City development by the church

When Lund Cathedral was built more than 900 years ago, German and Italian stonemasons were called to build a church for the archbishop of the Nordic region. Now, Lund Cathedral is preparing for a large new construction project - 1500 new apartments at Brunnshög. To generate interest, it is starting the building plans with works of art, discussions and possibly pilgrimages in Lund.


It was in 1103, when Lund's bishop was appointed archbishop across the Nordic region, that work to build a large church in Lund intensified. Architect Donatus used international expertise to ensure that the new cathedral became truly powerful - and one might say that he succeeded. Today about 700,000 visitors come to see Lund Cathedral every year.

The Cathedral’s continued life is the reason it is now entering an interesting new construction project.

"Our task is to make sure that the Cathedral’s congregation has a church to be in," says Cathedral Treasurer Mats Persson. "We are a wealth management institution and our aim is to make sure the Cathedral stands until the end of time. When Lund Cathedral needs to be renovated in the future, there must be money to do so, and that is why we want to use the land now."

The land is about 150 hectares that the Cathedral owns in the northeast of Lund. The land is currently being leased to a farmer, but the Cathedral wants to use 12 hectares next to ESS and Max IV for future housing. The area is south of Odarslövsvägen and is called Råängen. There, Lund Cathedral wants to build homes with a total area of approximately 150,000 square meters, which means approximately 1,500 homes. But it will not be just any housing - it will be built in accordance with Christian values.

"If you are strong, you should be kind," Mats Persson says. "Building on arable land means that we must build with a certain responsibility. We want to see if we can build so well that the arable land is compensated by a higher standard of building."

Lund Cathedral is preparing for its future housing construction in a slightly unusual way. By starting with artwork, it wants to start a conversation with those who are interested in the construction project.

"We want the process to begin with art and conversation, to get people talking about what we are doing and to participate in the process. Cathedral Chaplain Lena Sjöstrand talks about it as mental city planning," says Mats Persson.

Artist Nathan Coley started just before Christmas 2017 with a work of art on Krafts square, just behind the Cathedral's apse. There, visitors meet a large illuminated sculpture that says "Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens." Some of the reactions to the artwork are on film. When the Cathedral invited people to a conversation about the artwork, seventy-seven people with many different perspectives showed up, which was exactly what they wanted.

In April, Nathan Coley will continue with a work of art at Råängen in Brunnshög. In this way, a link will be created between the Cathedral and Brunnshög.

"We want the focus of the artwork to connect the Cathedral to Brunnshög, so it is understood that it is the Cathedral that is doing something at Brunnshög," Mats Persson says. There may also be a pilgrimage between the Cathedral and Brunnshög so that you can have a conversation while walking.

What does it mean that you want to build housing with Christian values?

"It will absolutely not be a ‘gated community’ but it should be obvious who owns the land and who is developing it. This does not mean that there will be a cross on every corner. One example is that we are working with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals as a basis."

Another important issue is how to shape the environment around the houses.

"We are good at making sure people meet. We want to make sure the spaces are so attractive that you want to meet and talk there. These meeting areas can be between the houses, in the inner courtyard or on the street. Such spaces are an important part of urban planning and are important for making an area interesting."

There may also be an area where there are not very many parking spaces, but instead transportation could be via self-driving cars or buses. Another idea is to create multi-generational housing and a retirement home that is integrated into the neighborhood, so that you do not have to move when you grow old. Student housing is also of interest, especially given the proximity to the research stations.

"We would like to see a differentiated form of delivery," says Mats Persson. "There may be rented housing, owned housing, and cooperative housing in the same neighborhood. The thought is that even people who do not have the financial capacity should have the opportunity to live there. We will not turn especially to those who have Christian values."

White Architects are the project leaders.

"They guide us in the right direction, both on a purely practical level in the detailed planning process, and also in values-based housing development."

The church has many builders who are interested in building with them, but nothing is settled yet. It is not clear when the building will start.

"There are some things that must be ready before we begin with the detailed plan. First, the tram must be completed, and then there is the radiation problem of ESS, which we obviously follow. But, if things go as we think they will, we will be ready for housing sometime between 2020 and 2022", concludes Mats Persson.


  • The Diocese of Lund consists of Skåne and Blekinge. The Diocese has 166 parishes as members. Lund Cathedral is the Diocese’s church and the bishop's church.
  • Lund Cathedral is a legal entity and is a property and asset management body. Lund Cathedral owns the Cathedral, the Chapel House, the Domkyrkoforum and the Bishop's House.
  • Lund Cathedral has approximately 3200 hectares of arable land, capital managed by commercial banks and urban real estate.
  • Lund Cathedral's parish is part of Lund's pastorat. The parish church is the Cathedral.
  • The housing project will be financed by Lund Cathedral's own capital. Lund Cathedral has no part in the church fee so it will not be used in the project.
  • The Cathedral has a turnover of between 25 and 30 million SEK annually.


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