Focal Points – English
The following text is an English translation of our Focal Points; trends we have identified that may have a localized, noticeable impact on Helsingborg in the short term. The Focal Points are a vital resource in the city's planning.
1. Increased welfare costs, reduced manoeuvrability?
The economy in Sweden’s municipalities will deteriorate in the coming years. The main reasons are an expected downturn in the economy and that the proportion of children and elderly in the population is increasing. At the same time, the growing population entails a continued need to make investments. This serves to create a growing need for prioritization, innovation and cooperation in order to fulfil the welfare mission.
Growing pressure on community service and infrastructure
As the population grows, the pressure on community services and infrastructure increases while the need for new development rises. This increases the cost of welfare while simultaneously boosting the need to prioritize municipal and state resources. This can mean that the service given to citizens by the public sector is changed and re-evaluated. At the same time, residents’ are expecting ever more of municipal services.
The rapid population growth and a changing demographics largely explain that the rate of investment is high in many Swedish municipalities and is expected to increase further in the coming years. This also applies to Helsingborg, which plans to invest 6.2 billion SEK in 2020-2026. The needs apply to everything from expansion and better-adapted supply of water and wastewater, waste management and electricity supply to new communications and resources to elderly care, LSS and the school system.
The proportion of people at working age is decreasing
In order to finance the growing demand for welfare services, more gainfully employed persons who pay tax are needed. At the same time as the proportion of young and elderly is increasing in Helsingborg, the proportion of working-age people (20-64 years) is in decline. The decrease is not dramatic, but is expected to occur at the same time as the demand for labour in the immediate area is increasing. One effect will then be increased competition for labour in both the private and public sectors. In the long term, the increasing proportion of younger people will lead to more working-age people, which will be a strength in the future and thus an opportunity for Helsingborg.
Helsingborg continues to enjoy a position as a strong node in a larger labour market region with a well-functioning commuting net, which means that more people commute to the city than from it. While this means that the business community has the opportunity to recruit from a broader base of competence, their employees pay tax in their home municipality. This means that Helsingborg is currently losing tax income. Thus, where the labour force chooses to live affects the tax income in a municipality, which means it is important that there are attractive living environments in the municipality.
An increasing need for prioritization, efficiency and collabouration
Helsingborg has a relatively favourable financial position, but will in future be significantly affected by the overall development. Tough times will result in savings for large parts of the organization, which will place greater demands on doing the right things in an efficient and effective way. Space for change and innovation comes into focus as the need to prioritize increases. Increasing demand for welfare services requires both a greater density of taxpayers and more efficient solutions. By better utilizing the possibilities of technology and digitalisation and a smarter use of competence, citizens will eventually be able to do more themselves.
There are limitations to what the municipality itself can affect. Despite the desire for change and improvement, some proposals and ideas will be unworkable because of laws and the distribution of responsibilities between different levels of the public system. This includes more detailed levels of control and more targeted contributions from the state as well as EU legislation that limits the scope for municipal action. The risk is that the administrative burden will increase and that this will have a crippling effect in a situation where the municipalities’ activities need change and development.
One way to work proactively with this is to ensure that the city is properly organized and collaborates in the right forums to meet the challenges of the future. This applies not least to regional cooperation, for example within Familjen Helsingborg, Region Skåne and Greater Copenhagen. Another is to continue to develop trust-based governance to encourage a holistic view and facilitate collaboration both within and outside the city in order to increase productivity and to provide better results for residents and business.
2. More young and elderly
The proportion of elderly people is increasing rapidly in the richer parts of the world. But in Sweden, the population is aging more slowly than in many comparable countries. Helsingborg, in turn, has a slightly younger population than Sweden as a whole. According to the forecast, the average age of Helsingborg’s citizens until 2035 will increase by approximately one year to 41.5 years, compared with 42.5 years for the whole of Sweden. That might not sound like a lot, but hiding behind this picture are several developments with consequences for both the city and the business community.
A double challenge as the population grows
Like many comparable cities, Helsingborg has experienced rapid population growth for a number of years. The increase is also expected to continue for the foreseeable future. The background is relatively high birth rates combined with a high level of immigration compared with the outside world. In practice, this means that all age groups are growing, with varying effects on society and business.
In Helsingborg, the proportion of citizens older than 80 years is expected to increase the most. This is important to know, since the very oldest members of society place a significantly greater burden on the welfare system than any other group. For example, the health care costs for an 80-year-old are on average three times higher than for a 50-year-old. However, in terms of the number of people, children and young people in Helsingborg will increase approximately three times as much as the oldest population group until 2025 – and twice as much until 2035. This is of great importance since children and young people also require considerably more of society’s resources than people of working age. Above all, the need for childcare and schooling increases, which, among other things, has an impact on staffing needs. Helsingborg thus has a dual challenge that makes the situation here special.
The “young old” a growing asset
Something that could partly compensate for more people having to be supported by fewer in the coming years is that the “young old” (65-79 years) are becoming healthier. Furthermore, today’s 75-year-olds have a higher mental ability than older generations. The reason for this lies partly in better living habits and partly that these individuals have received more mental stimulation and thus trained their brain more. This makes it possible for more people than before to keep working into old age and to take part in social life. Furthermore, continuing to work for longer can reduce the loneliness that many elderly people experience. Reduced loneliness can in itself reduce the risk of dementia and depression.
Employment among people approaching retirement age is already high in Sweden compared to other European countries, and it is becoming increasingly common to work after retirement age. If the trend persists, almost a quarter of the 65-74 age group will soon be active in the labour market. It’s almost twice as common for men to work after retirement as women. And among those who continue to work after the age of 65, it’s common to do so as an entrepreneur. In addition, it’s much more common for those with a long education to continue working than those with a short education. The proportion of working people over 65 is somewhat lower in Helsingborg than in Sweden as a whole.
Providing opportunities for those close to the age of retirement to somehow continue working is an opportunity for both the city and the business community to maintain competence as recruitment becomes more challenging. At the same time, the labour market is changing rapidly, generating a need for new skills that can be difficult for many older people to match.
The elderly not only constitute a growing asset in the labour market but also fulfil a number of other functions in society. Many provide important support for families with children and contribute, for example, with childcare or financial assistance in various situations. Others are involved in associations or contribute to society in other ways.
New and growing needs
Another aspect of this development is that the elderly of the future will have different needs than previous generations. It’s likely that many of tomorrow’s older people will live active lives well into old age and may place ever greater demands on services linked to this. There will also be an increased demand for individual choices regarding, for example, digital solutions, housing, mobility and leisure.
A growing amount of young people causes the challenges of a growing population, but the increasing amount of older people is a new phenomenon as it is both growing and is expected to behave differently and place different demands on society.
More children and young people creates an increasing need for schools and leisure activities. It also creates a need for attractive housing for families with children and adaptations in urban planning. The growing proportion of young people can also affect the feeling of security in the city as young men are more likely to be involved in criminal activities compared to other parts of the population. A growing proportion of young people can also become an asset in the long term, however, as a declining proportion of workers have to support more and more children and elderly people. However, this places increasing demands on the school system to help pupils who are struggling to meet their goals, to provide the support they need to succeed.
3. Great(er) expectations
Rapid technological development, changed values and large increases in disposable income have contributed to people’s expectations generally increasing since the beginning of the 2000s. People increasingly expect simple and immediate satisfaction, no matter where or when their needs arise.
New technology increases demand for simple satisfaction
Rapid digitalization and the growing use of mobile technology are responsible for a large part of the increasing expectations of citizens. The proliferation of digital services in combination with the possibility of being connected everywhere and at all times has quickly made us accustomed to being able to easily meet a variety of needs in a way that was previously impossible. The digitalization and dissemination of new business models has resulted in a societal shift that is as much a cultural as a technological change.
New services in one area also raises the bar for products and services in other sectors, which affects how people view organizations that haven’t kept themselves up to date. Examples of this are how the Swedish Tax Agency’s and the Social Insurance Agency’s simple and easy-to-use digital services affect how people view other government agencies, and also increases expectations for the municipality’s services. Similarly, residents’ expectations are influenced by how modern media, booking systems and e-commerce platforms have made it easy to use their services when the need arises, regardless of location or time of day.
This means that people are increasingly expecting frictionless, immediate and situational solutions. They should also be invisible and, to the maximum extent possible, solve problems while working in the background. In many situations, this means that simple self-service or automated service is perceived as better than mediocre personal service.
Increased demands on municipal services
In Helsingborg this has consequences for how the municipality’s activities are perceived as well as the experience of what it’s like to live and work in the city. This places increased demands on how the city’s services are organized. Access to updated and relevant information on such things as childcare, schooling, elderly care, social issues, housing and construction is becoming increasingly important. The same applies to how different types of applications are designed.
Many of the municipality’s activities have been around for a long time. Therefore, it’s a constant challenge to renew structures and working methods so that they reflect developments in society. In order to make it easier for people to use our digital services, many systems need to be developed and integrated with each other, both within and across existing administrative boundaries. Increased access to large amounts of information, ”big data” and new AI solutions allow us to design smarter, customer-closer services that meet the needs of people. At the same time, the requirements for privacy protection have increased. A continuous challenge will be to create and maintain secure communication between citizens and the municipality.
Digital services are becoming more abundant, better adapted and immediately available. This affects both our work and our leisure time, but also how we relate to the outside world. Digitalization enables, among other things, a growing sharing economy, both in the form of local initiatives and global services. At the same time, there is a tendency for digital services and social media to intensify focus on one’s own community as the boundary between physical and digital reality is blurred. This in turn may mean that the distance to the outside world increases and that people feel less solidarity with those they cannot directly identify with, both globally and locally.
It’s about me and my needs
Alongside the technological shift, strong individual-oriented values drive residents’ expectations of service on their terms, which can be linked, among other things, to a rising level of education in the population. This trend is being reinforced by the fact that many households have stable incomes and have experienced large increases in disposable income in recent decades. An average Helsingborg family has a combined annual income of more than SEK 600,000 after tax and transfers, which is more than ever before. Many residents are therefore used to being able to get what they want.
Residents want to be able to influence the municipality’s range and design of various services to a greater extent than before and have higher requirements for accessibility and service. Increased expectations that society will solve “my individual problem” also contribute to a changed view of the municipality as a service provider. This is especially true of things that are important to the individual and that affect people on a personal level. This may include, for example, the care of a relative at a senior care home where the relatives expect much more than previously, or the opportunity to influence the design of their own care when ill and in need of support.
Services need to be tailored to the needs of specific groups and individuals, while maintaining municipal equality. In Helsingborg, there are major local differences in, for example, the level of education, income and the provision of municipal services. But with increased individualization, it becomes more difficult to talk about homogeneous groups based on, for example, age, gender and socioeconomics. This means that the municipality can’t always provide sufficient solutions, creating incentives for commercial and non-profit alternatives. With new technological platforms for communication, transparency and organization, this can be expected to increase.
More individual-oriented values have also led to a stronger focus on quality of life. When our basic needs are met, we value leisure and experiences higher. Demand for experiences and culture continues to increase and consumers are prepared to spend more and more money on self-realization. This is something that provides increased opportunities for the cultural and hospitality industries. In a time where more and more people are fighting for people’s attention and time, there is an increased expectation of reward in more and more contexts.
4. The right abilities in the right place
The provision of skills is a long-term strategic issue, both within the City of Helsingborg and for the local business community. In order to maintain the high quality of the city’s services and meet residents’ expectations, the municipality needs to be able to both recruit and retain staff with the right skillsets. One challenge is that competition for specific occupational groups is increasing with large-scale retirement, a shortage of trained staff and a strong labour market. In addition, there is a high wage situation for professions with high demand.
Competition for the workforce increases the importance of being an attractive employer
There are several opportunities for employers to deal with these challenges. One is to create attractive workplaces in order to attract and retain competence, for example by offering employees the opportunity to extend working life after retirement. Another possibility is to provide employees with the conditions needed to work more efficiently, for example by utilizing new technology.
With greater competition for competence, our organization needs to become more attractive. If we cannot compete with higher wages, it will instead be important to be able to offer benefits of a different kind. For example, having fun at work, meaningful tasks and being able to contribute to and influence one’s job. At the same time, we need to put less focus on formal competence and more on what the individual can actually do and how we can best use the individual’s abilities. Then, for example, it is important to develop competence internally to a greater extent.
Beyond its own organization, the city needs to continue to work with the attractiveness of the place and the region, in order to continue to attract and retain the skills required for the future in increased competition for competence. One challenge is that the level of education in Helsingborg remains lower than in Skåne and in Sweden as a whole. At the same time, the demands on specialized and knowledgeable staff increase as work becomes increasingly knowledge-intensive. Furthermore, as competition for the labour force increases, it becomes more important to utilize the skills and abilities of older people in society.
The demands for influence and flexibility are increasing
New technology and new values radically change the relationship between work and leisure. At the same time, the boundaries between work and leisure are blurred when we have greater opportunities to choose where and when we work. In the labour market, interest in formal leadership has diminished, but the demands for efficiency and productivity have increased. A greater interest in being able to participate and influence things, combined with people valuing their leisure time more and more has consequences for the city as an employer. With increased competition for the right competence, it becomes ever more important to be able to meet employees’ higher demands for influence and flexibility.
At the same time, more flexible jobs in the sharing economy are on the rise, challenging the traditional relationship between employers and employees. What is emerging is an economy where workers in certain occupations have a higher level of flexibility and autonomy, but also less job security. This means, among other things, that the labour force becomes less bound to a specific geographical area and that specialized knowledge for specific tasks becomes more accessible. For the city, this can pose new challenges in the form of new types of employment and skills that work across administrative boundaries.
The need for skill development grows as tasks become automated
Technological development accelerates changes in the labour market and jobs continually disappear, change or expand. There are a lot of guesses as to which and how many jobs are going to be affected by automation, but no major reduction of jobs is expected in the near future. Instead, new opportunities and new services are created as specific tasks are automated. At the same time, just because something can be automated does not necessarily mean it will be.
Most professional groups will be affected by new skill requirements. The challenge lies in meeting the needs of rapid adaptations, being able to direct education to the disadvantaged, and repositioning individuals in a more technologically advanced work environment. Competence will thus increasingly become a lifelong process rather than something that is only relevant for a limited period as a young person. Even people with more qualified professions will need to change themselves and their career path during their lives.
The courses offered need to be adapted to the new labour market and the knowledge required. The opportunity to learn for life becomes a success factor, and both the school and other activities in Helsingborg need to meet this new reality. The rapid development of technology places demands on the educational sector to train the right skills for tomorrow’s labour market. The challenge lies in adapting to a changing and uncertain labour market with changing needs, both for young people entering the labour market and for older people who need to develop their skills.
Mental health and changing demands in working life lead to increased sick-leave
The increased demands on education and skills in working life have a downside. Many young adults are worried about establishing themselves in the labour market. It’s likely that even schoolchildren are aware of the changes and that there is an increased pressure on them to perform in school. Coupled with widespread school stress and declining school performance over time, this contributes to increased mental health issues among children and adolescents according to the Public Health Agency.
Mental illness at a young age often forms the basis of mental illness in adulthood. Therefore, mental illness has become an increasingly important factor for sick leave in the labour market, which otherwise remains relatively low compared to the beginning of the 2000s. Today, mental illness is the main reason people take out sick leave.
The trend is most clearly seen among women and young adults. Between 2008 and 2018, the proportion of cases due to mental diagnoses has increased from 18 to 31 percent among women aged 20-29. Since sick leave due to mental illness lasts longer than other sick leave, the differences between the sexes are strengthened in terms of the number of ongoing cases. Today, half of women and a third of men who are on sick leave have a psychiatric diagnosis.
Although the increase has not been as great as in the younger age groups, women aged 30-34 are the ones most at risk of being sick due to mental illness. This is often an acute stress reaction. One conceivable reason is that this is when many women are in the most stressful period of their lives. Many in this group have small children and take the greatest responsibility for the housework, while still striving to perform at work and make a career.
5. The challenges of integration
Since 1980, 2.9 million people have immigrated to Sweden and now two million Swedish citizens have been born abroad. Immigration has been high in recent years and never before has the difference between the number of immigrants and emigrants from the country been so great. The trend is following a larger pattern where migration between rich countries, and from poor to rich countries has grown as the world has become increasingly globalized. Sweden stands out in this context as being one of the countries in the western world that has the largest foreign-born population.
Uneven distribution of asylum seekers
A large part of immigration today consists of family and asylum immigration from countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In 2019 through 2022, more than 300,000 people are predicted to apply for residence permits as asylum seekers or relatives of someone who already lives in Sweden. This immigration differs from, for example, labour immigration as it entails a greater range of commitments from both the state and municipalities, including but not limited to labour market measures, SFI, housing and social initiatives.
The Settlement Act of 2016 aims to distribute new arrivals more evenly than before among the municipalities, taking into account, among other things, the municipality’s size, the local labour market situation and the number of asylum seekers already staying in the municipality. However, the so-called ebo-law means that asylum seekers have the right to procure their own housing in the country’s municipalities while waiting for a decision on a residence permit. As a result, many people find their way to larger cities like Helsingborg, and a large part of them settle with relatives and friends in socio-economically vulnerable areas. This creates challenges locally in the housing market and in the school system. In addition, it contributes to an increased division of the population, which reduces the opportunities for new arrivals to establish themselves in society and in the labour market. To counteract this, the law was amended from 2020 so that asylum seekers who settle in such areas will no longer be entitled to a daily allowance or special subsidies.
A challenge to establish new arrivals in the labour market
The finances of the municipalities are affected both directly and indirectly by a poorly functioning introduction to the labour market for new arrivals. The direct costs consist of expenditure on labour market measures, social assistance and financial assistance, while the indirect expenses are due to missing tax revenues and the effects of increased insecurity in areas burdened by social exclusion.
Despite the prolonged boom, there are major difficulties in establishing new arrivals in the labour market, and more than half of the unemployed population in Helsingborg were born outside Europe. In addition to basic requirements in Swedish language proficiency, the challenge is that many of these people lack upper secondary education, a common requirement to get work in Sweden. Of all the newcomers who are covered by the Swedish Employment Agency’s establishment assignment, more than half do not have upper secondary education. At the same time, it has proved particularly difficult to get newly arrived women to enter working life. In Helsingborg, for example, only ten percent of low-skilled women have a job after having being registered in Sweden for less than two years, compared with about 20 percent of the men in the corresponding group. The difference persists over time and only decreases significantly after ten years.
Many find it difficult to reach the knowledge requirements in school
Another challenge is that many children and young people who have immigrated to seek asylum find it difficult to reach the knowledge requirements at school. For example, almost 85 per cent of the increase in 2006-2015 in the proportion of primary school pupils who do not have upper secondary school qualifications is due to the fact that more pupils have immigrated after the ordinary age for starting school. Therefore, they find it more difficult to gain access to compulsory school education within the intended time.
In addition, students are increasingly coming from countries that have difficulty providing good prerequisites for children and have parents with a relatively low level of education, which further increases the barrier. This is central because the integration into society and the opportunities to succeed in life can often be linked to a chain of school results, labour market establishment and income. An insufficient schooling increases the risk of lower quality of life, poor health and in some cases engaging in criminal activity. Once the damage is done and people end up in social exclusion it can be both difficult and resource intensive to deal with the problem.
A more mixed populations places higher demands but provides increased opportunities
Continuous migration entails continued efforts to communicate Swedish laws and regulations. Newcomers, like other citizens, need to be constantly informed about how the city works on various issues, the range of services provided and what rights and obligations they have. For example, entrepreneurs who have previously worked in countries with different legal traditions and governmental practice may need information and support to understand the Swedish system.
With a more heterogeneous population, the city’s connections to the outside world also increase. Language skills and knowledge of conditions provide increased opportunities for new customers and collaborations internationally, not least outside of the traditional Western markets. With a more mixed population, which has a background in different cultures, new preferences and references are created. Maybe new types of culture and sport can be offered and other forms of service are in demand. This places demands on the municipality’s offering and on how the city supports association life and other initiatives in civil society.
6. Increased focus on security
Security has become an increasingly hot topic in the social debate. We are confronted by conflicting messages in the media where it is sometimes said that society is becoming more polarized and insecure and that serious crime is increasing, and other times that people feel increasingly secure and that the exposure to crime is historically low. Paradoxically, both statements are true and this is due to developments pointing in different directions. In Helsingborg, the perceived security has long been somewhat lower than in comparable cities.
People feel safe when they do not worry about their own situation or that of others. It is about being able to move freely and daring to be oneself without constantly being on guard, about not having to worry about crime, and having a stable economy and secure housing situation. In addition, of course, to having the same access to basic community services and safety nets as others. The need for security varies from person to person depending on their life situation, personal experiences and individual circumstances. However, what we have in common is that we tend to feel safe when we think we can rely on people in our surroundings and on community institutions, authorities and companies. There is a close connection between security and trust.
Security and trust
In Sweden, people generally have a high level of trust both to other residents and to the state compared to many other countries. This also means that perceived security is in several respects at a high level here. However, over time differences in trust and security have increased significantly in the population. In Helsingborg, the level of trust is lower than in most comparable cities, which may partly explain why citizens’ sense of security is somewhat lower here.
The experiences you have in the area where you live and move in everyday life, so-called local community trust, have the greatest impact on perceived security. In addition to personal experiences of people and events in the immediate area, this is influenced by media reports, rumours and conversations with friends and relatives. Generally speaking, perceived security is lowest in residential areas where residents have little contact with each other and many feel the need to seek security in narrower communities, based on, for example, ethnic background, genealogy or religion. Experience from New York, among others places, show that active efforts are required from the city to break down mental barriers between residents. It is about getting residents to come together on common issues and interests in order to create community and thereby increase trust and security in the area.
The Police Authority’s security survey in Helsingborg shows that security is clearly lower in socio-economically vulnerable areas with many residents who have been living in Sweden for a short time. One challenge is that the rate of relocation is often high in these areas. They are often a temporary home, which people move away from when they establish themselves in the labour market and in society. This makes it difficult to build trust and security between inhabitants or to track the results of various municipal efforts. At the same time, there is often a core of long-term residences in the area that can be activated and serve as a basis for long-term efforts to build trust.
Crime affects security
The perceived security among inhabitants in Sweden and Helsingborg is also affected by the fear of being exposed to crime. The overall crime rate has been at a fairly stable level during the 2000s. In some cases it has decreased or remained stationary while in other cases it has increased. But in recent years, crime has partly changed in character. Violence linked to drug trafficking and gang crime has increased sharply.
Characteristically, both victims and perpetrators are usually younger men, the violence is often carried out outdoors in an urban environment and firearms and explosives are increasingly used. In addition, it’s becoming more and more common for both victims and perpetrators to have a known drug addiction. Sweden stands out here in international comparisons and has the highest fatal firearm violence among young men and more detonations than any other country in Western Europe.
Drug trafficking and serious violence practiced openly on streets and squares affect security more than other types of crime when more people are affected in their everyday lives. It also receives a great deal of attention in the media and in social media and can quickly contribute to the perception that society has lost control as images of burning cars and shattered facades constantly turn up news feeds. This is probably the single most important reason why security issues have received increased attention in recent years, even though it only explains some of the residents’ perceived security.
Two opposite trends are behind the development in crime. On the one hand, the younger generations are, on average, significantly less likely to be criminally charged than the previous generations were at their age, which is a general trend in comparable countries. On the other hand, crime has increasingly become a way of life for a small but growing number of young men, who account for a large proportion of crimes. Thus, there has been a polarization, and this seems to be a stronger and clearer trend in Sweden.
Differences between groups
The changing face of crime and increasing differences in trust in the local community have different effects on perceived security at a group level. This becomes clear in the comparison of men’s and women’s safety in Helsingborg. Men and women generally have the same trust in others, but women generally feel a little less secure. The women’s lower security is largely due to the fact that they worry much more about being exposed to assault in their own residential area and that they feel less secure alone outdoors in the evening.
The difference is even clearer among young people: only a small proportion of teenage girls and young women in Helsingborg feel safe outside in the city and in their own residential area in the evening. Moreover, in Sweden, the fear of being the victim of crime has increased significantly more among young women than men in recent years. What both young women and men have in common is that they feel less trust, which has diminished over a long period of time.
Security also differs between those born at home and abroad. In Sweden as a whole, foreign-born people feel more insecure in their own housing area. There are also differences in perceived security according to the type of accommodation people live in. In Helsingborg, the feeling of insecurity is greater among those living in apartments than those living in villas. Above all, they feel a lower level of security in the evening in their own residential area. Conversely, the fear of being exposed to crime is, overall, slightly greater among those who live in villas or condominiums compared to those who live in rental accommodation.
The way criminal activity is changing affects not only the safety of citizens but also companies and the public sector and its employees. Threats, fraud, IT crime and extortion attempts have increased significantly in recent years. Along with increased differences in trust, this leads to increased costs and affects the opportunities to run a business negatively. At the same time, many people now feel less safe at work.
7. The inhabitants of different worlds
Sweden has long been a country with high social equality. But in recent decades, differences in living conditions have gradually increased. Polarization is not just about economic conditions, but also about residents’ values and perceptions of reality.
Increased geographical division
The gaps have grown between younger and older generations, between city and country as well as between those born in Sweden and those born abroad. To some extent, it is because those with good incomes have amassed more wealth, while groups with lower disposable incomes have lagged behind. But it is also about where people from different social groups live and move in everyday life. In Skåne, highly educated and high-income earners are concentrated in the most attractive residential areas along the coasts, while those with a somewhat lower educational level and income tend to live further inland. Added to this is a third group that largely lives in one of the cities’ growing vulnerable areas, where more residents are socially vulnerable and many have recently immigrated to Sweden. Helsingborg is no exception, and can be seen as a sort of miniature Skåne in this regard.
In parallel with the geographical division of the population, differences in commercial and public service between the city and the countryside are increasing. The driving force here is the ongoing structural transformation taking place, with rationalization and centralization of operations in both the private and public sectors. The development is not new, but follows a long-term pattern where smaller units, often in smaller locations, are gradually closed down in favour of larger and more cost-effective units. Examples include the closure of Findus in Bjuv and the reduced service offerings in several of the smaller rural areas in the municipality of Helsingborg where, for example, post offices, bank offices and shops have disappeared. The result of the overall development is – among other things – that people are suffering from a lack of faith in the future.
Alongside the growing economic and social division, it’s possible to discern ever greater differences in people’s values, which affects confidence in society. Research shows that Sweden generally has a high level of trust between people and that confidence in democracy and, for example, municipal and regional public service is quite stable. But it also points out that some groups have a lower than average level of confidence. This applies, for example, to young people, low-skilled workers, the unemployed, those on long-term sick leave and people who identify as labourers. Also, the differences between different groups have increased over time.
When confidence fails, faith in democracy diminishes and public views become more negative. It also creates friction in the interaction between people and makes decisions harder, slower and more cumbersome – and thus more expensive. A municipal example is how the trustee system has come into question after several scandals where trust has been abused. The system is now being investigated to see how control can be improved and if parts of it can be professionalized – which is likely to entail increased costs. Confidence also affects residents’ sense of safety, and low interpersonal trust in Helsingborg may partly explain why perceived security is somewhat lower here than in comparable cities.
Reduced social mobility
Increased polarization also adversely affects social mobility. This happens when the divide between groups becomes so great that individuals’ access to social communities is restricted and it becomes harder to blend into new social contexts. One factor that reinforces this is that residents’ perceptions of reality slide apart when the information we’re exposed to becomes more narrow and fragmented. The development and dissemination of social media and the increased availability of information have, paradoxically, exacerbated this situation, although it has never been easier to access facts, knowledge and information. The result is digital filter bubbles that help to reinforce the differences in values and identities of different groups. The proliferation of increasingly parallel digital worlds drives individuals further apart, with the risk of fewer interpersonal and public conversations. Both groups and individuals thus live more and more in different mental as well as physical worlds.
These increasing differences hamper the opportunities for socially sustainable development. This can lead to a feeling of increased insecurity, reduced cohesion and reduced social mobility, which in the long run risks cementing the exclusion of different groups.
8. New communication requirements
We live in an age of information overflow and rapidly changing media habits. In the age of digitalisation, the amount of information published for each year is increasing, and with new ways of communicating, the number of media channels is increasing. This means that the dissemination of information is democratized, but it also means that it will be more difficult to reach out with its message as the information landscape becomes increasingly fragmented. At the same time as the amount of information and the number of choices increases, the media consumption of the inhabitants is radically changing.
Who can you trust?
In the increasingly fragmented news flow, the voices of traditional news outlets are weakened. It becomes more difficult for the user to gain an overview when no clear authorities remain as the information flow is both commercialized and democratized. At the same time, the monopoly on truth enjoyed by various actors has been relaxed, for good and for bad.
With a proliferation of news outlets, we see a partly eroded credibility and increasing relativism when different news sources contradict each other, creating the so-called post-truth society. At its extreme, this can lead to different perceptions of where society is headed, side by side. In general, we have greater confidence in the people we feel connected to or who we identify with. These psychological mechanisms can lead to us choosing to listen to our aunt or acquaintance rather than a researcher with long experience in the field.
Today, there are clear differences between different people in the consumption of news and influences from the outside world. The differences are due to things like different life situations, experiences, interests, cultural background, age, income and education. This places demands on the city’s communication.
Here the issue of the municipality’s credibility is central – do our citizens believe in us? We have already seen a wave of fake news, and with ever easier and more accessible tools, it will be easy for anyone to create credible, but fake, news. This also applies in the long term to audio recordings and moving images which, through editing, become difficult to distinguish from the original, so-called deep fakes that gained momentum in 2018. Everything from news to individually designed complaints and comments can then be constructed and used to affect confidence.
Direct communication is increasingly important
How we access and disseminate information is changing rapidly, with an increasingly strong focus on image rather than text. Above all, video is growing rapidly, not least live videos. The transformation from an essentially text-based internet started a long time ago and visual media is becoming increasingly important. This is likely to accelerate even more as the fifth generation mobile network, 5G, is rolled out in 2020, since greater bandwidth increases the opportunities to communicate with data-intensive video and graphics.
As we handle and collect information in new ways, the perception of what is credible also changes. It is often more profitable today to draw attention rather than to convey facts, and what is widely disseminated is expected to be true. Search engines control information management, where we expect that what comes up at the top of a search is relevant and credible. The figures show whether you are worth listening to or not, and the impact for those who succeed is multiplied. The paradox is that the most engaging information, especially in the form of pictures and videos, are usually the least substantiated. Another aspect of this is how headlines increasingly control how we interpret content, especially as it is common for many to only read the headline and lead paragraph.
In this new information landscape, direct communication is becoming increasingly important, while dependency on intermediary actors is decreasing. It increases the ability of the sender to maintain control over the message and opens up a dialogue with customers, residents and followers. At the same time, expectations of quick answers and solutions in direct communication channels are increasing, even outside normal working hours. When communication is more direct, issues can grow big quickly, and issues that are not handled properly can thus be difficult to handle.
In Helsingborg, for example, there have been rapidly emerging opinions about the relocation of the building known as Ångfärjestationen, construction of allotments and about the proposed underground parking facility known as Landborgsgaraget. This is also evident in how single-question parties at the local level gather residents who are upset about individual issues. In the 2018 municipal elections this happened in Gothenburg, where the Democrats became the second largest party in response to the construction of the so-called West Link. And in Lomma, the Fokus Bjärred party got 10 percent of the vote after dissatisfaction with uneven municipal initiatives between the urban areas in the municipality. Experiences from Helsingborg suggest that those who are most heavily involved in these situations are older people around the age of retirement.
The increasing importance of participation
Much of this concerns how to communicate change, which for various reasons has not been well received. This also applies to municipal operations. An example of this is the introduction of social service robots, which determine whether or not a person should receive financial assistance. Trelleborg Municipality introduced this already in 2017 with successful results and satisfied employees who felt relieved and that they could focus on more valuable tasks. When the corresponding model was introduced in Kungsbacka in 2018, 75 percent of the staff instead resigned.
Opportunities for participation and co-creation can create greater commitment and contribute to valuable feedback. As the confidence of several groups in society declines, the time when it was possible rely solely on surveys is past. Instead, more direct systems are needed to clearly show the value of the interviewees’ efforts. Through dialogue and co-creation, one-way communication can be done away with, but then we need to be able to show how this creates value for the individual.
The challenges involved with reaching out and getting individuals to engage or participate stem from a battle for time and attention in an age of abundance and services that are deliberately designed for maximal distraction. Compared to many other activities, much of the municipality’s activities and services are perceived as boring. At the same time, individuals interact most with what engages them. The neutral gets less time and attention, which affects the day-today operations of the public sector as these are often seen as unimportant, especially by younger residents. This contrasts with the issues that create strong emotions, where opinions can suddenly arise as above.
9. The transition towards a greener society
Sustainability issues have come to take an increasingly important place in planning and goal-setting for many organizations. This has led to a new playing field where large sections of society are shifting towards a greener and more sustainable way of life. In addition to the behaviour of individuals, both businesses and municipalities have a central role in the transition.
The global goals for sustainable development, climate strikes and Greta Thunberg have characterized much of the public debate in recent times and the European Parliament has announced a climate emergency. Although environmental issues have long been the focus in Sweden and some things have improved, such as carbon dioxide emissions, things like resource use and consumption have continued to increase for a long time. At the same time, the effects of global climate change are becoming more and more noticeable on a local level, which further increases interest in the issues.
The development involves both growing incentives and increased demands on municipalities to act. Helsingborg’s environmental work is at the top of the class, but a lot remains to be done and the city’s business has to comply with both national legislation (top-down) and residents’ wishes (bottom-up). For example, the city is working both on influencing behaviours and making it as easy as possible to do the right thing. As an example, the Office of School and Youth Services in Helsingborg runs SmartmatHBG, which aims to reduce the impact on the climate of school food, as food is a major contributor to emissions.
A more green policy at both a national and a European level creates new working conditions. The transition is driven by a focus on reducing emissions and environmental impact, and a large part of this is done through legislation and sharpened requirements. Much regulation relates to increased producer responsibility with regards to how long products last, the possibility to make repairs, clearer consumer labelling and better waste management. At the same time, tax deductions and consumer support are used to bring about behavioural changes and changes in consumption patterns, both for individuals and companies.
For the City of Helsingborg, this means continuous adjustments across a broad line within the larger organization. Many changes are about reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as using limited resources more efficiently based on the idea of a circular economy. An example of this is Helsingborg’s investment in the three pipe sewer system in the Ocean Harbour district, which involves water, nutrition and energy being recycled.
Demand for sustainable products is expected to increase in the future. In general, it is increasing as green alternatives become better and less costly. This will become self-reinforcing over time as increased demand changes companies’ supply, which will in turn drive a change in consumption as more sustainable alternatives become available. Incentives for innovations and opportunities for large-scale production grow as the market base increases. The public sector is a large customer and can thus impose strict sustainability requirements in procurement. As an example, the city has required a supplier to produce gymnastic mats without dangerous hormone-disrupting substances. Now such a mat is available for all municipalities in Sweden.
Diverging opinions on priorities and individual responsibility
In line with changing values and lifestyles, other demands and expectations are placed on municipal services, not least from the residents who see the climate issue as deciding the fate of our world. At the same time, far from all residents are interested in sustainability issues. Opinions on how to prioritize between social issues and environmental issues often differ and there is a degree of polarization in the importance attached to them. Some are more interested in local issues linked to security and welfare, while others are more concerned with long-term, global environmental and climate issues.
There are also differences in how sustainability is viewed between generations, gender, different socio-economic groups and people from different parts of the country. Views on sustainability and the choices associated with this are to some extent linked to the status and prestige of certain groups. In the public sphere, the issue of sustainability is often seen as a normative issue with a clear right and wrong, which drives some resistance from other groups who may experience being personally criticized for their lifestyle and choices.
Much of the public debate is about the individual’s responsibility, not least the discussions of meat consumption, air travel and fashion that have emerged in recent years. This affects consumption patterns and puts pressure on producers of goods and services to adapt to higher environmental requirements. At the same time, the difference between what people say and what they actually do is often great. Ultimately, many consumers shop according to belief only when it fits or the price is right. At the same time, the approach to various environmental issues is very much influenced by the individual’s own situation; it is easier to support initiatives and issues that do not affect one’s everyday life, but more difficult when it requires changes in habitual patterns or is visible in the local environment. Active efforts to influence behaviour are an important component of achieving a more sustainable society.
Business and municipalities play a central role in the transition
Green sustainability is far too big of an issue for individuals to solve, and therefore both the public and business sectors need to pull in the same direction. Urban planning is used as a tool to influence the development towards a greener transition. Large and urbanized cities such as Helsingborg have an easier time for climate-smart urban and infrastructure planning with, among other things, energy-efficient buildings. We also have opportunities for so-called green mobility in the form of smart public transport as well as pedestrian and bicycle transport, thus promoting a low-carbon lifestyle in such environments.
Business has a central role in the transition and several large industries in Helsingborg, including trade, transport and the construction sector, today have a high environmental impact. At the same time, several environmental technology companies are at the forefront in Helsingborg. An increasing number of industries are being affected by high demands for restructuring, both in terms of product production, choice of suppliers and ethics. The incentives to be sustainable are increasing as demand changes at the same time as legal requirements are increased. In the long term, this may mean that companies that are not perceived to care about the climate and society are being competed out.
The sustainability work of various actors has been thoroughly examined by conscious consumers and the media. Communicating that you are doing good work without actually doing it, so-called greenwashing, can lead to dramatic sudden losses if it gets noticed. Many, especially younger people, are demanding genuinely sustainable companies, in both their roles as consumers and as workers.
Demand on the electricity grid is expected to increase due to, among other things, housing construction, new business establishments, electrified transport and increased electricity use in homes. At present, there is a capacity shortage in the electricity grid at a regional level that affects the power supply in Helsingborg. With increasing demand, it may be necessary to prioritize, with the risk that some things may be left behind.
10. Increased competition for land
Helsingborg is currently experiencing a rapid population increase, following a broader trend of urbanization where people and economic activity are concentrated in larger cities. At present, the development is mainly putting pressure on the inner city and urban living environments. It is also visible in the demand for new business developments. Adding to this, Helsingborg is already a densely populated municipality with a small land area compared to many other Swedish municipalities.
Conflicting needs as the population grows
The pressure from urbanization means increased competition for how the land will be used. This may include how the need for housing, trade, service, industry, logistics, infrastructure, recreation and agriculture should be prioritized against each other. An increased population can also reduce access to recreation areas as the city expands on existing green spaces. By extension, it can affect the possibility of meaningful leisure and quality of life for the inhabitants, which is central to the city’s attractiveness. At the same time, we are becoming more aware of existing areas, when basic infrastructure will have to cope with an increasing number of cars, buses, trucks, bicycles and pedestrians, to name a few examples. For this there is densification, mainly in the central city but also in other urban areas within the municipality.
Urban planning should ensure a development towards a balanced city. In this context, long-term and short-term needs may need to be met simultaneously. In addition, these needs change over time, and new technology has a noticeable effect on this. For example, digitalisation combined with a growing sharing economy creates the conditions for a shift in land use as carpools and bikepools reduce the need for parking spaces in the central parts of the city. Land use also comes into focus when requirements for cost-effective housing construction must be balanced against high environmental requirements and climate-adapted measures.
Arable land is valued differently when the climate changes
65 per cent of the City of Helsingborg’s total area is comprised of high-quality arable land. The increased need for land as the city grows means that parts of it may need to be used for other purposes. At the same time, arable land has a low economic value compared to whether it is used for housing or businesses. The County Administrative Board has views on the exploitation of arable land as it is regarded as a strategic resource to secure Sweden’s long-term food supply. Among other things, climate change risks reducing food production globally and Sweden today imports about half of all food. At the same time, climate change means that the conditions for producing food in our part of Europe are increasing. The cultivation season here is prolonged and gives the opportunity for more crops than at present, which can cause arable land to be valued differently.
Needs are changing with increased globalization and digitalization
Helsingborg has a continued important and strategic location for future logistics and transport needs, and with the city’s location and accessibility, Helsingborg is part of several functional regions. As a consequence of increased travel, commuting and internationalization of business, the need for a well-functioning digital and physical infrastructure is growing. The pressure on the port, the roads and the rail network is also increasing. One challenge is that large infrastructure projects often have long planning horizons and that much can change before they are realized.
In line with e-commerce and increased globalization, the need for logistics space and transport is increasing. The transport and logistics industries are already strong in Helsingborg with great opportunities to grow due to the city’s strategic location. But at the same time, they require very large surfaces. As the city grows, previously peripheral business areas are viewed differently. The same applies to external shopping centres, which among other things want to offer more than just trade in order to remain competitive. As new office spaces in places like the new Ocean Harbour district are completed, this could lead to vacant premises elsewhere.
Pressure on the central parts of Helsingborg
Right now the central parts of the city are under great pressure. But the municipality is larger than its centre, both for residents, visitors and companies. The population is becoming increasingly heterogeneous and more divided, both within the city and between the city and the countryside. Service and communications are partly unevenly distributed and of varying quality. For example, the gap in results between different schools is widening, and public transport and cycle paths are not evenly expanded across the entire municipality.
In order to relieve the rapid growth in the city centre, smaller towns around the city can be developed and in the longer term more clearly integrated with the central city. As the towns grow and densify, local conditions are also created for more expanded services, infrastructure and public transport. This also applies to smaller locations within the Helsingborg Family, but in that case it places demands on well-functioning and interconnected communications. With the continued development of technology, the differences between the centre of a city and its periphery may be reduced.
11. Noticeable effects on the climate
Greenhouse gas emissions from human activities have already increased the global average temperature by about a degree since the end of the 19th century. The increase is now expected to reach 1.5 degrees within a few decades, which is the level the UN member states agreed to try to limit the increase to in the 2015 Paris Agreement. Whether this is successful or not, the effects of climate change will increase in strength for a long time to come. For Sweden and Helsingborg, this has a wide range of noticeable consequences.
Increased risk of flooding and erosion
The sea level is expected to rise by up to one meter until 2100 and thereafter to continue to rise for a long time, although the forecast is uncertain and the actual rise could be both higher and lower. The consequences are becoming more noticeable in north western Skåne than in many other parts of Sweden. This is partly due to the fact that the land elevation here is smaller and that the west coast is more exposed to onshore winds and storms than the coasts in the northern and eastern parts of the country. In addition, there are several low-lying areas and coastal areas that are already exposed to sand escape and erosion. Calculations show that if the seawater level rises one meter, the coast will on average retreat 100 meters.
For Helsingborg, the forecast means that the entire coastal zone risks both increased erosion and more floods that can cause direct damage to buildings, companies and infrastructure. Therefore, it has been decided that new buildings must be placed at least 3.5 meters above sea level. For larger projects and socially important facilities the limit is set at a minimum of 4 meters above sea level. This is in line with the County Administrative Board’s recommendation that new buildings should be at least 3 meters above sea level, which caused Länsförsäkringar to stop insuring new buildings below this level. The greatest flood vulnerability is found at Råå and Råån, the area west of Järnvägsgatan, the central station, the northern train tunnel estuary, the Råådalsbanan and in other buildings that are low in relation to the sea level. Rydebäck, Hittarp, Domsten and Utvälinge are also considered vulnerable. In addition to the direct flood risk, rising sea levels cause groundwater levels to rise as much along the coast, which impacts buildings and sustainability, and causes problems for the water and sewerage system.
More cases of extreme rainfall
Increased rainfall in the winter and more occasions with extreme rainfall are expected in the future. The latter has already become more common and locally, for example, Copenhagen has had several so-called 100-year rains in recent years. In the extreme case of July 2011, over 150 millimeters of rain came in the course of one and a half hours, causing damage to the effect of over five billion Danish kroner. In addition to these direct costs are indirect costs of a society that is at a stand-still and does not function as intended. Something similar could also happen in Helsingborg.
One of the problems with extreme rainfall is that it often falls very locally and it can be difficult to know in advance exactly where it will happen. This contributes to an increased risk of flooding, both in parts of central Helsingborg and in several rural areas such as Ödåkra, Fleninge and Hjälmshult, where places that need to be addressed have been identified. In extreme rain, the sewage system can be overloaded, for example, so that sewage water flows backwards and is forced up through sewage wells into basements. The increased rainfall can also have consequences for the supply of drinking water through a deterioration of the quality of the water in Bolmen and Ringsjön. In addition, bathing water quality is affected when large quantities of contaminated water run out into the sea and lakes over a short period of time, which affects both tourism and the population’s recreation and quality of life.
More frequent heat waves and drought
Climate change also has other effects with consequences for Helsingborg. As the temperature rises, the risk of heat waves and drought increases. Summer droughts have a negative impact on agriculture and increase the risk of fires. However, agriculture is expected to benefit from climate change with a longer growing season. Increased incidence of heat waves also entails increased health risks for vulnerable groups such as the elderly and the sick. Furthermore, changing seasons and an extended growing season can affect the start, length and intensity of the pollen season with consequences for those with allergies.
To this is added secondary effects of a warmer climate in the form of new diseases and parasites. For example, the Hyalomma tick species has recently been found in Sweden, where it didn’t exist before. The tick has been a carrier of hemorrhagic fever in other areas where it was found. In addition, different tree species are more easily exposed to diseases when the climate gets both warmer and more humid during parts of the year. However, Helsingborg can be expected to be less affected by this than other municipalities with more forests and larger natural areas.
12. A more vulnerable society
We live in a society that increasingly relies on everything working, without interruption or hassle. At the same time, globalization means that people, companies, markets and financial systems are more interconnected across countries and continents than ever before. The binding agent is digital technology, cheap transport, free trade agreements and a world order that is held together by a number of international cooperation organizations. This has contributed to growing prosperity and a simpler everyday life, but also to increased risks and increased vulnerability in a number of areas. In addition, the risks have become more acute due to increased tensions in international relations and the deterioration of the political situation in Europe and the Baltic Sea.
Digitalization and electricity dependence contribute to greater vulnerability
Digitalization and the development of faster communications have created the necessary conditions for more efficient logistics. This has made it possible to reduce inventory locally and has resulted in large savings. But it also means that access to food and goods of various kinds today can easily be ruled out in the event of a conflict in the local area or in a serious disruption in the global supply chains. This vulnerability is reinforced by the decommissioning of state supplies of necessities, which existed previously. In addition, self-sufficiency of food and agricultural inputs has gradually declined in Sweden over the past decades, and is now among the lowest in the entire EU.
With more digital, connected and integrated services and goods, digital vulnerability increases, both at the community level and for the individual. At the same time, changes in criminal trends entails new risks, where digitalisation has increased the opportunities for identity theft, hacking, as well as taking over and controlling both objects and services. More than 230,000 people in Sweden experienced a financial loss in 2019 as a result of identity theft, emails from fraudsters or being redirected to fake websites. Nationally, half of all companies with employees have been exposed to IT crimes, and of these, six out of ten have refrained from reporting to the police. Municipalities are also vulnerable, and there are several international examples of cyberattacks where hackers have tried to blackmail cities for money and shut down computer systems, with the result that, for example, neither wages nor bills could be paid. Swedish municipalities are equally attractive targets here. Risks are increasing as cities become smarter and more interconnected.
Both basic municipal services such as water and heat as well as telecommunications and more advanced services depend on IT in order to function. Digital infrastructure also accounts for a growing share of energy use and is dependent on the supply of electricity to function. This also means that society today is more vulnerable than before to power failure. At the same time, the risk of interruptions increases due to things like operating errors, natural disasters, and even deliberate sabotage.
Planning for the unexpected is challenging, and it is often difficult for us humans to relate to things we have not experienced ourselves. Even worse is the case with things that have never happened before, even though we know the risks. One example is the power outage in Höganäs municipality in June 2018. At that time, both the electricity network and mobile communication were down for 18 hours, and lack of planning affected both the municipality’s communication and residents’ access to information.
In Skåne, there is currently a lack of grid capacity, which means that there is enough electricity being produced, but during peaks in demand it’s not possible to transmit the requested power because the lines are unable to do so. Demand for electricity grids is expected to increase gradually as the population grows, housing construction continues, the transport sector is electrified and industries want to expand.
Increased vulnerability dues to centralization and outsourcing
We are increasingly using new technology and new digital solutions to streamline services and operations. One side effect of this is that more and more systems are becoming interdependent. Another is that efficiency enhancements often mean increased centralization, since there are often economies of scale at work in gathering operations and functions in one place. The result is a greater vulnerability when independent and local services are replaced with more rational integrated solutions.
In addition, some technical solutions entail an increased risk of municipal services being locked into solutions that the municipalities cannot fully control themselves. For example, about one in five Swedish municipalities have chosen to outsource parts of their IT environment, and for more and more services there is an increased dependence on American systems suppliers in particular. The vulnerability that comes from using external IT solutions was clearly illustrated by the Swedish Transport Agency’s handling of personal data this year, and similar handling is spread across the public sector in Sweden.
There are also risks involved when changing between systems. In 2019, Folktandvården Skåne introduced a new digital medical record system, which was surrounded by an unstable IT operating environment and deficiencies in data transfer. This led them reporting themselves as part of an internal investigation into the implementation process.
Greater mobility and climate change create increased risks
Globalization means an increased vulnerability as the dependence on an uncertain and changing environment grows. The mobility of goods and people increases the risk of pandemics and means that diseases that have either never existed in Sweden, or that have previously been eradicated, are gaining ground in the country. It is also more difficult to control how hygienically imported food and goods have been handled when manufactured under working conditions that would not have been accepted in Sweden. The risk of spreading disease from animals to humans also increases as a result of the structural transformation in agriculture, with increasing numbers of livestock and increased trade in food.
For business in Helsingborg, globalization has meant both increased exchange with, but also increased competition from, other countries. This has several positive effects, but in an economy that is increasingly characterized by digital solutions, new business models can challenge older ones suddenly and unexpectedly. We also see increased competition for limited resources that can lead to shortages, and occasional disruptions in the global supply chains can have major consequences in the form of a shortage of inputs to local industry.
Climate vulnerability is also becoming an increasingly important issue as the consequences of climate change become more noticeable. This applies to the city as well as to its companies, organizations and at the individual level. New rules for 2018 require the municipality to take climate risks into account in its physical planning.