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Infrastructures of Care: Architecture, Livable Lives and Just Environments

Research group This group brings together researchers and teachers with an interest in social, cultural, political, and experiential dimensions of architecture and urbanism related to care. The notion of care is understood as ethics - as caring for places, things, people and other species, and as spaces – especially spaces for welfare and health care. The infrastructure of care approach direct our focus to spatial translations of visions, norms and policies, architectural agency and subjective experiences .

The infrastructures of care perspective invite us to consider who cares for whom, where and in what way, and how these matters reflect and influence power relations and society’s view of vulnerable groups: how lives are lived and to which degree living environments are just and inclusive. Such a position requires an understanding of governance and social arrangements operating at all scales – from policy changes and ideological beliefs at the national scale, to distribution and availability at the regional scale, to the specific institutional, public or domestic space (and how they are entangled) where care is carried out in direct relation to people and places. 

The notion of infrastructure of care and its spatial arrangments and experiences are understood in relational terms. Space and place as seen as co-constructed, temporal and processual. The contingency and flux of spatial variations affects local places in the city in a myriad of ways: sometimes through the otherness of its spatial arrangements within mainstream settings (e.g., institutional areas) and sometimes through their randomness (as in the case of social policy decisions taken at central level, such as closing community centres, schools or user clubs), affecting the ability of social infrastructure to (take) care for its neighbourhood.  

The approach of the group is guided by these overarching questions:  
– Who cares for whom, where, in what way and afforded by what arrangements?  
– How to care for society’s more vulnerable and troublesome groups?  
– How do we want to live together?  

With infrastructures of care as frame of reference, we theorise, problematise and speculate how visions, norms, and policies are spatially translated in relation to urgent societal issues, e.g., inequalities, ageing population, welfare provision, segregation, mental (ill)health, and wellbeing. Of equal interest are the caring/controlling aspects of the spatial organisation and design, i.e., the architectural agency, and the subjective experiences of the users. A particular interest lies in caring/controlling dimension of institutional spaces, in broad as well as specific sense.  

Head of research


Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Umeå School of Architecture

Research area


Research projects

Affiliated Research Projects

Below are completed and current research projects affiliated to the Infrastructures of Care: Architecture, Livable Lives and Just Environments Research Group.

Completed research projects

Latest update: 2024-03-21