People’s park in Linköping - from cultural heritage to housing area


  • Magnus Rönn KTH, Stockholm


This paper presents a case study of the development of People’s park (Folkets Park) in Linköping. The development included two coordinated projects; a planning project focusing on the use of the land and an architectural project implemented by the promoters aimed at planning, designing and building new housing in People’s park. The study was based on close reading of documents and interviews with key actors. The Technical and Building Department in Linköping and the County Administration Board provided documents. From this documentation the key actors have been identified. Nine of them were interviewed. The case study ends with a conclusion and discussion based on findings in the case. 

The story begins in 2006 when the Developer (HSB) and People’s park contacted the politicians on the board of the Technical and Building Department (Teknik- och samhällsbyggnadsnämnen) in Linköping. The developer planned to construct 250-300 apartments in the area. People’s park wanted to sell the land to renovate the main building (Cupolen) to be used for new activities/functions. In January 2008 the politicians gave the Technical and Building Department (Teknik- och samhällsbyggnadskontoret) the assignment to begin working with the promoters. In the combined planning and architectural project, the question of cultural heritage arose during discussions about issues such as demolition/preservation, adaptation of a new development to the area, and compensation for damage to the cultural environment.

By April 2008 the project group presented a planning program which would enable transform People’s park into a housing area. Two buildings were cited as being of interest to preserve: Yellow pavilion (Gula paviljongen) and the theatre building. After demands a heritage inventory of People’s park park as a cultural heritage were made. The inventory was used by the representative for the cultural department in the detail planning process to preserve two of the houses deemed to be a valuable part of the cultural heritage. The other pavilions were demolished.

The compensation for the damage of the cultural environment included the following measures: The developer accepts to renovate and reuse the yellow pavilion and contribute 2.5 million SEK to move the theater building. The costs for moving are estimated to be 13.6 million SEK. The new housing is structured around the park in the middle to save the natural and cultural worth; valuable trees were protected during the construction period. A lesser area of land came within the development area due to regulations about preservation in the detail plan.

In the detail planning process key actors assume both active and passive roles about damage to the cultural environment and the preservation of its worth. The demand for compensation is not supported by legal rules but based on prerequisites of the site, the quality of the buildings and the investigation of the heritage. No representative for the cultural environment was present in the project group; rather the actors were given the roles of committees to consider the proposals when the exhibition documents were presented. The study is summarized in eight conclusions.




How to Cite

Rönn, M. (2014). People’s park in Linköping - from cultural heritage to housing area. Proceedings of the Annual Architectural Research Symposium in Finland, 179–195. Retrieved from