Svågertorp (Södra Malmö)

If the rush of discovery is what you’re all about—or if you just dig people-watching among the local weirdos—then Svågertorp is your Malmö Mecca.

Strictly speaking, Svågertorp refers to a former retail park southwest of Hyllie, just inside the E20 highway that formed the de facto boundary of the city of Malmö. Thanks to the name being shared by a train station on the city’s district line, “Svågertorp” now tends to also refer also to the new medium-density suburbs of Vintrie to the east, and to the very successfully rewilded quarrylands to the west, just beyond the mansion-museum of Katrinetorp. The latter are well worth a walk-around; the former, not so much.

We say “former retail park”, but in truth, there’s still retail here: Malmö’s local branch of IKEA isn’t going anywhere in a hurry, much to the disgust of residents of the protest camp that established itself on the facing verge of Hövdingevägen in the late 2020s. A couple of the other buildings on the park—classically ugly examples of early-C21st “big box” commercial architecture, closely related to those that can be found along the highway near Helsingborg—still serve as combination warehouse/showrooms for various big manufacturers and retailers: places to try out a big purchase, like a sofa or a bicycle, before committing to paying for it to be delivered. A few more serve as flexible short-term space-to-rent for various sorts of enterprise; at time of writing, “horizontal farming”—like “vertical farming”, but in a warehouse rather than a tower-block—seems popular, but whether the produce can compete with that from Malmö’s still-expanding permaculture scene remains to be seen.

The other boxes of Svågertorp, however, contain surprises. Bankruptcies let the city buy these up for pennies, and then let them out to artists, creators, and other subcultural types: there are community theatres, rehearsal studios and music venues, writing cooperatives, ateliers for painters and muralists… even an entire warehouse given over entirely to installation artists, which is said to rival the relentless WTF weirdness of Meow Wolf in its heyday!

The rapid churn of things in Malmö’s arts and culture scene means there’s little point us pointing out specific sites or groups, however: what’s huge one week may have disappeared entirely by the next. But if the rush of discovery is what you’re all about—or if you just dig people-watching among the local weirdos—then this is your Malmö Mecca.

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