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Meet IIIEE researcher Kes McCormick

Kes McCormick
Photo: IIIEE researcher Kes McCormick

Malmö Innovation Platform: Sustainable renovating takes social skills


Sustainable renovation of the Swedish Million Homes Programme is a challenge in all aspects – economic, social and ecological. In this platform, IIIEE researchers contribute to the development of joint innovation capacity in the southeast of Malmö.  

During the 1960s and the 1970s, more than a million apartment homes were built in Sweden as a political answer to the national housing shortage.

Today, a vast majority of these apartments need to be renovated. The Malmö Innovation Platform brings together business, academia and the community to develop ideas on how to solve this challenge. The aim is to use physical regeneration as a way towards social, ecological and economic sustainable development in the southeast of Malmö.

– It’s a huge challenge. Although Sweden is at the forefront when it comes to these issues, much more has to be done. One problem is the lack of strong drivers. There are regulations, but Swedish policiesare not strong enough for most stakeholders to change their way of operating, says Kes McCormick, one of the three IIIEE researchers engaged in this project. 

Today, building owners stand with almost all the risks, economic intertwined with social. 

– Renovating often requires means you need to getting people out of their apartments, which is a social and organisational challenge and risk. Working with renovation takes social skills where the bottom-up perspective is essential. If you communicate successfully with the people who already live their life in the area, chances are much higher for a successful project, says Kes McCormick. 

Oscar Pelin is a project leader at the Malmö Innovation Platform and says he sees the IIIEE researchers as a great resource of expertise for the platform. 

– By supporting key actors with evaluation and planning, the researchers gain deep practical insights into challenges and opportunities for energy-efficiency projects, while providing great guidance to the ongoing pilot projects. These learnings are analysed in case studies and communicated to further actors through guidebooks and workshops, Oscar Pelin says and continues:

– Many building-owners perceive renovation for energy-efficiency as a complicated matter, and thus tackle it with hesitation. The IIIEE researchers offer knowledge, support and facilitation in order tospread the pilot-concepts and help new actors to realise energy-efficiency projects.

Kes McCormick at the IIIEE is optimistic:

– There is a strong interest among the stakeholders in learning more and advancing their work. Some organisations are more proactive than others and we are trying to understand why. But generally speaking, you could say that braver and more informed decision-makers are needed. Or as a representative from one of the building companies said during one of our workshops: “Just tell us to build differently and we’ll do it!”

Text and photo: Sara Bernstrup Nilsson 


Malmö Innovation Platform:

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International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE)

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