Rather a concerned optimist than a calm pessimist!

"Concerned optimist". That's how the Minister of Finacial Markets and Housing Per Bolund introduced himself when he spoke at the opening speach at Samhällsbyggnadsdagarna 2019. Many people probably recognized themselves in that description. During the days you heard both speakers and moderators who referred to the troubled optimist and channeled their own feelings.

Positive mixed with an ounce of frustration

With Samhällsbyggnadsdagarna in the rearview mirror, my experience of the situation in the community building industry is mainly positive. The positive is built up by the industry's common, and large, competence, experience, drive and research work. Of course, there is also some dark cloud - mainly consisting of frustration. Frustration that it takes time to find coordination processes. Frustration over legal crack issues with freedom of the press on one side and integrity on the other. Frustration over the difficulty of defining metrics for social, environmental and human aspects.

Despite frustrations, I have not once heard of abandonment or passivity during the days, but only a tremendous desire to push the issues forward and slowly but surely become a little better at building the sustainable societies, cities, infrastructure and social functions of the future together.

What I brought with me into the Social Building Days I feel even more confident about continuing to fight for now. My interests are mainly on an overall, supportive level and concerns forms of coordination, shared financial risk taking and profit sharing, balance between the three legs of sustainability (economy, social, environment) and greater understanding between the various players in the industry.

A palette of competence

To be able to work with these overall, leading and governing processes in a creative and good way, I am completely dependent on the entire range of skills and activities that the industry consists of. During Samhällsbyggnadsdagarna I got the opportunity to look into some, widely separated, parts which gave me a lot of inspiration and knowledge from many other parts of the infrastructural development and urban building industry. Among other things, I learned that you can get dozens of impact benefits by using smart containers for deliveries on construction sites. I gained an insight into both nearby and visionary AI solutions within Lantmäteriet. My understanding of why there are widely differing definitions of equality, depending on where you are, increased. And as a final example, I learned a bit about how nudging can prepare the way for circular construction.

Digitalization as an enabler

During the days, "digitalization as an enabler" was without doubt the most frequently used expression. This was stated by representatives from authorities, municipalities, private actors and university employees. In addition, the term is used in a variety of contexts from technical detail solutions and sustainability research to data collection and target & effect analyzes.

It is a true privilege to be part of this exciting industry and together we all contribute in small steps towards the future of safe urban environments, digital solutions and sustainable systems!

In my various roles, I am always interested in hearing your thoughts, problematics and responses as well as, together with you, tailoring and finding solutions to everything from strategy making and portfolio management to organizational development and quality assurance.


With great optimism and an ounce of concern for the future,

Ann Palmér
management consultant, Ekan Management
Chair of the Infrastructural Development section within Samhällsbyggarna