Sara Gottschalk: Controversy mapping Sege park. Thinking with controversies in an urban development project

Welcome to a K3 seminar with Sara Gottschalk, PhD candidate in Interaction Design.

The title of the seminar is Controversy mapping Sege park. Thinking with controversies in an urban development project. It will be Sara’s 25 percent PhD seminar. Karin Grundström, Professor in Architecture, Urban Studies, Malmö University, will function as discussant.

This will be an online seminar, carried out through Zoom, and it will take place on Wednesday, March 17 at 10.15-12.00. Please join here:

Below is an abstract for the seminar. If you would like to read Sara’s manuscript, please contact her at

For this seminar I will present and discuss my initial case-study, Controversy mapping Sege Park, initiated in 2020, and still work-in-progress. My research follows a programmatic approach with the perspective of strategic design for sustainability. My own understanding of sustainability resonates with strong sustainability, which stipulates environmental sustainability as the fundamental system for every natural and human system. The human system in focus for this case study is urban development understood as our designed living environment*. The program is conducted through independent studies with overlapping focuses, responding to the overall research question of (1) How does the making of the designed living environment interpret and perform sustainability? And (2) how can strategic design contribute to strong sustainability of our designed living environment? The initial phase of the Sege Park case-study, conducted during 2020, has essentially focused on research question one. To follow up on the second question, strategic design and system thinking will be used to elaborate on alternatives. This will be followed up with a second study using collaborative design approaches together with strategic design and eco-centric perspectives, to encourage citizenship engagement in urban development. 

Controversy mapping Sege Park: In a sense, Sege Park, as a place does not yet exist, mere than as a vision of being the City of Malmö’s next spearhead of sustainable urban development. This is a case-study of the transformative process of the former Eastern hospital becoming a sustainable residential area. The activity of controversy mapping has been central for collecting and structuring the collected material. To understand the project in its process I have structured the controversy mapping around a timeline. The term controversy mapping has been coined by Albena Yaneva, professor in architectural theory, as a practical-didactic method developed from Bruno Latour´s Actor-Network-Theory (ANT). The method aims to follows a controversy us it unfolds in-the-process. The method follows three steps, (1) following, (2) mapping (3) and visualising the controversy. In this seminar I will briefly present the method, some controversies found in the case study, and the process of making a timeline of the Sege Park project. This is work-in-progress, and I position my own process still iterating between all three steps.

By engaging with the case-study of Sege Park through ethnographic methods, thick description and controversy mapping of interpretations of sustainability, this research tangent other research fields such as system thinking, urban planning, environmental humanities and geohumanities. By operating on a systemic level by using the notion of ‘our designed living environment*, I kindly invite all participants to discuss how to further unpack and develop design research from such perspectives?

*The concept designed living environment comes from the Swedish political proposition: Politics for the designed living environment, (Prop. 2017/2018:110 Politik för gestaltad livsmiljö, my translation), presenting the Swedish general policy with targets for architecture, design and public art.

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