Photographer: Lo Birgersson

Literature is a key to social sustainability

Literature is a key to social sustainability and it is a priority for UNESCO's Creative Cities Network. Gothenburg wants to be a part of the network as a city of literature in order to gain access to international knowledge, which in turn will accelerate local and sustainable urban development.

Most people feel that Gothenburg is a great city to grow up and live in, but at the same time there are big differences in living conditions between residents of Gothenburg and between different parts of the city. At the City of Gothenburg's first equality conference in 2014, we received advice from public health expert Sir Michael Marmot: “Do you want to do more to reduce inequalities in the city? Read to your children”.

There is extensive research which shows that one of the most important factors for a child’s opportunities in life is their ability to read. The ability to read does not only affect the child’s performance in school and in academia, but it also affects their well-being, social skills and success later in life.

The City Where We Read to Our Children

Gothenburg has been working hard since 2015 to develop itself as a more socially sustainable city with the initiatives The City Where We Read to Our Children and Läsoteket. With the commitment to reading aloud, we are breaking down a complex societal challenge into something that all residents can contribute to.

We in Gothenburg feel that it is obvious that the entire literary infrastructure is crucial for making literature that stimulates the love of reading available for all ages. That is why Gothenburg is committed to becoming a world-class city of literature; for the sake of readers, the cultural life, and for the creative industry.