Fringe or Not Fringe? Strategies for Localizing Supported Accommodation in a Post‐Deinstitutional Era

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Fringe or Not Fringe? Strategies for Localizing Supported Accommodation in a Post‐Deinstitutional Era


  • Maria Fjellfeldt Department of Health and Welfare, Dalarna University, Sweden
  • Ebba Högström Department of Spatial Planning, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden
  • Lina Berglund-Snodgrass Department of Spatial Planning, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden
  • Urban Markström Department of Social Work, Umeå University, Sweden


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Abstract:  Finding suitable locations for supported accommodations is crucial both for the wellbeing of individuals with psychiatric disabilities (PD) and to achieve the objectives of the mental health care reform in order to create opportunities for social inclusion. This article explores municipal strategies for localizing supported accommodations for people with PD. In a multiple case study, interviews with 20 municipal civil servants from social services and urban planning were conducted. Three strategies were identified and further analyzed with a public location theory approach: (1) re‐use, i.e., using existing facilities for a new purpose, (2) fill‐in, i.e., infilling new purpose‐built facilities in existing neighborhoods, and (3) insert, i.e., inserting new premises or facilities as part of a new development. The article shows that the “re‐use” strategy was employed primarily for pragmatic reasons, but also because re‐using former care facilities was found to cause less conflicts, as residents were supposedly used to neighbors with special needs. When the “fill‐in” and “insert” strategies were employed, new accommodations were more often located on the outskirts of neighborhoods. This was a way to balance potential conflicts between residents in ordinary housing and residents in supported accommodations, but also to meet alleged viewpoints of service users’ need for a quiet and secluded accommodation. Furthermore, ideas associated with social services’ view of social inclusion and urban planning’s notion of “tricky” tenants significantly influenced localization strategies. Finally, this article is also a call for more empirical research on the decision‐making processes, use of strategies (intended or not) and spatial outcomes, when localizing supported accommodation for people with PD and other groups in need of support and service.

Keywords:  municipal localization strategies; psychiatric disabilities; public facility location; social inclusion; supported accommodation

Published:   26 August 2021


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v9i3.4319


© Maria Fjellfeldt, Ebba Högström, Lina Berglund‐Snodgrass, Urban Markström. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.