal Art Institute. Professor of Architecture Theory and History.

Marie Kraft Selze, Lecteur. Umeå Architecture School.

Place: Umeå Architecture School
Date: 27th of March 2019
Time: 13:00 – 16:00
Place: Umeå School of Architecture
Partners: Umeå  School of Architecture and Royal Art Institute

What is the image of the European countryside(s), to what extension has the image affected our understanding of what the countryside is, and how real is this image?

There is a urgent need to develop new tools for how listen, analyse and communicate the challenges and possibilities for the European countryside(s). Within this seminar Professor Vanessa Miriam Carlow from ISU reflects what kind of new know-how needs to be generated in order to develop a situated spatial planning in rural areas and required ecological reparations. How can we plan for a resilient future for villages and small towns in an urbanizing world?

An Urban Occupation of the Countryside(s)

Place: Goethe institut, Stockholm
Date: 13th of November 2019


The anthropocene marks the initial steps for the destabilising conditions we experience today. One of these conditions is the unbalanced relation between the urban and the rural. Today the future is mainly defined and experienced through the urban agenda while the rural areas still continues to used as sources of resources for the ever growing city. The urban occupation of rural areas is manifested throughout many ways! What are the change makers and could spatial planning be one them, how then?

This program is funded by the Goethe Institut Schweden.