Nordic City Challenge 2016

Nordic City Challenge 2016 brought together 20 talented students from the Nordic countries into an  intensive course around sustainable urban planning. The challenge took place on October 9th-12th in Gothenburg, Sweden, and it featured a real-life planning case about developing the Lindholmen area in the city of Gothenburg. The case was closely linked to an ambitious development project of Gothenburg city, called Älvstaden (“The River City”). See here for the detailed course description.

The outcome of Nordic City Challenge 2016

20 students attending the course worked in four teams to come up with bold, innovative solutions embracing a social-ecological approach, which is a special focus of the Nordic City Challenge. All the groups succeeded in an impressive way to propose new views with open-minded and diverse visions of a green and sustainable Lindholmen, which was presented to become a participatory, lively place to live in. The jury had a hard time in picking one of the solutions as a winner. Eventually, one proposal rose above the others with its balanced approach that succeeded in combining the expertize of all the group members.

The winning proposal: “The Stepping Stones” by:

  • Milla Kallio, University of Helsinki, Finland / Urban Geography
  • Caroline Mellberg, Aalto University, Finland / Creative Sustainability, architecture
  • Benjamin Alexander Breitenbauch, University of Copenhagen, Denmark / Landscape architecture
  • Sturla Sigurðarson, University of Iceland, Iceland / Environmental engineering
  • Linus Olausson, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden / Sustainable Power Generation

Description of the proposal by the winning team:

“The project aims to bring the Swedish archipelago into the city center and to combine it with the industrial history of Lindholmen. The idea of stepping stones is to create continuity and diversity with green stepping stones that connect the bigger green areas in Gothenburg and with residential and cultural stepping stones which bring activity and liveliness into the area. The Island stepping stone psychologically shortens the distance between the two shores while also functioning as a shelter for the cyclists and pedestrians crossing the bridge via the island. The different programming and functions of the stepping stones combines the team’s disciplinary expertise’s and addresses the issues in Lindholmen holistically. The issue of homogeneous demography is tackled by bottom-up approach that leaves space for the citizens’ own creativity and promotes the idea of alternative living environments as well as green spaces.”

Here are the other innovative solutions by the other three teams:

  • The Green Esplanade
    • Camilla Tuomela, Aalto University, Finland, Water engineering
    • Hans Olav Myskja, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Master programme in planning
    • Catalina Vaage, University of Copenhagen, Denmark ,Global Health
    • Jolene Eklund, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, Social sciences
    • Joanna Saber, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, Sustainable urban planning and design
  • Lindholmen 4 Life
    • Elli Saari, University of Helsinki, Finland, Geography
    • Laura Kakkola, Aalto University, Finland, Landscape architecture
    • Gunnhildur Eva Gunnarsdóttir, University of Iceland, Interdisciplinary Environment and Natural Resources program
    • Jakub Dvorak, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, Architecture
    • Johanna Lennartson, Uppsala University, Sweden, Urban planning
  • Kranen
    • Eero-Pekka Lehtinen, University of Helsinki, Finland, Geography
    • Josefine Vintov, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Landscape Architecture and Planning
    • Madeleine Eriksson, Uppsala University, Sweden, Urban planning
    • Alexander Boley, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, Sustainable energy engineering
    • Paula Karlsson, Aalto University, Finland, Creative sustainability Master’s program


Program for the Nordic City Challenge in Gothenburg 9.-12.10.2016

Sunday October 9th

  •  Afternoon: Registration in the reception at Hotel Scandic Europa, Nils Ericsonsgatan 21
  • 19.00-21.00 Informal networking with a glass of cava and Toast Skagen in room “Berlin” (bottom floor at the hotel)

Monday October 10th

On Monday all the case work and accompanying activities are taking place in inner-city Gothenburg. On Tuesday and Wednesday most of the case work and activities will take place in Jonsered Manor. 

  • Until 9.00 Breakfast
  • 9.00-9.15 Welcome to the Nordic City Challenge, Venue: Berlin at Scandic Europa Please take everything needed during the day with you (e.g. jacket, laptop, notes).
  • 9.15-9.45 Inspirational talk and discussion: “Inspirational systems change needed” by Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen, architect and one of the tutors of the course
  • 9.45-10.00 Walking together to Älvrummet, Kanaltorget 1
  • 10.00-11.30 Introduction to the case at Älvrummet: Jonas Bäckström and Emma Anderberg, Gothenburg city planning office
  • 11.30-13.00 Transportation (by the ferry, free of charge) to the case location and lunch at Kooperativet, Anders Carlssonsgata 2 / Götaverksgatan 10
  • 13.00-14.00 Visit to the case location
  • 14.00-14.30 Inspirational talk at Lindholmen Visual Arena: Jonas Landgren, Associate Professor, Chalmers University of Technology | University of Gothenburg
  • 15.00-20.00 Case work in own teams (coffee and snacks available)
  • 20.30 Dinner and networking at restaurant Hak, Nils Ericsonsgatan 24

Tuesday October 11th

  • Breakfast
  • 8.45 Meeting at the hotel reception (train together to Jonsered at 9.10)
  • 9.30 Inspirational talk: Social-ecological perspective with reflection to the pre-assignments: Rawaf al Rawaf, participant of Nordic Case Competition 2015, Master’s Student SERSD Stockholm Resilience Centre
  • 10.30 Case work – throughout the course in own teams (tutoring as well as coffee and fruits available throughout the day)
  • 12.30 Lunch
  • 13.00 Case work in teams
  • 15.00 Coffee break
  • Case work continues
  • 20.00 Dinner and networking at Jonsered
  • 22.00-> Train together to the hotel after dinner

Wednesday October 12th

  • Breakfast and checkout
  • 8.45 Meeting at the hotel reception (train together to Jonsered at 9.10). Please take all your belongings with you.
  • 9.30 Case work in teams in Jonsered
  • 12.00 Lunch
  • 12.45 Presentation of the case solutions to jury, discussion and feedback (20 min/group)
  • 14.45 Coffee
  • 15.00 Award ceremony
  • 15:30 Reflection of the case work. Snack available.
  • 17.00 Goodbye – The end of Nordic City Challenge 2016
    • Jury members:
      • Joaquim Tarrasó, architect, senior lecturer in urban design, Chalmers Univ. of Technology
      • Eva Tenow, planning architect, Gothenburg city planning office
      • Jonas Bäckström, Gothenburg city planning office
      • Emma Anderberg, Gothenburg city planning office


Course material 2016:

Very beneficial video material relating to the pre-assignment and the actual case: