The aim of this thesis is to show what values affect visions expressed in architectural competitions about housing and town planning in Swedish cities between 1989 and 2003. Four questions have guided the study: the changes that take place in the competition process; the social and spatial components and relations future neighborhood are put together of; the qualities that architectural competitions take into account; and the kind of urbanity the competitions lead to if the proposals are realised.

The study is based on three complementary theoretical traditions. The first is Foucault’s historically oriented studies of power, knowledge and space. The second is the actor-network theory (ANT) with its attention on relations, translations and assemblages. The third is the so-called spatial turn with its focus on space, place and urbanity. The main empirical material consists of competition programmes, design proposals and jury statements from five competitions in five
different cities.

The analysis shows that the competitions tend to assign certain places essential values and emphasize aesthetic and visual dimensions. As a consequence of these priorities the social and political consequences are disregarded. Also research based knowledge with regard to town planning and location becomes subordinate to aesthetics and attractiveness. More utopian visions of a socially, economically and ecologically sustainable city are largely absent in the competitions studied.