Getting prepped for our SOCAP11 panel “Investing in Home: The Role of Housing and the Built Environment,” I interviewed panelist Peter Lundstedt, CMO at Familjebostäder, a real estate developer and manager in Gothenburg, Sweden. Familjebostäder owns and manages over 18,000 rental apartments in Gothenburg. Familjebostäder’s mission is to manage, improve, acquire, and sell accessible, quality, sustainable real estate and create lasting value with vibrant neighborhoods.
Lenora Suki: Can you describe some of the neigborhoods where you work? What is Familjebostäder’s role in those communities?
Peter Lundstedt: Quality housing close to the city center can be a challenge for lower income groups, and over the last 10 years, socioeconomic factors have changed cities in Sweden. Foreigners, such as refugees from Somalia, make up 90% of the population in certain neighborhoods. Certain neighborhoods have higher unemployment also. Gothenburg needs more affordable homes, and we help build them. We create safe and accessible neighborhoods with lasting value. We also believe in diverse neighborhoods and cater to all socioeconomic segments.
LS: You mentioned that one neighborhood, Bergsjön, has a high proportion of lower income immigrants. How does that influence your planning for development and regeneration?
PL: Familjebostäder is a customer-focused company that gives priority to customer needs, including foreign populations. Our communities consist of apartments, public spaces and neighborhoods that are diverse, secure, and affordable. Rental housing can be more accessible to those not prepared to or not able to buy. Our progressive approach recognizes the issues in the communities where we work.
We understand that real estate development is more than just providing housing. A safe and socially inclusive community is equally important. As an example, Familjebostäder organizes youth activities and summer camps to create safe communities for young people.
LS: As a developer with social intent, you have to make profits although your customers include families with economic and sometimes social constraints. How do you see the investment proposition?
PL: We are a real estate developer and manager, but we are also looking for social and environmental returns. Some of our best ideas for environmental sustainability come directly from tenants. We aim to be energy efficient, use sustainable materials and new waste systems, solutions that are cost-effective and affordable.
We offer further cost-effective and smart solutions for tenants in collective living complexes with shared amenities to lower costs. We also recently started a project for self-builders to build their own home.
With research and writing assistance from Karen Huang, Smart Cities Advisors summer 2011 intern.