The Organization of Social Sustainability Work in Swedish Eco-Municipalities
2. Material and Methods
2.1. The Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (FSSD)
2.1.1. A Five-Level Model for Planning in Complex Systems
2.1.2. A Principled Definition of Sustainability
- It is intended for strategic sustainability planning, which is precisely what we wanted to study: how the municipalities engage in this work strategically
- It provides an all-encompassing, science-based, and unifying definition of social sustainability, thus allowing us to structure all social sustainability issues that might be brought up by the municipalities
- It provides a common language, in this case one that the participants were partially already familiar with (see below).
2.3. Semi-Structured Interviews
- Where in the organization do people with responsibility for social sustainability sit?
- Are there any established routines for coordination and collaboration? Which ones?
- Are any formal or informal structures that you think would enhance your work missing?
- How do you ensure alignment between scope, goals, and structuring of work?
- How are you working with external actors? What is working? What could be better?
3.1. The Scope of Social Sustainability Work (System Level)
3.2. Organization and Structure of Work (System Level)
3.3. Themes of Visions and Goals for Social Sustainability (Success Level)
3.4. Strategic Guidelines (Level)
3.5. What Is Being Done in Practice (Action Level)
3.6. What Tools Are in Use
- Collaboration, where various councils, working groups, and networks were mentioned as well as continues dialogue with various stakeholders.
- Various theories and models such as the participation ladder, the SKR toolbox, process tools, and evidence-based methods.
- Assessment and analysis, such as SWOT.
- Utilizing existing and creating new declarations, policies, and laws.
- Planning, e.g., the equal treatment plan in schools, the HBTQ strategy and action plan, etc.
- Visions and goals to drive the processes.
- Indicators’ sets to follow up in a measurable way.
- Mindset: One respondent mentioned keeping a level head as a way to navigate the complexity.
- Employees: One respondent mentioned the employees as the main asset to implement any work in this area.
3.7. Best Practice Interviews
4.1. Reflections in Relation to Five Levels of the FSSD
4.2. Reflections on Method
4.3. Overall Reflections
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|The System level||describes the overall major functioning of the system; in the case of sustainability, the organization within the human society within the biosphere.|
|The Success level||includes the definition of the vision, bounded by basic sustainability principles.|
|The Strategic guidelines’ level||specifies guidelines for how to approach the principle-framed vision strategically, in an economically viable, step-by-step approach.|
|The Actions level||comprises everything done in concrete terms, the actions that were prioritized into a strategic plan.|
|The Tools level||includes concepts, methods, and tools and other forms of support that are often required for decision support, monitoring, and disclosures of the actions to ensure they are chosen in line with the strategic guidelines to arrive step-by-step at the defined success in the system.|
|FSSD Level||Detailed Area of Interest||Survey Questions|
|SYSTEM||System boundaries: the scope of social |
|How is work structured?|
|SUCCESS||Vision and goals mentioned|
|STRATEGIC GUIDELINES||What guides strategic work and decision?|
|ID #||Pop Size||Themes||Pos/Struct||Respondent||Vision||Strat. G.||Actions||Tools|
|General Sustainability + Agenda 2030||5|
|Development + Growth||5|
|Safety + Security + Crime Prevention||5|
|General Strategy Unit||3|
|Culture + Leisure||3|
|Environmental + Climate and Energy||3|
|Children and Youth||2|
|Family + Education||2|
|Function Rights + Accessibility||2|
|Mother tongue responsible||1|
|Strategic+operative collaboration groups for sub-areas||1|
|Forum for sust. issues||1|
|Working group with the county admin. board||1|
|Inform and educate/Raise knowledge||10||Collaborate with associations||3|
|Conduct surveys + investigations||8||Coordinate with external actors||3|
|Internal consulting and support||7||Develop and apply assessment tools||3|
|Citizen dialogues||6||Overall planning, steering, and follow-up, e.g., the Comprehensive plan||3|
|Work for (e.g., inclusion)||5||Preventive work||3|
|Coordinate work in a particular area (e.g., mental health, crime prevention)||4||Develop and coordinate policy||2|
|Develop steering documents, strategic plan, action plans, and budget||4||Development of places for spontaneous activity and meetings||2|
|Develop support for citizens |
(e.g., elderly, parents)
|4||Participate in national networks||2|
|Conduct follow-ups||4||Revise strategies and programs||2|
|System||Scope: ANDGT, Children’s rights, Democracy, Equality, Gender equality, Human rights, Influence, Job opportunities, Mental health, Public health, Security work/violence prevention, and Well-being|
Structures: Accessibility coordinator, Anti-violence strategist, Democracy coordinator (influence), Integration strategist, Investigator (influence), Leisure consultant, Public health strategist (health, influence), Accessibility council, Advisory body for pensioners, Council for public health, Local association network, Local crime prevention council, Steering group public health and security (Youth council), and Participation in regional and national networks for public health
|Success||Goals: Safe and committed residents with good public health, Develop integration to prevent segregation, Involvement of children and youth, Increase participation in municipal issues, Create prerequisites for good and equal public health, Link to Agenda 2030, and Target areas of national public health policy.|
|What guides strategic work and decisions? Activities and impact measures based on goals of the municipal council and the municipal board.|
|System||Scope: ADNTG; Function variations; Agenda 2030; Autonomy, influence, and participation; Competence, knowledge, and education; Conventions and declarations; Employment, working life, and livelihood; Environmental policy; Equality; Growth; Health and lifestyle, Human rights; Legislation; Living and local environments; Public health; Skills’ supply issues; Special mission regarding men’s violence against women|
Structures: Business Developer Welfare Administration: Democracy coordinator; Development strategist; Head of student health; Head of the public health and competence unit; Human resources’ director; Local collaboration group; Regional coordination association; Strategic and operative collaboration groups for sub-areas within the administration; Sustainability forum for sustainability issues
|Success||Goals: We build best together; Good to live in and visit Örnsköldsvik; Conditions for good and equal health for all; To close the influenceable health gaps; Act for the issues at all societal levels|
|What guides strategic work and decisions? Work through multi-level management, collaboration, and co-action. Multilevel management: municipal obligation to comply with laws + political governance. Actions should have effect for the individual. Work is adapted to each issue or focus area.|
|System||Scope: Active senior; Crime prevention; Domestic violence; Eating habits; Economy; Influence; Integration; Mental health; Participation; Public health; Welfare; Well-being|
Structures: Department ‘Safe in Norrtälje kommun’ with 11 employees; Head of department, Field coordinators, Parent supporters, Public health strategist, Public health coordinator, Safety coordinator, Local area groups; the TiNk council, The Municipal management, and the Local Security and Safety council.
|Success||Goals: We will become Sweden’s safest municipality; Conditions for good health on equal terms and good conditions for growing up and living; Possibility for participation for all; Freedom, future, and trust; It is easy to live healthily in Norrtälje municipality.|
|What guides strategic work and decisions: A method/system based on steering, structure, collaboration, and common goals.|
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Wälitalo, L.; Missimer, M. The Organization of Social Sustainability Work in Swedish Eco-Municipalities. Sustainability 2022, 14, 2770. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14052770
Wälitalo L, Missimer M. The Organization of Social Sustainability Work in Swedish Eco-Municipalities. Sustainability. 2022; 14(5):2770. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14052770Chicago/Turabian Style
Wälitalo, Lisa, and Merlina Missimer. 2022. "The Organization of Social Sustainability Work in Swedish Eco-Municipalities" Sustainability 14, no. 5: 2770. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14052770