Life is full of brief encounters. Strangers on a train and fellow passengers on an airplane. I’ve met Swedes abroad and people from other parts of Sweden. As usual, people ask you the obvious questions like your age, location and profession. I tell them what I do and where I live.The question that comes after is inevitable: Is Malmö a dangerous city?
Many people have read about shootings and a vast criminal network. As soon as an incident occurs the whole thing is blown up in the media and you get the feeling that bullets are flying everywhere.
I’ve never really questioned the safety in Malmö. Most of the time I have felt secure and have never been mugged or harassed *knock on wood*. I have ridden a generous amount of cabs on my own, walked on empty streets at night and talked to approaching strangers.
Sure, you read about the unemployment. The population in Malmö is young. 50% of the inhabitants are below the age of 35. There is a glitch between the employer and the job seekers. Everyone wants qualified workforce and too many people lack the right job experience. You read about socioeconomically weak areas where the police has lost control. Also, there is a growing black labour market with illegal workers. There is a reason why those falafels cost 25 SEK.
But I’ve always felt that Malmö had a lot to offer. Bars, clubs, restaurants and a progressive grassroot movement. The parks are welcoming everyone and create a dynamic athmosphere. After all, a lot has happened since the shipyard was closed down and the big crane Kockumskranen was dismantled. Slowly the industrial town rose from the ashes like Phoenix. Malmö University was funded and attracted inspiring students.
However, after reading an article by Heidi Avellan I came to question the status of my hometown. She claims that Malmö has been undergoing a hype – and as they all say – don’t believe the hype! To support her arguments she claims that:
- The status of Berlin is in decline – the same thing might happen in Malmö
- The gentrification of Malmö is pushing away the cultural class
- The schools and pre-schools are deteriorating
I completely agree with her that Malmö needs to set its priorities straight. Malmö is the sum of its inhabitants. The old working class sitting in the pubs, talking about ancient memories. The nurses and assistant nurses that struggle every day. The shop owners from Persia and Iraq. The worldly students in Political Science. Malmö has in my opinion, one important task for the future. That is, to care for their citizens.
There has to be more affordable housing for everyone. The constructors have been trying to please the Danes way too long, only to learn that they return back to their motherland. Attempts have been made to construct housing in outer central parts of Malmö, like Sorgenfri. More has to be done. Co-operative flats should of course exist.
The status of the schools needs to be restored and the number of pre-schools expanded. Malmö University needs to create more consistency. Some faculties have a good standard but it is not enough. The students’ time should not be wasted.
In order to keep the cultural class I want to see more pop-ups, more art galleries, sport venues and music venues.
Besides that, keep on doing what you do, Malmö. No need to worry about your coolness, at least try to be good enough.