Map of Savga-Bergsbrunna

Bergsbrunna, Nåntuna, Vilan and Sävja make up the south east districts of Uppsala municipality which is situated about 6 km from the city centre. The district is divided into two municipal administrative areas; Sävja-Bergsbrunna and Nåntuna-Vilan. The focus of this project is Sävja and Bergsbrunna.

Sävja is popularly referred to as the ‘city of the woods’ (staden i skogen), as it is located near a forest. Bergsbrunna is a much older villa style residential area that was built in the 1950s and 60s whereas Sävja is a newer residential area mainly of blocks of flats with the highest being 4-storeys. Sävja was built in 3 phases; Savja North (Savja 1) and Savja South (Savja 2 and 3). The houses were built between the 80s and early 90s (1). Sävja and Bergbrunna’s histories are not well documented as both were new expansion areas; Bergsbrunna and surrounding areas during the industrial expansions of the 1940s and 1950s and Sävja during the late 1980s and early 1990s in response to a housing shortage. Both residential areas were at the periphery of the city and did not attract much attention (2).

In 2014, a new cultural centre was opened in Sävja north after old library was burnt down in 2009 (3). The centre has is at the heart of the residential district serving as a community centre, youth after-school club, library, Swedish church and municipal offices. It aims to be a place for education, culture, information sharing, learning and meetings between different generations and cultures (4). There is no commercial centre to speak of in Sävja, with the area served by one shop which is located near Bergsbrunna, two pizzerias (one in Sävja and the other in Bergsbrunna), a small supermarket and a kiosk which sell sweets, milk, tobacco (1). For a small residential area, Sävja has a large number of nursing homes and nursery schools; five of each. There are two primary schools and two primary healthcare centres which also offer child and maternity services. One health centre is located in the same building as the dentist, pharmacy, day care for the elderly and a half-way home for children who have been removed from their parents’ care. Private provision dominates the health and elderly care sectors as well as the child care sectors; all but one child care centre and one elderly home are operated by private companies (8).

Sävja is a typical dormitory residential area with few public meeting places beyond the cultural centre. The streets are usually empty during the day, with more activity in the evening as people return from work. The population of Sävja-Bergsbrunna was 6,696 in 2014, about 30% of whom were under the age of 20. Most of the population is between the ages of 45 and 64, followed by the age group of 25-44 years. In 2014 there were about 3,000 households of which 1,257 included children. Sävja is a multi-cultural residential area with foreign-born persons making up 33% of the population, which is higher than Uppsala’s 17%, (5). By contrast, Bergsbrunna is almost exclusively inhabited by people who are not of foreign background (that is, the ethnic majority). There is little information on the different ethnic groups living in Sävja, since these data are not gathered in Sweden. There is however, a nursery school and a nursing home that cater for native Finish speakers. Recently, racist notices have been appearing in public places, accusing the Roma people of lying, stealing or trying to spread diseases (6,7). Despite a perception that there is a large population of Roma in Sävja, so far, there is no data to substantiate the claim. It is also unclear if the perception is due to the new Roma from Romania and other European countries or longer standing Finnish or Swedish Roma.

Housing in Sävja-Bergsbrunna consists of 27% rental apartments, 45% owner occupied apartments (bostadsrätt), which is similar to Uppsala as a whole. Home ownership in Sävja-Bergsbrunna (28%) is similar to Uppsala as a whole (30%). However, these statistics are influenced by Bergsbrunna’s relative wealth which not only raises the proportion of property owners but also the average income for the whole area (5). The average income for Sävja-Bergsbrunna in 2014 was 272,000 Swedish Crowns, which is similar to the average income for Uppsala of 270,000 Swedish Crowns.

Sävja has pockets of deprivation for which it is hard to find data since all the reported data includes Bergsbrunna, the more affluent residential area. Sixty-seven per-cent of people aged 16 to 64 years were economically active in Sävja-Bergsbrunna in 2014 which is similar to the figure for Uppsala as a whole (70%). Education levels are slightly lower than the average for the Uppsala municipality, with higher educational level in Sävja (3 years or more in the age group 20-64 years) at about 28%, lower than the 35% in Uppsala. However, the percentage of people between the ages of 20 and 64 years with a higher education (less than 3 years and 3 years or more combined) is almost the same as in Uppsala at 55% (5).
Sick- leave is one of the most reliable indicators for ill health in Sweden. Sävja-Bergsbrunna has a higher average rate of sick-leave compared to Uppsala as a whole, at 28 days per person per year compared with 20 in 2014.  The figure was higher among women (33 days per person per year ) compared to men (22) (5).
This area has a higher income per household, lower unemployment and higher number of owner-occupied apartments and houses when compared with Gottsunda. However, the media discourse on Sävja is still negative and, just like Gottsunda, conversations in social media discourage new comers from seeking housing in the area. Even though there are good prospects for the district, segregation between people with foreign backgrounds and long-standing Swedes is evident (9). The cultural centre was built to enhance integration and provide a meeting ground. However, Sävja is still considered a problem area by the media (10).


1.  Området » Mötesplats Sävja [Internet]. [cited 2015 May 3]. Available from: http://www.motesplatssavja.se/omradet/.

2.  Molina I. Stadens rasifiering [Elektronisk resurs] : Etnisk boendesegregation i folkhemmet : [ethnic residential segregation in the Swedish Folkhem] [Internet]. Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis; 1997 [cited 2015 Jul 15]. Available from: http://uu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:161611/FULLTEXT01.pdf

3.  Bibliotek öppnar på nytt [Internet]. [cited 2015 May 21]. Available from: http://www.unt.se/uppland/uppsala/bibliotek-oppnar-pa-nytt-2616292.aspx.

4.  Sävjas kulturcentrum. Om oss [Internet]. [cited 2015 May 3]. Available from: http://savjakulturcentrum.uppsala.se/om-oss/.

5.  Befolkningsstatistik [Internet]. Uppsala kommun. [cited 2015 Apr 29]. Available from: https://www.uppsala.se/Boende-och-trafik/kartor-och-statistik/befolkningsstatistik/.

6.  Rasistiska skyltar vid lekplats [Internet]. [cited 2015 Jul 14]. Available from: http://www.unt.se/uppland/uppsala/rasistiska-skyltar-vid-lekplats-3804629.aspx.

7.  Tiggarvarningen i småstaden blev viral – men är full av lögner – Metro [Internet]. [cited 2015 Jul 14]. Available from: http://www.metro.se/nyheter/tiggarvarningen-i-smastaden-blev-viral-men-ar-full-av-logner/EVHndi!imOATcjMPIyg/.

8.  Vårt vårdutbud [Internet]. [cited 2015 May 3]. Available from: http://www.capiovardcentral.se/Uppsala/savja/Vardcentral/Vart-vardutbud/.

9.  Negativ spiral i Sävja måste vändas [Internet]. Fria.Nu. [cited 2015 May 3]. Available from: http://www.uppsalafria.se/artikel/96966.

10.  Vigström A. "55 no go -zoner" : Medias påverkan på den rumsliga stigmatiseringen [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2015 May 3]. Available from: http://uu.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2%3A792284&dswid=-6979



Map of GottsundaGottsunda is situated about 7 km south east of Uppsala city centre, between Norby in the north and Sunnersta in the south east. There is evidence that people lived in Gottsunda as long ago as 2,500 years, as indicated by remnants from the Bronze and the early Iron Age (1).

Modern Gottsunda was built in the 1970s as part of the national ‘million program residential areas’ (miljonprogrammet bostäder) for the working class. A long and elaborate plan was put into action to make Gottsunda an idyllic living space, different from the other ‘concrete towns’ (betongstad) built around the same time in other parts of Sweden. However, the plan did not materialise due to reported vandalism and large turnover of residents as well as an influx of ‘undesirables’ (icke-önskvärda) to the area such as substance abusers (2). In 1982, a policy decision was made by the Uppsala municipality to prioritise people with socio-economic problems when allocating housing. This policy was adopted in collaboration with the social housing body ‘Uppsala Hem’, which is publically owned. This policy subsequently led to White Swedish families moving out of the area, leaving many houses empty. Since then, the area has accommodated new immigrants as well as people with social and economic problems (2).

Gottsunda has a relatively large commercial centre which was established in two phases; the commercial section in 1974 and the cultural and leisure facilities in 1975. There is a mix of single-family homes and apartment buildings with all forms of tenure. Currently, Gottsunda is experiencing a new growth in the building sector.  Renovation of the housing stock is ongoing as well as comprehensive renovation and expansion of the shopping centre facility which currently includes shops, cafes, a public library, a gym, an art exhibition space, a theatre, a library, pharmacies, hairdressers and other services.
About 66% of the houses in Gottsunda are rented flats and only 10% are owner-occupied (bostadsrätt) compared to 30% home ownership in Uppsala as a whole. Similarly, only 24% of the houses are bostadsrätt compared to 44% in Uppsala (3). The district has good access to public transportation. There are many daycare centers both public and privately owned, two primary and middle schools as well as one secondary school (4). 

The population in Gottsunda in 2014 was 10,085 with 53% of having a foreign background (which means they are either foreign born or have parents who were foreigner born) which is more than double the proportion in Uppsala.  There are 128 different countries of origin and 99 different nationalities represented in the district (1). Data on the specific languages spoken are not readily available, however there is an indication (from different project reports) that the major languages are; Finnish, Arabic, Somali, Turkish, Persian, Polish and Serbo-Croatian.

Gottsunda is one of the most deprived districts in Uppsala. In 2014, approximately 56% of the working age population (16-64 years old), were involved in some kind of income generating activity compared to 70% in the rest of Uppsala. The unemployment rate in 2014 was 42%, higher than Uppsala’s 29%. The median household income in 2014 was 213,000 Swedish Crowns which is lower than that of the rest of Uppsala which was 270,000 Crowns for the same year. Furthermore, the number of households receiving social support is four times higher in Gottsunda than in Uppsala. Additionally youth unemployment and gender differences in employment rate are wider in Gottsunda compared to that of Uppsala (5). The educational level is lower in Gottsunda, especially in the higher educational level (3 years or more) which was 24% in Gottsunda compared to 35% in Uppsala. There were more people with only a primary education in Gottsunda (19%) than in the rest of Uppsala (9%) (1). A positive development in the education sector is that two of the top performing  schools in the municipality are located in Gottsunda (1).

Gottsunda is regarded as an area with high criminal rate. Between 2009 and 2012, there were more reported crimes per 1,000 residents in Gottsunda (1) than in Uppsala, with narcotic related crimes topping the list (1). However, the number of reported crimes in Gottsunda is not significantly higher than the national level as it ranks at number 27 out of the 38 areas examined, according to the Swedish Central Statistical Bureau (6).

There are different health services available in Gottsunda including primary care for adults and children, midwifery care, dental care, psychiatric care, nutrition services, counselling, physiotherapy, a medical lab, youth clinic and occupational therapy as well as two pharmacies. These are all located inside or close to Gottsunda Shopping Centre (centrum). However, Gottsunda has a higher rate of sick leave days taken per year (34 in 2014), compared to the rest of Uppsala (20 days per year). The sick leave rate is defined as the number of paid days which are compensated with sickness benefit, employment injury benefit, rehabilitation benefit or sickness registration from social insurance related to the number of registered insured population aged 16-64 years (4,7). Women’s sickness rate in 2014 was higher than men’s in Gottsunda, 37 compared with 22 days (5). There are no data on the disease burden for the area, however the annual national public health report indicates that persons with low socio-economic status have a higher risk for non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases (8).

Gottsunda has acquired a negative reputation as an area that suffers crime and social unrest. In an effort to counter this, large investments in both the public and private sectors have been made.  In 2013, Uppsala Municipality compiled a report entitled ‘structural overview for Gottsunda and Valsätra’. This report is unique in Sweden as it contains information about the cultural projects and initiatives around the physical environment while highlighting social aspects, statistics and history (1). The aim of this report was to give the residents and actors in the area an insight into what happening in the neighborhood and thereby increasing their participation in the decision making processes (1).


1.  Strukturöversikt ska gagna utsatta stadsdelar - Uppsalanyheter [Internet]. [cited 2015 Jul 14]. Available from: http://www.uppsalanyheter.se/nyheter/kommun/item/2496-strukturoversikt-ska-gagna-utsatta-stadsdelar.

2.  Molina I. Stadens rasifiering [Elektronisk resurs] : Etnisk boendesegregation i folkhemmet : [ethnic residential segregation in the Swedish Folkhem] [Internet]. Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis; 1997 [cited 2015 Jul 15]. Available from: http://uu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:161611/FULLTEXT01.pdf

3.  Uppsala Kommun. befolkningsstatistik-uppsala-kommun-omradesfakta [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2015 May 3]. Available from: https://www.uppsala.se/contentassets/f09f9e6b994f41408c66064a2da8470b/befolkningsstatistik-uppsala-kommun-omradesfakta.pdf.

4.  Uppsala Kommun. Strukturöversikt en beskrivning av Gottsunda och Valsätra [Internet]. Uppsala Kommun; [cited 2015 May 1]. Available from: http://motesplatsgottsunda.se/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/strukturoversikt_valsatra_gottsunda_uppslag_2013.pdf.

5.  Befolkningsstatistik [Internet]. Uppsala kommun. [cited 2015 Apr 29]. Available from: https://www.uppsala.se/Boende-och-trafik/kartor-och-statistik/befolkningsstatistik/.

6.  Statistiska centralbyrån. Fler brott i områden med stor genomströmning [Internet]. 2011 [cited 2015 May 3]. Available from: http://scb.se/statistik/_publikationer/LE0001_2011K03_TI_08_A05TI1103.pdf.

7.  Ohälsotal — Folkhälsomyndigheten [Internet]. [cited 2015 May 20]. Available from: http://www.folkhalsomyndigheten.se/amnesomraden/statistik-och-undersokningar/folkhalsoatlas/lab-miljo-och-rapportblad/ohalsotal/.

8.  Socialstyrelsen. Folkhälsan i Sverige – Årsrapport 2013 [Internet]. [cited 2015 Jul 13]. Available from: about:reader?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.socialstyrelsen.se%2Fpublikationer2013%2F2013-3-26