NEB ambition

The ultimate ambition of the New European Bauhaus is to achieve transformation. To do this, the NEB Compass has identified specific levels of ambition that outline the desired outcomes for each of the NEB values.

Action areas

These areas refer to the five key domains of intervention that CrAFt's New European Bauhaus Impact Model considers essential for guiding and evaluating complex urban initiatives.

Participation level

The participation level refers to the degree or extent to which individuals or groups are actively involved or engaged in a particular activity, project, or process. It assesses the depth of their involvement, contributions, and commitment, ranging from minimal or passive participation to active and dedicated participation.

NEB values

The New European Bauhaus (NEB) aims to promote the values of sustainability, aesthetics, and inclusion in the design and transformation of urban spaces. It emphasises the integration of environmental, social, and economic considerations to create harmonious and innovative living environments.

Implementation Stage

According to the Smart City Guidance Package, there are seven stages to plan and implement smart city projects. These stages propose a logical and coherent roadmap for city initiatives involving many stakeholders.

Unity makes strength: Swedish property owners

150 years of experience

Fastighetsägarna Sverige—Swedish for The Property Owners Sweden—is a nationwide industry federation with 150 years of experience dedicated to promoting sustainable and efficient housing and real estate markets. With about 15,000 member companies and associations, it operates across Sweden, providing local and regional support.

The organisation comprises four regional bodies—Fastighetsägarna GFR, Fastighetsägarna MittNord, Fastighetsägarna Syd and Fastighetsägarna Stockholm—and a management company, Fastighetsägarna Service, under the unified brand Fastighetsägarna Sverige.

Fastighetsägarna focuses on ensuring a functional real estate market, fostering urban development, and advancing sustainability. It emphasises the important social role of property owners and advocates for their interests. It facilitates collaboration with various social functions to create safe, integrated communities.

A guide to help property owners

In May 2023, Fastighetsägarna released a publication entitled Social Sustainability. Business and social benefit for property owners. It’s a 45-page introductory guide for property owners to start or further develop their social sustainability work.

The guide offers valuable tools and examples for enhancing social sustainability across various activities and areas, such as regulations, industry standards, and strategic choices. It also provided advice on prioritisation, templates for workshops and tips.

According to Fastighetsägarna, property owners play a crucial role in urban areas, creating both business and social benefits. By acting responsibly and collaborating with others, they can address societal challenges and enhance the value for residents and workers.

As the guide explains, property owners’ active choices and actions can contribute to social sustainability, including reaching and supporting the most vulnerable individuals. Therefore, to ensure a strategic and sustainable approach to social sustainability, property owners should prioritise activities and investments that have long-term relevance.

One of the most interesting aspects of this guide is its categorisation of social sustainability activities into two main types:

  1. Internal Activities: These initiatives occur within the organisation’s operations and extend to strategic partnerships.
  2. External Activities: These focus on activities within and around properties, impacting individuals and society broadly.

Internal areas

1. Employee Focus: Property owners should prioritise employees, regardless of their role, in critical areas such as:

  • Working Environment: Ensure all employees have equal and good working conditions that meet legal requirements and inspire productivity.
  • Inclusion and Diversity: Systematically promote inclusion, equality, and diversity.
  • Development and Competence: Provide ongoing development and training to ensure future competitiveness.

2. Business Practices: Emphasise long-term, transparent, and ethical business practices in areas like:

  • Business Ethics: Implement ethical guidelines and anti-corruption measures, develop a code of conduct, and ensure transparent contractual practices and ethical marketing.
  • Business Management: Effectively manage operations with certifications like ISO, use customer satisfaction metrics such as the Net Promoter Score, and implement structured processes for complaint handling.

3. Suppliers: Property owners should focus on managing relationships with external partners who play a crucial role in the supply chain, such as:

  • Requirements in the Supply Chain: Set various requirements for suppliers, including adherence to a code of conduct for products and services.
  • Follow-up in the Supply Chain: Ensure compliance with set requirements through clear follow-up mechanisms.

4. Partnerships: Engage in partnerships beyond suppliers, involving municipalities, authorities, and non-profit organisations with activities such as:

  • Labour Market Measures: Participate in local job creation initiatives and skill development programs.
  • Community Engagement: Support local community projects and initiatives for economic development.
  • Sustainable Financing: Use social bonds and sustainable loans to fund social initiatives.

External Areas

1. Human beings: At the core of the property owner’s business are people, such as the residents, premises owners, and visitors. The focus here is on social sustainability activities “inside the walls” of properties, respecting personal boundaries, with critical areas like:

  • Psychosocial Environment: Support vulnerable individuals by providing information on help available for issues like domestic violence and discrimination.
  • Health and Well-being: Promote health and well-being by ensuring good indoor and outdoor environments, creating green spaces, and encouraging physical activity.
  • Integration: Strengthen community integration and participation through natural and created meeting places.

2. Community Building: Enhance the community within properties by focusing on:

  • Neighbourhood Cooperation and Community: Promote social interactions and a sense of community through events like film screenings, flea markets, and meetings.
  • Dialogue and Influence: Establish good communication with residents, traders, and businesses to gather insights, foster engagement, and provide a platform for influence.
  • Safety and Security: Implement safety measures within buildings, such as security inventories and improved lighting in common areas, to enhance residents’ sense of safety and security.

3. Neighborhood-Level Efforts: Focus on the collective space and collaboration among property owners and other stakeholders, with key areas like:

  • Physical Environment: Enhance spaces between buildings to meet diverse needs with multifunctional, attractive, and secure areas.
  • Safety and Security: Improve safety with good lighting, safe green spaces, and clear signage.
  • Local Cooperation: Partner with public authorities, businesses, police, and other property owners to create pleasant and safe neighbourhoods.

4. City-Level Initiatives: Encompass the entire urban environment and its inhabitants, where the property owner’s influence may be limited, especially for smaller companies, in areas like:

  • Responsible Relationships: Act responsibly and collaborate with other property owners, organisations, and authorities to play a crucial role in urban development.
  • Collaboration with Serious Actors: Select reputable organisations for effective social sustainability collaboration.

5. Broader Societal Issues: Address broader societal issues affecting cities and buildings across Sweden by engaging in activities such as:

  • Socially Sustainable Housing Provision: Collaborate with other property owners and organisations to promote interests and influence housing policies.
  • Combating Homelessness: Help homeless individuals re-enter the housing market through collaborations with civil society organisations.
  • Integrating Social Sustainability into Rental Policies: Ensure rental policies include appropriate access requirements and consider using social criteria for allocating some vacant apartments to support social sustainability.

From planning to action

The guide recommends prioritising activity areas from an organisational perspective to move from planning to action. A prioritisation template is provided to assist in this process. By focusing on a few impactful areas, the organisation can channel its sustainability efforts more effectively. Conducting a workshop with diverse business competencies, including management or the board for larger companies, can effectively determine priorities and ensure commitment. 

The guide concludes with case studies from Swedish real estate companies that showcase how they have addressed social challenges by actively involving local communities. These include engaging residents to identify safety concerns, organising community activities, supporting local events to strengthen neighbourhood bonds, fostering entrepreneurship and innovation among young individuals to contribute to community growth and integration, etc. It’s definitely worth checking out!

More information

Fastighetsägarna website (in Swedish)
Social Sustainability guide (in Swedish)

Written by Jose Rodriguez