This article examines the transfer of Swedish concepts of urban modernity to British cities after 1945. It shows how an affinity between design and architecture elites facilitated the transfer of key concepts that were mediated in cities. Moreover, it argues that the often contested transfer of Swedish modern architecture and design to northern English cities initially meshed with municipal ambitions to improve working-class housing and culture. Thereafter the influence of Swedish modern was continued in altered form by the preponderance of Swedish prefabrication techniques In the construction of new poured concrete and high-rise estates during the 1960s. These aspirations to improve the urban environment with Scandinavian examples of good living often magnified the difficulties of modernising the industrial conurbations of the north.