Call for Abstracts to the themed issue (volume 7, issue 4) of the OA-journal URBAN PLANNING in 2022 on the theme Localizing welfare - Welfare, Equity, and Community.

Editor(s): Lina Berglund-Snodgrass (Spatial Planning, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden), Maria Fjellfeldt (Social Work, Dalarna University, Sweden) and Ebba Högström (Spatial Planning, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden)

Submission of Abstracts: 1-15 December 2021
Submission of Full Papers: 15-30 April 2022
Publication of the Issue: October/December 2022

For more info see below or

Title: Localizing Social Infrastructures: Welfare, Equity, and Community

Information: Localizing social infrastructures (e.g., facilities for elder care, supported accommodations for people with disabilities, facilities for communal use such as community centres, libraries, youth clubs, playgrounds, sport and religious facilities etc.) in all its complexities of public expenditure, privatizations of public operations, market-led land-use planning, and segregation processes is challenging for contemporary welfare societies. The localizing of social infrastructure addresses the challenges connected to managing spatially differentiated socio-economic landscapes. Traditionally, social infrastructures have been located in the midst of the urban (and rural) fabric, not seldom occupying prominent places, and seconded by high quality architecture. Social infrastructures have also played an important role in the development of the welfare state where they have been used as ‘tools’ in the overarching neighborhood planning paradigm for conveying democratic values and promoting social equity. Today, the landscape of welfare facilities appears as dispersed and somewhat elusive as new purpose-built schools may be located centrally in new urban developments or retrofitted in derelict industrial buildings in the outskirts of housing districts or located in generic office spaces – as one among many exchangeable tenants.

Localizing social infrastructure includes both spatial/geographical and administrative/legal considerations. It also involves a multitude of actors as well as the navigating different responsibilities, making localizing a complex matter of interactions and collaborations. This opens up questions such as: What social infrastructure is localized where and on what grounds? Which social inequalities and/or stigma will be brought to the fore by certain choices of locations? How will this affect citizen’s sense of belonging, identity and community? Localizing social infrastructure is a truly geographical endeavor closely connected to urban planning and social work.

This special issue seeks to chart the localizing of social infrastructures from an urban planning perspective and address the topic in a broad sense concerning questions such as i) the preconditions for localizing such facilities in the urban landscape, ii) the social consequences of the localizing of such facilities for individuals as well as, iii) for the long-term social sustainability of the wider community. We are interested in contributions that tackle localizing of social infrastructures in their historical, contemporary or future dimensions. We welcome proposals taking on board the ‘where’, ‘what’ and ‘why’ regarding this, and envision contributions from a multitude of theoretical perspectives and angles. Due to the multi-disciplinary aspects of this topic, we invite scholars from outside urban planning, e.g., social work, sociology, geography, political science and architecture.


Dear, M. (1978) Planning for Mental Health Care: A Reconsideration of Public Facility Location Theory. International Regional Science Review 3(2), 93-111. DeVerteuil, G. (2010) Reconsidering the legacy of urban public facility location theory in human geography. Progress in Human Geography 24(1), 47–69. Fjellfeldt, M., Berglund-Snodgrass, L., Högström, E., Markström, U., (forthcoming). Institutional fringes – exploring location strategies of supported housing in a post-deinstitutional era. Social Inclusion. Högström, E. (2018). 'It used to be here but moved somewhere else': Post-asylum spatialisations - a new urban frontier? Social & Cultural Geography, 19(3). Klinenberg, E. (2018). Palaces for the people-how social infrastructure can help fight inequality, polarization, and the decline of civic life. New York, Crown Publishing Group. Latham, A. & Layton, J. (2019) Social infrastructure and the public life of cities: studying urban sociality and public spaces. Geography Compass, 13e12444.

Instructions for Authors: Authors interested in submitting a paper for this issue are asked to consult the journal's instructions for authors and submit their abstracts (maximum of 250 words, with a tentative title) through the abstracts system (here). When submitting their abstracts, authors are also asked to confirm that they are aware that Urban Planning is an open access journal with a publishing fee if the article is accepted for publication after peer-review (corresponding authors affiliated with our institutional members do not incur this fee).

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