Skip to main content
RISE logo
Picture Björn Hellström
Photo: Björn Hellström

Model for social sustainability – Gottsunda Center

Center facilities bring together shops, restaurants and services. Properly designed, such environments can contribute to not only economic but also a range of social values. In this project, RISE collaborates with the real estate company Hemmaplan to develop and test new working methods and models for design, follow-up, and investment in Gottsunda

Hemmaplan is a newly formed real estate company that develops and manages downtown properties and meeting places in neighborhoods with socio-economic challenges. The company's long-term goal is to contribute to positive social development in the areas where they own properties together with those who live and work there, as well as to show how positive social development can contribute to good business opportunities for the real estate company.

In October 2022, Hemmaplan took over as property owner in Gottsunda Centrum: a center facility that contains everything from shops, restaurants and cafes to office hotels, cultural center, health center, public dental care, family center as well as recurring events and festivals. This with the goal that Gottsunda Center should be an economically robust center environment that generates positive outcomes for both center visitors and the surrounding area, this in the form of values such as health, safety, employment, education and participation.

As part of this, RISE and Hemmaplan have established a joint research partnership and project with a focus on Gottsunda Centre. The purpose of the project is for RISE and Hemmaplan to together realize the latter's ability to conduct an even more inclusive, small-scale, fast-paced, communicative, scientifically based and needs- and data-driven working method that is integrated into the entire local line organization, which can then be scaled up to other properties that Hemmaplan owns.

The project's working method: action research

The project's overall working method is so-called action research. Action research means, firstly, that RISE contributes with learning, development efforts and qualitative process support. This takes place partly as a support function that challenges and supports the development work in Gottsunda. Partly by contributing to and testing new working methods and models in order to systematically and continuously design and follow up the effects of physical and social interventions and investments on the site. Action research means, secondly, that RISE simultaneously studies both Hemmaplan's way of organizing itself and the effects of the tests that the partners carry out together, this in dialogue with previous research in relevant fields.

The action researcher acts proactively by anticipating future situations, for example when a project effort risks not reaching its goals. In such a case, the task of the action researcher may be to create space for preventive measures by assisting with support for a management and organizational change.

The project's parts

The project consists of a number of overall parts.

1.  Current situation analysis: In dialogue with Hemmaplan, RISE conducts a current situation analysis of how the latter's work is organized with a focus on 1) how they currently invest in, design, implement and follow up their efforts and 2) how Gottsunda Center functions as a place. A theoretical framework is developed that gives the project participants a common frame of reference and conceptual apparatus.

2.  Theory of change: a so-called theory of change is developed that shows the change that the various parts of the project are supposed to contribute to in connection with Hemmaplan's goals. The theory of change helps Hemmaplan in the implementation of working methods and reporting of results.

3.  Trend & Scenario Model: A trend and scenario model is developed and applied by Hemmaplan continuously during the project as a way to systematically and continuously discuss possible future interventions and their effects, this as support for achieving Hemmaplan's goals and vision.

4.  Indicators and model for data collection and analysis: Indicators in the form of process measures (for example visitor statistics) and impact measures (for example perceived security) are developed, as well as methods for data collection and analysis. These are tested by Hemmaplan and RISE on a number of actual interventions and further developed accordingly.

5.  Analysis guidance: An analysis guidance aimed at Hemmaplan is drawn up, which aims to ensure Hemmaplan's conditions to continuously follow up and evaluate its operations on its own in the future.

6.  Universal design: A model for universal design is developed and tested. Universal design means that people with different individual requirements must be involved in social governance as early as possible and throughout the entire process. This via design solutions in the form of services, products and environments that respond to needs. In the case of Gottsunda centre, it is about both an accessible social living environment (being able to socialize and be part of context) and physical accessibility (being able to safely move through, stay in, and use both the indoor and outdoor environment). Universal design is as much about social and experience-based inclusion as physical, it must not only be possible to enter and use an environment, it must also be experienced as safe and inviting.

7.  Ongoing efforts - Tertiary follow-up: RISE carries out ongoing evaluations three times a year (tertially) based on the collection, analysis and reporting of data as well as follow-up efforts to support Hemmaplan's continued work.

Project organization

From RISE's side, a team of researchers and analysts with expertise in people's behaviors and experiences in downtown environments, universal design and accessible places, health and welfare issues, organization, management and control, social economy and qualitative and quantitative methodology participates.


Project name

Gottsunda Center




Region Uppsala

RISE role in project


Project start


3,5 år

Project members

Björn Hellström

Contact person

Björn Hellström


+46 73 035 54 04

Read more about Björn

Contact Björn
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

* Mandatory By submitting the form, RISE will process your personal data.

Stefan Molnar

Contact person

Stefan Molnar


+46 70 538 59 78

Read more about Stefan

Contact Stefan
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

* Mandatory By submitting the form, RISE will process your personal data.