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Students solve true future cities challenges at ÅF

In the end of March, 30 students gather at ÅF’s Headquarters in Solna. In 24 hours they will solve true future cities challenges connected to cities in the Nordic countries and provide the cities with new perspectives and ideas.

On March 28 until March 29 it is time for 24h Makers Camp – the event where 30 students in 24 hours will solve true future cities challenges connected to cities in Norway and Sweden. Hannah Wadman, Urban planner at ÅF and former director at Nordic City Network, thinks that the fact that the challenges are connected to different Nordic cities makes the cases very interesting.

-      The Nordic cities have a lot in common but their conditions also varies in many ways. For example, Sweden is significantly more urbanized than Norway. Norway, on the other hand, have an active policy for a more vibrant countryside and invests more in public transportation and service outside the cities. The countries also differs on a national level when it comes to planning. In Sweden, the municipalities have the planning monopoly and decides when, where and how to build. In Norway, however, the private sector is the driving force, says Hannah.

The participating cities are Norrköping, Linköping, Borlänge, Oslo and Bodø.

-      It is different cities with different conditions. This means that the cities stands before different challenges and it makes them very interesting as cases. Oslo is a capital with national functions. Linköping and Norrköping are sister cities in the same region, but their history and character differs a lot. Borlänge is characterized by its industries, and the railway has since long played a significant role. Bodø, on the other hand, is a coastal town located far north compared to the other cities, says Hannah.

The participating students are currently studying engineering, IT and design, and Hannah believes that they will contribute with academic knowledge and the latest research in the areas they are studying. She thinks that the students input will be very valuable for the cities.

-      To have a third party thinking about a challenge or a plan is an advantage and the students are used to get acquainted with new contexts and taking on new challenges. I hope that they will provide new perspectives and creative ideas to inspire the cities, says Hannah.

Helena Paulsson, Head of Urban Development at ÅF, is responsible for ÅF’s concept Future cities and agrees on that the students have an important role in the development of future cities.

-       The students engagement in the cities challenges is very important. They are the ones that that will follow on and build the future.