Global Interest in Nordic Sustainable City Solutions

Most of the world’s inhabitants live in cities. This poses serious sustainability challenges and the Nordic countries have long been at the forefront of creating livable, sustainable cities. This is now being recognised internationally, leading to Nordic knowledge and experience with sustainable city planning, retrofit and infrastructure is now being exported to a hungry market.

Cities consume 75% of the world’s natural resources, produce half the planet’s waste and generate 60-80% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This is in large part caused by the fact that cities house more than half of the world’s population – in 2050 that proportion is estimated to make up 70%. Because cities are part of the climate change problem, they need to be part of the solution as well.

Even though we are witnessing a global mindset shift towards sustainable solutions in most industries and areas, we are off track in terms of meeting the “two degree” goal of the Paris agreement. If we are to buck this trend, we not only need new solutions, but we need them to be implemented across the world at a faster rate than ever.

Nordic Excellence

Nordic countries and cities consistently rank in the top five of indexes measuring liveability, sustainability and innovation. This has attracted international attention and a steady stream of delegations visiting to understand how Nordic solutions may be transferable to their own contexts. But one size rarely fits all, and while a study trip may reveal glimpses of the intricate puzzle it is to achieve sustainable change on a systemic level, it does not provide a comprehensive understanding of how various components can be implemented back home.

Transferring Knowledge

Addressing this discrepancy, Quercus Group and EIT-Climate-KIC – the EU’s main initiative to address climate change through innovation – is now launching an educational programme allowing cities worldwide to learn from Nordic cities in a more immersive way.  

The aim is to help spread sustainable solutions and liveable cities to the rest of the world. Not merely by supporting the spread of solutions and ideas, but also the knowhow needed to successfully implement them. This initiative is furthermore thought to strengthen the market for sustainable and liveable city solutions overall.

Spreading the Nordic Approach

The Nordic Master Class in Sustainable Urban Development which will be targeted to cities in China, India, and the US, will consist of tailor made classes giving insights into the mechanics of how sustainable city solutions came to be, how they work, the policies needed to govern them, and how they may be translated and adapted to suit foreign contexts.

The Master Classes will be complemented by TED-style webinars involving Nordic key players within sustainable urban development. These webinars will foster the communication between, and exposure of, the participating cities and their ideas, as well as promoting the Nordic approach at large. These will be recorded and published for common use so as to maximise its impact.

Creating a Market for Nordic Solutions

Helping foreign cities become more sustainable not only benefits the cities in question. Climate change knows no borders, and thus improving the sustainability of one city carries positive externalities for all of us. Beyond that, however, the exposure that Nordic solutions get through initiatives like these contributes to building a demand and a market for Nordic solutions abroad.

 

 

 
Location
Denmark
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