Framtidsstaden (2017)

Widar Andersson, Folkbladet:

“A harrowing and heavy, yet discerningly balanced tale about Malmö’s development over the most recent decades…

‘Framtidsstaden’ is one of the most important books I have read in a very long time, not least because Lars Åberg has succeeded in describing the consequences of political unwillingness to see things as they are. The book is very illuminating and also a bit frightening in its portrayal of Malmö’s everyday life. Many who are active in (local) politics will recognize familiar conditions. The denial, the blaming of the civil servants, the adjustment to suitable politically correct ‘truths’ about ‘structural discrimination’ and the sliding acceptance of worsening school results, clan-based oppression and criminal structures.”

Patrik Kronqvist, Expressen:

“”Lars Åberg’s new book about Malmö is hair-raising. Politicians must give serious consideration to his fateful question…

The gloomiest aspect of the book is that so many graphs point in the wrong direction, despite decades of great united efforts. Åberg runs through one project after another launched to change the course of development in troubled areas such as Rosengård and Seved. The outcome is meagre…

One of Lars Åberg’s theses is that these failures over time have made the officials and politicians prone to care more about the ‘image’ of the city. Not even the popularly elected seem to believe that reality can be changed through purposeful action…

Åberg’s question in the book’s subtitle is worth thorough consideration.Today, some of Malmö’s problems are alleviated with contributions from the rest of Sweden. When the city is plagued by a wave of murders that has drained the surrounding region of experienced criminal investigators, help is provided by other police districts. And every year the city receives five billion kronor in redistributive subsidies, one fourth of the municipal budget.      If the rest of Sweden becomes like Malmö, who will pay then?”

Stefan Eklund, Göteborgs-Posten:

“Knowledgeable and driven, Lars Åberg interviews numerous citizens, city officials and politicians, supported by a vast supply of facts.”

Magnus Utvik, “Good Morning, Sweden”, Swedish Television:

“He is saying that integration in Malmö has failed, not because of structural discrimination in society but rather because of a structural benevolence where the same kind of integration projects have been running for twenty years and the problems have only grown bigger. This will be discussed a lot. I think he writes well and his argumentation holds up.”

Fredrik Ekelund, Sydsvenskan:

“In his meritorious book on Malmö, ‘Framtidsstaden’, Lars Åberg points to a number of factors that also add to the problems: antiquated clan beliefs, reactionary honour culture, patriarchal values, the out-of-date housing legislation, lax weapons laws, and migration policies that have forced an old working class town to its knees…

If we are to overcome the violence and injustices in our beloved home town, we will need analyses of all causes to the problems, not just some. With his courageous book, Åberg is inviting such a conversation.”

Lotte Folke Kaarsholm, DR2, Danish Television:

“It is pretty dark, but also exciting because he treats immigration and globalization by remaining in one spot observing how the larger systemic movements transform it.”

Carin Flemström, Socialpolitik:

“This book is as black as night, no hope anywhere to be found… But between the lines it is an affectionate book, a book filled with love for his home town and also for the people who cannot live the lives they should have had. Actually, this love also reaches out to social workers and teachers who just give up and won’t tell about the things they experience or demand better work conditions.”

Csaba Bene Perlenberg, Kvällsposten:

“Journalist Lars Åberg is an experienced and acknowledged Malmö depicter… He has a faculty for bringing to life systemic deficiencies in an almost choking way.”

Per Wirtén, Expressen:

“He describes a growing rift between reality’s cries of distress and the politicians’ conception of their own task. Using lots of examples, he draws this apt conclusion:

‘What we are expected to discuss is how the image of reality may be improved, not how the actual conditions can be changed.'”

Olle Svenning, Aftonbladet:

“He reasons justly about identity politics, riots in the poor neighbourhoods and restless, unreflecting integration projects. He contrasts the well-to-do, self-righteous modern Malmö with the poor, marginalized parts of town.”

Heidi Avellan, Sydsvenskan:

” ”Journalist Lars Åberg knows his Malmö. Thus his new book, ‘City of the Future’, is vital reading for anyone who wants to understand Sweden’s third largest city.”

Anosh Ghasri, Nya Wermlands-Tidningen:

“‘Framtidsstaden’ makes for grim reading. But for those looking for titillating details and macabre happenings — as when a social worker’s car is blown up because she denied benefits to a female applicant — the book is at times a treasure chest. If the book is read with sensation-seeking eyeglasses, however, its main purpose will be missed. Åberg has done his research, talked with responsible officials, spent time among those concerned, put his ear to the asphalt and felt the vibes of the city. The individual cases and events he relates are like brush strokes which paint the book’s comprehensive picture… Åberg’s Malmö has delayed until tomorrow what could have been done yesterday.”

Gunnar Wetterberg, Respons Magazine:

“He writes about the problems stemming from increased immigration and how they have become aggravated because of negligence and/or concealment on behalf of leading politicians and officials. In a number of districs the unemployment, the bad school results and criminality have become much bigger problems than society and the authorities ought to accept. Åberg’s essayistic exposition may help create opinion for the major new start that is needed. Increased border control and stricter asylum regulations are not enough – integration is crucial, both in terms of the national economy and the legitimacy of the immigration policies…

A lot of what Åberg brings up is shocking and important to deal with: the anti-Semitism (which is even more outrageous in a city that opened its doors to the Danish Jews in October 1943), the project madness (often driven by the policies of government and the EU), and the tendency to temporize with basic values in the name of multicultural ‘understanding’. It would be valuable if Åberg’s contribution could lead to a reappraisal.”

Mrutyuanjai Mishra,, Danmark:

“One of the best-selling books in Sweden in 2017 is about how the country should avoid becoming Malmö… The book is written by Swedish journalist Lars Åberg, and it is the talk of the town in Copenhagen, Malmö and Stockholm. It is a bestseller because it pinpoints things that are dysfunctional about the city.”

Johan Söderman, ETC Magazine:

“Malmö arouses strong sentiments both within and outside the city. This is also true of the reactions to Lars Åberg’s ‘Framtidsstaden’, a book which can make a contribution with important insights…

One of the merits of Åberg’s well-written book is its exposure of a structural benevolence, which seems to stem from a classic bourgeois educational ideal and which today’s left seems to have adopted, too. Within such an ideal, the wealthy in society will hand out aid, ‘gifts’, to those in need, for instance through different types of projects. Perhaps it has now become time to revive the more emancipated educational ideal that existed within the working-class movement in earlier days; an ideal aimed at strengthening people’s self-confidence while society also puts reasonable demands on the obligations of its citizens…

Those living in Malmö today should maybe ask themselves what they can do for Malnö, and not only what Malmö can do for them.”

Bo Bjelvehammar, Kulturen Magazine:

“It is refreshing to read something beyond mainstreamed doctrines and repeated rhetorical theses…

The oddest thing about all of this is that this so called progress has been allowed to continue for such a long time without vigorous interferences or measures. Endless propositions and draftings by politicians and officials have led to nothing. Problems have been redefined with words like challenges and there have not been any follow-ups or evaluations, control sadly lacking. I find this to be the most astounding with the book, the total denial, the utopian, idealized description of a dystopia.”

Ann Heberlein,

“”Lars Åberg’s book is an unvarnished, clear-eyed portrayal of my childhood city. Unlike myself, he has remained loyal to Malmö. He has lived there for sixty years, and in his role as journalist has observed the city for decades. I cannot think of anyone who is better equipped to describe its transformation from a fairly homogeneous working-class city — characterized by the Kockums shipyard, soccer and social democracy — to the divided Malmö of today.

People’s experiences of the time and the world in which we live must not be reduced or ignored. We, and our values, are affected by what we see, hear and learn in our own lives. It is not what is unfamiliar, the things we don’t know anything about, which frightens us – no, what makes us worried is the well-known, the things we know from our own everyday life, as Lars Åberg expresses it in his urgent book.”