8.00 – 10.00 Registration and coffee

The Nordic City – Opportunities and Challenges of Small and Medium-sized Cities

10.00 – 12.00 PLENARY SESSIONS

Sustainable and Attractive Cities and Regions, Opening remarks by Jan Tore Sanner, Minister of Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation, Norway

Introduction by Journalist and Moderator Erik Aasheim

Climate-friendly Development and Quality in the Urban Environment, Hanna E. Marcussen, Deputy Mayor of Oslo

New urbanism as a modern religion - will the smaller cities win?Professor Laura Kolbe, University of Helsinki

Building for Sustainability and Attractivity in small and medium.sized Nordic cities, Monica von Schmalensee, CEO of WHITE Architects

12.00 – 13.00 Lunch in Mathallen

13.00 – 15.00 PLENARY SESSIONS

The Nordic City in an International Perspective

A New Agenda for a Better Urban Future, Paulius Kulikauskas, Chief of Office for Europe and European Institutions at UN-HABITAT

Nordic Solutions to Global Challenges – Nordic Sustainable Cities, Luciane Aguiar Borges and Kjell Nilsson, Nordregio present the Nordic Prime Minister’s Initiative

Unpacking Swedish Sustainability, Anna Hult, PhD

14.30 – 15.00 Coffee break

15.00 - 17.00 Parallel sessions

Vibrant, inclusive and sustainable urban environments

This session is part of the Norwegian presidency programme and the project Attractive cities: Green restructuring and competitiveness in the Nordic city regions. Cities as a framework for good life for all. The project focuses on small and medium sized cities in the Nordic region that want to develop their attractiveness by ensuring good and inclusive urban environments that are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. Nordic co-operation and knowledge exchange is a key element.

In this session, five small and medium sized cities will share their experiences and work towards sustainable development. Located in different parts of the Nordic region the cities share some challenges and development approaches that can be useful to others. 

Arranged by: Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation

Design of future sustainable transport systems for smart and CO2 neutral cities?

This session will investigate how collective mobility solutions such as car-sharing and “mobility as a service (MASS)” can be can be promoted to become the smart solutions of the future. The ways in which these solutions do and can interact with mainstream travel behaviour trends; demographic and socio-technical shifts; and urban-transport planning mechanisms need to be studied in detail for planning functional, smart and CO2 neutral cities. The session will present cases drawing on Nordic examples and feature preliminary findings from a Nordic Energy Research Flagship project – Sustainable Horizons in Future Transport (SHIFT).

Arranged by: Nordic Energy Research and SHIFT project

Sustainable brownfield regeneration in Nordic and Baltic cities – Transforming contaminated land into urban districts and living areas

There is a high demand for redeveloping brownfield areas, such as harbours and industrial sites, to make European cities grow in a more sustainable manner. Redeveloping brownfields that are located within cities reduces the need to use green areas for new developments, creates more compact cities, and will reduce environmental risks. In this session, we explore the processes by which contaminated brownfields can be transformed into sustainable urban neighbourhoods.

Sustainable brownfield regeneration requires integrated and holistic planning and close co-operation between engi­neers, urban designers, private sector actors and other stakeholders such as citizens. Meet representatives from a number of Baltic and Nordic cities and learn how they managed these processes, including different economic, social and environmental aspects like integration of land-use planning and soil remediation for cost efficiency, temporary use and citizen involvement.

Arranged by: the Baltic Urban Lab Interreg project

Urban Communities changing Nordic Cities

Nordic City Network is a network of cities and a think tank dedicated to develop the Nordic cities as attractive, innovative and democratic urban communities. We work as a platform, where theories are developed and ideas and experiences are exchanged.

The last years Nordic City Network has been working on exploring the Nordic city model. We have looked at the most groundbreaking urban development projects in our member cities. We have studied the organization of civil society and how we, as public servants, better can meet and support these initiatives. NCN have also investigated the basis and needs of urban business and how we can support the future trade and industry through the design of the city. We are now taking this knowledge with us when we start the work on a world exhibition of the Nordic cities in 2020. In the World Exhibition, we will exhibit our cities as they are. The target audience is the residents of our member cities and the purpose of the exhibition is to create a better understanding of how our cities work.

In this session we will examine how the Nordic cities can be developed though co-creation between urban planners, the civil society, urban business and the academy.  


Arranged by: Nordic City Network

17.00 – 18.00 Sparkling wine and Networking at Dansens Hus

19.00 Conference Dinner and Nordregio 20 year’s anniversary celebration at Oslo City Hall



The Nordic City: Connecting the Urban and the Rural


Welcome by Erik Aasheim, Journalist and Moderator

Opening remarks by Dagfinn Høybråten, Secretary General at the Nordic Council of Ministers

Creating Strong Regions by Including both Urban and Rural Areas, Hallgeir Aalbu, Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation

Steinar Johansen, NIBR

10.00 – 11.00 Panel Discussion: Urban vs Rural: How big is the Divide? How do we create stronger connections? What is the debate like in the different Nordic Countries? Solutions?

Participants: Benedicte Akre, Holger Bisgaard, Ásdís Hlökk Theodórsdóttir, Sverker Lindblad, Olli Voutilainen

11.00 – 11.30 Short Coffee break

11.30 – 12.30 Roundtable Discussions Urban vs Rural, The Nordic Thematic Group for sustainable cities and urban development 2017-2020

12.30 – 13.00 Final Remarks by Guro Voss Gabrielsen, Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation, Moa Tunström, Nordregio

Short introduction to next year’s Nordic Presidency: Sweden

13.00 – 13.45 Lunch in Mathallen

13.45 – 16.00 Excursion organised by Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation to Groruddalen

14.00 – 17.00 ESPON workshop at Vulkan Arena (This session is free of charge but requires sign-up, find more information here)


Understanding Northern Peripherality

The ESPON workshop is designed to provide a better understanding of the challenges associated with outer and inner peripherality in Northern Europe. Using a sound and reliable knowledge base in an interactive way, the objective of the workshop is to provide hands-on advice to policy makers involved in the implementation of the EUSBSR and the Baltic 2030 Action Plan, monitoring of government policies, law-making and administrative reforms, design and implementation of ESIF programmes, policy papers and strategic development plans, community-led local development and cross-border cooperation.

The participants are invited to discuss ways of optimising the above policy processes through strategic approaches devised to better cope with the demographic and natural handicaps as well as through measures to mitigate the inner periphery risks. The workshop seeks to engage:

  • national, regional and local officials from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden, responsible for regional development policies;
  • stakeholders involved in the HA Spatial Planning of the EUSBSR as well as the implementation of the Baltic 2030 Action Plan;
  • members of the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference;
  • Stakeholders involved in sub-regional and local cross-border cooperation: BSSSC, UBC, B7
  • Euroregions, Local Action Groups and Fisheries Local Action Groups;
  • members of local and regional Councils, MPs;
  • officials involved in the design and implementation of ESIF programmes including European Territorial Cooperation;

 The discussion will be structured around the following two themes: Sparsley populated areas and Inner peripheries

Please get in touch with Nordregio if you have any questions or would like more information about any of the sessions.