A combined urban farm, kitchen, market, and meeting place created by local residents – DM in Drottninghög is a unique collaboration with the aim of creating a “third place”, i.e. an environment where people spend time between their home and their workplace.
DM is a clear example of social innovation. Social innovation is defined as new services, goods, methods, and approaches that contribute to an inclusive, prosperous society and which solve societal challenges in new ways. We need social innovation to drive the development of society and promote economic growth. Neither the business sector, public sector, nor civil society can tackle the challenges on their own, but together with those affected by these challenges, new and more holistic solutions can be created.
The seed for DM was sown in 2019 when Helsingborg, through the H22 initiative, opened up the city for a wide range of stakeholders to test new solutions aimed at improving quality of life in a better, more sustainable, and thoughtful city. One of the first and biggest players that wanted to be part of the H22 initiative was IKEA, which for the first time ever entered into a multi-year collaboration with an entire city. After initial rounds of dialogue between IKEA and Helsingborg, it was decided that one project would be located in Drottninghög and another in Oceanhamnen.
“When we found the location in Drottninghög, it became clear that we wanted to have a social focus. We see that people today consider home to be something that extends beyond the four walls. Home is just as much the neighbourhood you live in. Working together with the city and having the opportunity to learn from and influence the development of an entire district is incredibly valuable. When we started working with DM, we talked a lot about exploring a meeting place where you can feel at home, but which is not home, work, or school. It was a fantastic to be able to collaborate with a city to achieve common goals that benefit society, something that IKEA has never done before,” says Anna-Carin Alderin, CEO and Project Manager for DM.
DM combines small-scale urban farming with a vibrant marketplace where produce is sold and served in a community kitchen on site. The result is a sustainable meeting place that inspires new initiatives, community, and integration. Much of the concept’s content comes from the passionate and driven local residents – hence the name DM, which stands for “Do More”, but can also double as Drottninghög Market.
By employing residents from the neighborhood who have limited access to the labour market, DM has at the same time become a kind of job creation project. In total, over 50 people have been employed in the initiative and some have found further work as a result. DM had its official launch during H22 City Expo, which put the whole concept to the test pretty much immediately.
“H22 City Expo was a global stage to showcase what we want to achieve. It is only now that we can start testing different concepts to see what works. We have built a good foundation together with the city and residents which we are continuing to build on. The journey continues, and the future will tell if this is something we can also scale up and test in other places around the world,” says Anna-Carin Alderin.
At the time of writing, there are flea markets, dance courses, bingo evenings, and craft courses being organised here by various stakeholders. The hope is that DM will become an obvious meeting place in the neighborhood, with circular, organic, and ever-changing content that can contribute to a more thoughtful and thriving district.
“DM is built using a five-year building permit, which gives time for this location and initiative to take root in the area and in the city. To succeed in this requires continued and close cooperation between the city and IKEA, where we put old ways of working aside and pave the way for an entirely new type of urban meeting place. DM also has great potential to generate interest in Drottninghög and northeast Helsingborg as an exciting destination,” says Mikaela Åberg, Project Manager Urban Development at Helsingborgshem.