Attractiveness in Urban Design

Erik Hidman


The term “attractiveness” (attraktivitet) has been established in the field of urban design in Sweden and is used in policy and planning documents as well as urban design and architectural proposals. Understandings of attractiveness, however, vary due to its development in a diverse range of fields, and its inclusion of economic, social, and physical objectives. The purpose of this study is to further our understanding of the term “attractiveness” in relation to contemporary planning and the field of urban design. The study was based on a discourse analysis of academic and popular publications using the term. According to the analysis, the term attractiveness corresponds to a discourse of urban attractiveness constituting three focuses: urban economics, citizen wellbeing, and urban townscape. The term has, further, a normative character, and tends to exclude places in non-urban, peripheral locations.

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