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new arrivals at Malmö Central Station
credit: Johan Bävman




Opportunity Space is an international design-build competition challenging multidisciplinary teams to propose a temporary, mobile structure that will support economic opportunity and social inclusion in Malmö, Sweden. The winning team will receive a $10,000 prize, a travel stipend, and up to $25,000 to implement a prototype of its proposal in and around Malmö’s Enskifteshagen Park.

temporary receiving area for new arrivals set up near Malmö Central Station
photo: Johan Bävman

The competition will result in a new public space hub for education, social inclusion, and job assistance programs that bring together new and established residents.

Opportunity Space is the first in a new Van Alen Institute series of Flash Competitions: challenges that bring together multidisciplinary teams of designers and other experts for short, intense projects in cities around the world to take on urgent societal issues through design.

November 16

1. My team is not based in Sweden. Do I still need to find a Sweden-based partner to obtain insurance on my team’s behalf?

We are still in the process of identifying a local firm that can obtain insurance on behalf of the winning team, if that team isn’t based in Sweden. In the meantime, teams do not have to include a signed letter from a Sweden-based entity that can obtain insurance. The jury will review all proposals submitted before tomorrow’s competition deadline, regardless of whether or not teams find a local partner to obtain insurance. We recommend that your proposal should be no more than seven pages, rather than eight.

On the submittal form, teams must indicate on if they have the necessary insurance or have found a Sweden-based firm that can do so, or if they don’t have the necessary insurance and have not found a Sweden-based firm to obtain the insurance. We will continue to seek a local firm to obtain insurance.

2. I missed the pre-registration deadline. Can my team still send in a proposal?

Yes. Pre-registration was strongly recommended, but not required.

3. Where do I submit my proposal?

All proposals can be submitted at this website:



4. Can I enter the competition alone?

No. You must be part of a team. Individuals may not enter the competition alone.

5. My team consists of two architects. Can we enter the competition?

No. Teams must be multidisciplinary. We feel strongly that teams that include members from different disciplines are better equipped to address the complex challenges posed by the competition.

6. Can our team have more than four members?

Teams are limited to a maximum of four members. You are welcome to consult with other people in preparing your competition submittal, but these people can’t be listed as team members.

7. We are required to include a photograph from a previous project completed by one or more team members demonstrating our capacity to implement our proposal for Opportunity Space. How can our team keep its anonymity if we have to show a previous project?

It should be possible for you to show a photograph (or photographs) from a relevant project without disclosing the name of team members. We will instruct jurors that if they recognize a given team based on the precedent shown, they should indicate that to us, and recuse themselves from voting on that team’s proposal.

8. What is the height of the doorway to the MKB building at Kopparbergsgatan 4?

The doorway is approximate 2.21 meters wide. (The doorframe is approximately 2.4 meter wide, but when the doors are open, they take some room in the doorframe.) The doorway is 2.31 meters high.

9. Could our proposal be hitched to the back of a car and driven from the park to the building?

Cars and trucks are not permitted on the park. However, cars and trucks can be used within the parking lot south of the park that extends to the MKB building at Kopparbergsgatan 4.


October 31 

1. Where do I pre-register and submit a proposal?

You can pre-register at this link.

You can submit a proposal at this link.

Both links are available on the competition website near the top of the page.

2. Are there any specifications regarding the format of the hand-in and what it must contain?

Yes, the brief includes the requirements for your proposal on page 18, “Proposal Requirements”

3. My team is not based in Sweden. Can we still enter the competition?

Yes, we encourage teams from outside of Sweden to enter the competition. International teams should read the questions below on insurance and travel stipend.

4. What additional support is there if my team is outside of Sweden?

Skanska has committed to constructing the winning entry with pro bono labor from its employees.

However, for these types of installations, it’s important that a skilled, experienced designer from the team can be present to help guide the implementation process. This guidance includes attending meetings on site and in person if needed with project partners and Skanska’s construction team.

5. Is there a travel stipend?

Teams will be given a $5,000 travel budget to cover costs of travel and accommodation associated with the project.

6. Does my team need insurance?

It is essential that teams have the types of insurance outlined in the brief (See Question 7 below.)

Only entities with a Swedish organization number can obtain insurance in Sweden. Teams not based in Sweden must partner with an entity based in Sweden to obtain this insurance.

7. Does my team need to find a Swedish partner to obtain insurance before we submit our proposal?

We are currently in the process of identifying firms based in Sweden that could partner with the winning team to obtain insurance, and will update all pre-registered team leads on this question.

8. What types of insurance does the winning team need to obtain?

Insurance levels and requirements will vary based on the team’s location (i.e. based in or outside of Sweden), proposal, and other factors. At a minimum, teams are responsible for the following:
– Property (Egendomsförsäkring)
– Professional Liability (Konsultansvarsförsäkring),
– Personal
– Automobile
Teams must also indemnify the competition Collaborators. (See page 17, Section 10.3 “Responsibilities of Winning Team.”)

9.What does the $25,000 USD construction budget need to cover?

The $25,000 will mainly be for the cost to purchase and ship materials on site, and to obtain and pay for insurance. If your proposal requires specialized construction equipment (cranes or lifts, for example), you should include those costs in your proposal. Skanska will donate the labor needed to install and de-install the winning proposal.

Proposals should include elements that can serve as seating, tables, and other functions that support the types of programs that will take place at the built structure. These should be included in the team’s budget. The costs of programs that will take place at the built structure, and other related costs (such as staffing for these programs, food, promotional materials, basic office supplies such as paper and pens, etc.) are not the team’s responsibility.

10. I am interested in finding other people to work with on the competition. How can I find potential team members?

One first step is to sign of for the Opportunity Space LinkedIn Group, a platform for prospective partners to find each other. We will also try to connect people who are looking for people from other disciplines or countries to work with. Architects Sweden also maintains a searchable database of Swedish design firms on their website:

11. Are students permitted to enter the competition?


12. How many people may be on a team?

A team may include up to four members.

13. Who will work in the designed mobile structure, is it volunteers or people from the mentioned institutions such as “Migrationsverket” or “Swedish Public Employment Service” (PES)?

The nonprofit organization Individuell Människohjälp will coordinate how and when our many partners—including PES, Good Malmö, education organizations, cultural organizations, and others—offer programs that use the built structure in some way.

14. What are the dimensions of the front doors to the MKB building at Kopparbergsgatan 4? What changes will be made to the interior, and will the exterior doors will be changed?

The doorway is approximate 2.21 meters wide. (The doorframe is approximately 2.4 meter wide, but when the doors are open, they take some room in the doorframe.)

The doors won’t change after the renovation. The interior will remain unfinished; the main change will be to add a small kitchen as seen in the plan, and office furnishings for the City of Malmö’s Amiralsstaden staff, which will share space with Opportunity Space events.

15. How often does the structure need to be moved?

The park has no dedicated security. To protect against vandalism or damage, we are requiring that the structure can be moved to the MKB building at Kopparbergsgatan 4 (a secure location) at the end of each day it is used for programs.

The structure or the various components of the structure must fit in the MKB building. (The jury may also consider alternative solutions for securing the structure, so long as it doesn’t exceed the construction budget.)

16. Can you share the outcome of the preparation workshops for the competition held by IM (shown in the photo on page 10 of the competition brief)?

We’ve met with new arrivals affiliated with IM twice, once in June, and then again as part of our advisory board meeting in September. Some of our findings and questions raised from these meetings include:

• How could the winning project be more than just a service center?
Several of the new arrivals in the group said they would like to see the project offer ways to meet established residents; for them, the goal was not just to create a place for job training and language classes, but to create a social space that allows people to cross boundaries and meet one another.

• How could the winning project allow people to use their skills while they are looking for work?

Everyone knows the wait to get asylum status can be long, and the process forces applicants to be idle. Some new arrivals also complain that their education and work experience from their home countries is undervalued in Sweden—how can they share or use these skills outside of the labor market?

• Job training providers don’t just offer programs: They form relationships with job seekers, follow up with that person over many months, and eventually help that person find an individualized path to a career. Part of the function of the space should be to provide a platform for good job training providers, and to support this work.

17. Will all proposals be displayed (website and/or exhibition for example) after the winners have been announced?

We will display a selection of competition proposals on the project website.

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More than a million migrants entered Europe in 2015, highlighting one of the toughest challenges that cities around the world will face for decades to come: In an era of great uncertainty, how and where can people find opportunity?

Malmö is an ideal place to explore innovative ideas to improve social inclusion and access to economic opportunity. Malmö is a gateway city to Scandinavia, and is rapidly growing and diversifying. It was also the point of arrival for the vast majority of refugees and asylum seekers (or “new arrivals”) settling in Sweden – up to 10,000 a week at its peak last fall.

job seekers waiting to meet employers at a job fair hosted by the private nonprofit Good Malmö
photo: Åsa Kalée

As in many other cities, Malmö’s residents face challenges finding work in today’s global economy. Analysts estimate that the average age at which people in Sweden find their first “real” job (one that allows them to qualify for a mortgage, for example) is 29, and that it takes new arrivals up to seven years before they are gainfully employed.

The Competition

Opportunity Space calls for multidisciplinary teams to bring design thinking to bear on both the built environment and social programs in order to achieve the following:

mobile classroom in Busan, South Korea that collapses into a portable trailer
design and photo: Atelier Bow-Wow
  • Imagine new ways for people to use or develop their skills and experience to build social capital, share resources, or earn income.

  • Create a mobile physical structure that makes education, social inclusion and job assistance resources more visible and accessible to job seekers and the general public.

  • Establish a striking and inviting amenity in the city that is open to everyone, and brings diverse groups of people together.


The competition includes two sites: a portion of open lawn along the southwest edge of Enskifteshagen Park, and inside a one-story warehouse building in the Sofielunds industrial area directly to the south of the park.

The park site offers great visibility within a well-used public park; the building will provide a heated, flexible, indoor space on days when it’s too cold or stormy for outdoor programs. Both the industrial area and the park are home to an extremely diverse range of users and uses.

The park site looking south towards the industrial area.
Playgrounds along the northern edge of the park.
MKB building, looking west just inside the entry.
MKB building, looking north just inside the entry.
Looking north from outside the MKB building to the park.

The winning team will receive a $10,000 prize, a $5,000 travel stipend, and up to $25,000 to cover the costs of implementing their proposal, including costs for materials and insurance.

The built project must be fully mobile and/or transportable by a few staff or volunteers. When not in use, the built project must be disassembled or moved to the warehouse building in the Sofielunds industrial area.

Teams must include a firm or other entity that can obtain all necessary insurance and permits for the project. (The City of Malmö will waive the cost of the permits needed.) A skilled, experienced, member of the team must be a designer who is available to meet regularly on site and with project partners during the implementation process.

Van Alen Institute and White Arkitetker will help guide the winning team in moving from conceptual design to implementation. Skanska will provide a general contractor, engineer, and skilled laborers to lead the construction of the proposal.

Once built, the new space will available to all residents of Malmö, and will support programs run by government, private sector, and nonprofit partners.

October 11, 2016
Competition launch

November 7
Pre-registration deadline

November 18
Competition deadline

November 23
Jury meeting

January 2017
Annnouncement of winning team

April 2017
Winning proposal realized, opened for programming


Agneta Salhead Canneroth, Head of Planning Unit, City of Malmö Departmenr of Streets and Parks

Aså Kalée, Good Malmö

Gunilla Kronvall, Chair, Architects Sweden Skåne; Atelier 01 arkitektur

Christer Larsson, Director, City of Malmö Planning Office

Helene Rahm, Head of Skåne Department, Individuell Människohjälp

Sara McDonald, Head of New Production, MKB

Monica von Schmalensee, CEO, White Arkitekter

Ingebørg Skaare, Senior Architect, Snøhetta

Marta Stenevi, City of Malmö Deputy Mayor; Chair, City Planning Committee

David van der Leer, Executive Director, Van Alen Institute; Jury Chair

Salahuddin Barakat, Islamakademin
Ninni Benediktson, Arbetsförmedlingen Malmö – The Swedish Public Employment Services
Tarek Borg, City of Malmö, Social Resource Management
Thomas Brunk, City of Malmö, City Planning
Jerome Chou, Van Alen Institute
Elin Einarsson, City of Malmö, Streets and Parks
Carl-Gustaf Fritz, JM
Henrik Gunée, City of Malmö, Streets and Parks
Alexandra Hagan, White Arkitekter
Karin Heri, Malmö Fotbollförening
Åsa Kalée, Good Malmö
Gunilla Kronvall, Architects Sweden Skåne; Atelier 01 arkitektur
Pia Hellberg Lannerheim, City of Malmö, Trade and Industry
Annelie Larsson, City of Malmö, Social Resource Management
Christer Larsson, City of Malmö, City Planning
Elizabeth Lundgren, City of Malmö, Culture
Tommy Malmstadt, City of Malmö, Labor Markets
Per-Arne Nilsson, City of Malmö, Environment
Maria Norrby, City of Malmö, Labor Markets
Mattias Örtenvik, E.ON
Louise Palm, NCC
Sander Schuur, White Arkitekter
Andreas Siverståhl, Individuell Människohjälp
Carina Tempel, City of Malmö, Internal Services
Benny Thell, City of Malmö, Real Estate
Anders Tojkander, NCC
Charlotte Wadström, MKB
Camilla Wieslander, Skanska Öresund

About Van Alen Institute

At Van Alen Institute, we believe design can transform cities, landscapes, and regions to improve people’s lives. We collaborate with communities, scholars, policymakers, and professionals on local and global initiatives that rigorously investigate the most pressing social, cultural, and ecological challenges of tomorrow. Building on more than a century of experience, we develop cross-disciplinary research, provocative public programs, and inventive design competitions.

Twitter: @van_alen
Instagram: @van_alen
Facebook: /vanaleninstitute

About White Arkitekter

White Arkitekter was founded by Sidney White in 1951 and is Scandinavia’s leading architectural firm with over 900 employees working in 16 offices in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the UK. Our work is research focused and our expertise encompasses architecture, urban design, landscape architecture and interior design.

For nearly two decades, White has invested in establishing a unique research-based department of highly qualified experts in the field of sustainable design. Our founder’s aim was to improve society through architecture and his legacy lives on in our ambition to contribute towards the building of a sustainable world.

About the City of Malmö

Malmö, Sweden is the commercial center of southern Sweden and an international city with 300,000 residents from approximately 170 different nationalities.

Malmö is undergoing a transition from being an industrial city to a city of knowledge. Older industries have been replaced by investments in new technology, training programs, and infrastructure – including the Öresund Bridge, which connects Malmö to Copenhagen. Malmö University, which opened in 1998, is Sweden’s latest venture in the field of higher education, accommodating some 24,000 students.

Over the last years the City of Malmö has received many international awards for its focus on sustainable city development and pilot projects such as Augustenborg and the Western Harbour. Malmö was also appointed as the first Fairtrade City of Sweden.

About Architects Sweden

Architects Sweden is the professional organization for architects, interior architects, landscape architects and spatial planners in Sweden with 12 800 members, including 2,600 students.

About Individuell Människohjälp (IM)

IM is a Swedish member-based organization fighting and exposing poverty and exclusion through development cooperation, integration and Fair Trade. Founded in 1938, IM is currently working in five regions and thirteen countries worldwide.

IM’s international work focuses on people´s right to education, good health and ability to sustain a life in dignity. All projects are implemented in close collaboration with local partner organizations. IMs work in Sweden is focusing on integration and inclusion into society. The strengthening of civil society is both a means and an objective in all activities.

About Skanska

Skanska is one of the world’s leading project development and construction groups with expertise in construction, development of commercial and residential premises, and public-private partnerships projects. Based on its global experience, Skanska aims to be the clients’ first choice for Green solutions. The Group currently has 43,100 employees in selected home markets in Europe and North America. Skanska’s sales in 2015 totaled SEK 155 billion.


These resources include site maps and links to organizations, programs, publications, and other resources addressing migration, job assistance, and sustainability in Malmö and Sweden.