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Buser, M and Koch, C (2014) Is this none of the contractor’s business? Social sustainability challenges informed by literary accounts. Construction Management and Economics, 32(07), 749-59.
- Type: Journal Article
- ISBN/ISSN: 0144-6193
- URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/01446193.2014.927898
In Sweden many suburbs built at the end of the 1960s are in need of physical renovation to comply with new energy regulations. Some of these neighbourhoods face serious social challenges which also need to be tackled. The three largest Swedish contractors, usually very active in providing technical and environmentally friendly renovation, claim now they can provide social sustainability solutions on a commercial basis. For many years the problems of deprived suburbs have attracted the attention and the care of the public institutions, and though many initiatives have been carried out to address these issues, results have been sometimes quite limited. To discuss the social challenges linked to suburbs? renovation, an alternative method is proposed: the analysis of literary accounts. The goal is to assess whether stories relating the lives of residents in deprived Swedish suburbs can inform and therefore contribute to the development of socially sustainable solutions. Referring to the literature on social sustainability, this qualitative and explorative study uses critical discourse analysis as the method. Results suggest that focusing on renovated housing, employment, social services and leisure activities is not enough to rehabilitate disadvantaged neighbourhoods. They also indicate some specific problems linked to the built environment that contractors could help to solve.