The geography of daily urban spatial mobility during Covid: the example of Stockholm in 2020 and 2021

Ian Shuttleworth*, Marina Toger, Umut Turk, John Osth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter uses mobile phone data to assess daily spatial mobility in the Stockholm urban area during the Covid pandemic in 2020 and 2021 using a benchmark of equivalent pre-Covid comparator dates in 2019 and early 2020 to measure the difference. Stockholm is of interest because Sweden did not adopt the same legalistic restrictions as many other European states, relying more on persuasion, nudges, and individual choice, and so there are questions about whether and how far its urban population changed its behaviour. The chapter asks whether there was a reduction in spatial mobility, whether it was long lasting, if it reduced spatial interaction and, if so, where. The answers it gives are that there was indeed a marked fall in daily spatial mobility, that it lasted throughout the period from March 2020 to Easter 2021 covered by the phone data, and that spatial interaction between places in the city fell, particularly in the city centre where they were formerly the greatest. It also finds that people were more mobile during the Easter Holidays than on normal weekdays and that the mean fall in spatial mobility was caused not by all phones staying closer to home but by an increased proportion falling into the group of non- or short-distance movers whilst a smaller group maintained their pre-pandemic mobility. It concludes that the Swedish policy approach reduced spatial mobility in Stockholm.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPandemic and the city
EditorsMehmet Güney Celbiş, Karima Kourtit, Peter Nijkamp
PublisherSpringer Cham
ISBN (Electronic)9783031219832
ISBN (Print)9783031219825, 9783031219856
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2023

Publication series

NameFootprints of Regional Science
ISSN (Print)2662-9623
ISSN (Electronic)2662-9631


  • mobile phones
  • mobility
  • Covid 19
  • urban form

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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