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Norma Montesino

Norma Montesino

Senior lecturer | PhD | Reader in Social Work

Norma Montesino

Social integration through social connection in everyday life. Residents' experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic in SällBo collaborative housing, Sweden


  • Ivette Arroyo
  • Norma Montesino
  • Erik Johansson
  • Moohammed Wasim Yahia

Summary, in English

The aim of this article is to explore the everyday life experiences of elderly (+70 years) living with young locals and refugees in a collaborative housing project before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in Sweden. The paper discusses the importance of the spatial dimension in the conceptualization of social integration. The main method is a qualitative case study based on observations of settings, document/video analysis, online diary entries made by ten residents and eight semi-structured interviews conducted with the residents. SällBo was conceived as a new type of collaborative housing in which elderly, young locals and refugees share common spaces with the aim of enabling social integration. In this context, COVID-19 interrupted the ongoing processes of living together after four months of moving to the house. The three main themes that emerge from the empirical material are (1) changes in the use of common spaces and social interactions, (2) residents’ resilient coping responses during the pandemic and (3) insights for future design of collaborative housing based on their experience. The pandemic caused a moment of institutional vacuum, which triggered the agency of the residents whilst developing social bonds and social bridges among them. Social connection created in everyday life at SällBo’s common spaces has triggered processes of social integration. The ongoing processes of social integration have included the spatial dimension. We understand social integration as a process that involves people from different generations and ethnic backgrounds, which takes place in common spaces and everyday life as different modes of socialization.


  • Department of Architecture and Built Environment
  • Housing, Development and Management
  • School of Social Work

Publishing year





International Journal of Architectural Research





Document type

Journal article


Emerald Group Publishing Limited


  • Engineering and Technology
  • Other Social Sciences


  • Collaborative housing
  • Social connection
  • Social integration
  • Spatial dimension
  • COVID-19
  • Everyday Life




  • Modern collaborative housing in Helsingborg – Sustainable living together as a tool to address isolation and social exclusion at SällBo


  • ISSN: 2631-6862