Möllevången (Möllan) is a neighbourhood in the city of Malmö south of Sweden. It characterizes by its working class origins and the strong community tides that have withstanded major changes in the city and in this area in particular. In addition to the construction of the train to Copenhaguen with a stop in central Möllan, the economy of the city has radically changed. From a production centered around the harbour, Malmö is now a university town with big tech companies installing in the old factory buildings.
These new dynamics have been accompanied by housing investments that have changed the neighbourhood life and the distribution of rental/property own relationships.
Discussions around crime in the neighbourhood have led to the installation of security systems and the closing of courtyards.
Öppna Möllan is an attempt to show how lively public spaces managed by residents results are what we actually need.
The practice started back in 2010 as an initiative to encourage neighbours to open their courtyard for one day. Since then over 40 courtyards join every year, opening for flea markets, lectures, games or just coffee.
Öppna Möllan is a symbol for the community of the neighbourhood and an utopic moment of how public space can be defined by residents themselves. The city is for its citizens to create and transform and in turn create themselves.
Öppna Möllan shows how communal spaces can become part of new routines and practices. It gives a glimpse into how Möllevången or Malmö as a whole could look like if common spaces were opened and used.
This is a practice which democratize the spatial dimensions of the city: city dwellers offer their private gardens to extend public space, and in return gain access to the shared benefits this creates. This changes the dynamic of the neighborhood, which instead of private gardens hosts flourishing parks and instead of large living rooms hosts squares teeming with life.
The projects sets a precedent on how we can think of neighbourhoods in different scales and how those scales are interconnected. Each courtyard that joins every year enlarges the network and produces new interconnections among neighbours.
This is a fundamental aspect of the project. The interconnections made possible through opening public spaces, enable the community to renegotiate the boundaries and enclosures implemented by external political forces. This is vital for a neighborhood like Möllevången which, although it has a long history of communal and political organizing, is being threatened by rising rents and gentrification. The self organized communal activity encouraged by the project, while embracing diversity, creates a shared identity and empoweres neighbors to act together in the face of these tendencies by establishing spaces for decision making and synergies.
Public talk in one of the open courtyards
Map of the participating courtyards in 2020
Market in an open courtyard
Open door to a courtyard
Article in local newspaper
The project has been driven by the Right to the city section of Förbundet Allt åt alla in Malmö. The idea started several years ago by a group of neighbours that went under the name Möllevånggruppen. The project has evolved and today it is in great part self organised.
Allt åt alla makes the open call and distributes information through a poster campaign. Courtyards inform the team about their participation and the organizators distribute the information through maps and an information point. It is the neighbours who organise activities, meet to discuss the possibility of opening their courtyard and keep it open for a full day.