Swedes feel the pull of the big city

5:55 min

The most rapid urbanisation in Europe is happening right here in Sweden – a trend that politician and PR consultant Per Schlingmann welcomes but that others call a negative new “urban norm”.

Figures from Eurostat show that, within the EU, Sweden is seeing the fastest growth of urban areas, and as more and more people feel the pull of the big city, everything from social values to geographic patterns are affected.

While some Swedes want to challenge what they call the new "urban norm", others believe mega cities are the future.

Per Schlingmann, a former conservative Moderate Party politician turned PR consultant has co-written a book about urbanisation which is due out in English in May. He tells Radio Sweden that “we are living in a time of rapid transformation where the city offers a way of life, learning and personal development that attracts a large number of people, especially highly educated young women”.

While city life is hard, there are also many rewards, says Schlingmann. “It’s a highly competitive environment, but what you can find in cities is opportunities.” 

Today, more than one in five Swedes live in big cities. Malmö in southern Sweden has seen one of the biggest population increase in Europe.

Schlingmann also points out that “in the urban region of Stockholm there is a high, concentrated level of innovation and knowledge” and that is what attracts young professionals in particular.