In a few years, preschool children, students, residents and the elderly at the care home will be able to spend time together and have lunch together in Gävle. In the new district Södra Hemlingby, a multifunctional building is being built for increased community, lower resource consumption and reduced costs.

Gävle is growing in many places within the municipality. In Södra Hemlingby, just outside central Gävle, a completely new district is emerging with apartments, terraced houses, semi-detached houses and villas. A new preschool, an elementary school up to the sixth grade as well as a new care- and nursing home will also be built here. From the beginning, they were planned to be built on adjacent plots. But in 2016, the idea was born to share certain premises between the operations that have several similar needs. Instead of building and operating three staff rooms, three kitchens and three dining rooms, the municipality decided instead to build a common house where all activities could coexist, including a full-size sports hall.

However, a project of this caliber is not something you put together in one morning. In addition to the challenges of making decisions and building with several different contractors and principals for the operations, there are also collisions in the operation of operations. Different conditions, cultures, perceptions and attitudes characterize people and can influence behavior. Therefore, the municipality decided to appoint a project that, among other things, investigate how to be able to collaborate across borders. As a result of that, Future Position X took a place in the project. In its role as an innovation hub, FPX acts as a facilitator and coordinator in the sub-project around the test bed for the multifunction building.

Test bed for future knowledge
Henrik Mazzanti is process manager at FPX. He explains that FPX will, among other things, work with in-depth external monitoring and analysis in order to draw lessons about methods and working methods for the various actors, as well as to ensure that relevant test beds are being developed.
– There is a great potential in opening up the multifunctional house as a test bed because the concept is based on several of society’s challenges.
The actual design of the test beds is also part of FPX:s area of expertice.
– Physical test beds can be anything from how to build the property to meet the societal challenges of the future to what furniture is suitable for both children, young people and the elderly will use them in different contexts. It can also be about virtual test beds where we can study different scenarios, such as examining how the test bed can contribute to increased gender equality.

Henrik Mazzanti works closely with Mona Wikland, the municipality’s project manager with the task of coordinating how the premises can be used in the best possible way to benefit all stakeholders.
– When we started looking at how to use the premises, focus was mainly on the collaboration gains, says Mona Wikland. Many older people feel lonely today, for example. Therefore, it was important that people of different ages should be able to meet naturally in the common areas. You are a human being all your life, regardless of whether you go to preschool or if you are a hundred years old.

Sketch of the new area Södra Hemlingby, Gävle Municipality


The multifunctional house in Södra Hemlingby

The contractor Gavlegårdarna is building the care and nursing home, and Gavlefastigheter has been commissioned to build the preschool and school. The school and the care and nursing home will move into the premises in June 2023 and the preschool will start its operations at the turn of the year in 2022-2023.

Together with Future Position X and the University of Gävle, the municipality has applied for and received money from Vinnova to create a test bed for how public premises can be shared and how different activities can work together to create a sustainable, accessible and attractive gathering place. The test bed project will run until the spring of 2021.

Henrik Mazzanti, processledare på FPX

Henrik Mazzanti, process manager at FPX


Mona Wikland, project leader at Gävle kommun

Meetings between generations is on the agenda


What the property will look like
The school will cover preschool class up to and including the sixth with about 500 students, and the preschool will have room for about 120 children. In addition, there are 80 apartments in a care and nursing home. Mona Wikland’s project team consists of people from all three activities. With their combined competence, they will develop a plan for how the various activities will be able to cooperate. In two years, they will deliver a developed plan for a way of working.

The meeting in the center
Social sustainability will above all be manifested in the meetings between generations.
– Everyone feels good about being in a context and feeling needed, says Mona Wikland. We will be able to find lots of intersections where people benefit from each other and for which we can create good conditions. When it’s graduation time, the whole house can join. Perhaps residents in the care home can contribute as break guards or knowledge banks in school or preschool, and the students can in turn help with technical things among the elderly, for example.
The premises must be available at more times than the opening hours of the regular business.
– When the school has closed for the day or for school holidays, you should still be able to stay on the premises to do other activities. This way, we can maximize the use of the property and save both finances and the environment.
– The gym will be used by everybody. We envisage, for example, that residents in the immediate area will be able to buy lunch boxes from the kitchen, use the library or have a coffee in the dining room.
The outdoor environment will also be built so that as many people as possible can use it.
– You should be able to sit on a park bench in the schoolyard, or on your balcony in the care home and look out over the playground. We want to create value in the meetings and in the joy.

The citizens’ dialogue kicked off the project
An important part of the project has been to create a dialogue between everyone who will be affected by the activities. Among other things, FPX arranged a day to develop resident-driven collaboration solutions in Södra Hemlingby and invited the actors who were in the district; everything from local businesses, interest groups and the municipality to citizens and schoolchildren. Citizen dialogue is an iterative process that drives commitment to a district. At the same time, it will also be a way for the municipality to practice resident-driven innovation, something that will be central to the development of a modern municipality.
Mona Wikland has been out to meet target groups and conducted surveys to find out what they think. The response she has received so far has been very positive, both from prospective students, residents in the area and the business community, says Mona.
– Many people think it is very exciting that we are doing something completely new here!

Has COVID-19 affected the project?
– Hygiene, cleaning and infection control were of course extremely important points from the beginning. Among other things, we see that it is crucial that you can shield the various activities if necessary. But of course, corona infection has further pointed out that it is important to take into account how to handle the spread of infection in the calculation.

Unique project
Researchers Jan Grannäs and Annelie Frelin at the University of Gävle follow the process of moving the activities under the same roof to learn from the project´s experiences.
-We study, for example, whether there are opportunities for coordination between the various competencies in the operations, but also how spaces are used in the building.
Jan Grannas and Annelie Frelin believe that this is a unique project, at least in Sweden.
– Combinations of preschools and nursing homes have been done before, but as far as we know, schools, preschools and care and nursing homes have not had operations in the same building in Sweden before. The idea of ​​“school in the middle of the village” with different combinations of activities has existed for a long time and in several different countries, for example with a dentist’s or doctor’s surgery, which we have seen in other Nordic countries.

They believe that there are many interesting opportunities for collaboration, but also challenges that arise when you think completely new.
-This is such a complex and large project with several activities, and it has taken a lot of thought already at this stage. At the same time, it is difficult to think of everything and make everyone happy. Research has pointed out the importance of different professions communicating during the process, and having a harmony between the goals of the business, the organization and the environment. The hope is that it will be a project that arouses interest both nationally and internationally.


Researchers Jan Grannäs and Annelie Frelin

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