Small and medium-sized cities – join this Nordic collaborative project!

Norway holds the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2017 and one of the chairmanship projects is Attractive cities. Green restructuring and competitiveness in the Nordic city regions. Cities as a framework for good life for all. The project is looking for small and medium-sized cities and their surrounding areas that already have projects or are interested in developing their attractiveness by ensuring a good and inclusive urban environments that are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.

Cities as a framework for good life for all, is one of several initiatives to promote Nordic competitiveness, green restructuring, transition to a low-emission, integration and good conditions for public health. This project disposes of 9 million DKK in the period 2017-2019 and during this period prepare a joint Nordic strategy for cities and their surrounding areas can develop their attractiveness by ensuring a good and inclusive urban environments that are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. Key elements are climate- and environmentally friendly solutions, social balance and equal opportunities for all, good welfare and cultural activities, facilitating public health, vibrant center, historic environments and cultural heritage, good blue-green structures urban spaces and architecture, coordinated land use and transport solutions and attractive jobs.

In the preparation of such joint Nordic strategy, the idea is to involve in particular small and medium-sized Nordic cities. The cooperation will take the form of small workgroups where Nordic cities together define the challenges and contribute to the development of good working methods and solutions across sectors and administrative to achieve quality and sustainability in cities. The composition of the groups and the choice of themes will be determined in collaboration with the cities when it is decided which cities participating in the project.

The work will contribute to the development of knowledge and measuring cities’ quality and sustainability.The network will serve as a common Nordic arena for policy makers and academic community to collect, share and develop knowledge of attractive urban regions.Ideally there would be a cooperation with two cities from each of the Nordic countries. All the towns will be able to make use of project funds for mapping and development purposes. But participating cities must also contribute by other means and resources.We are looking for small and medium-sized cities and urban regions in all the Nordic countries.

Integration, crime, environmental and health conditions and social differences can be challenges in our Nordic cities. Many downtown areas in small and medium-sized Nordic cities are struggling with empty premises, abandoned shops, weary facades, lack of meeting spaces and a lack of city life. It weakens the cities’ attractiveness and can contribute to the experience of insecurity.We are looking for small and medium-sized cities and towns that have worked especially with the development of an attractive and inclusive urban environments that are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. We want cooperation with cities and towns that can demonstrate an intersectoral and interdisciplinary work, often even across administrative boundaries. The importance of interaction between the city and surrounding areas for economic development, and experience to involve citizens and other stakeholders in new ways is particularly relevant. Small and medium-sized cities are defined in this context as any other than the four largest cities in each country. This does not apply to Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland.

The cities may collaborate with other cities or municipalities within or outside the same region on a joint application. We expect a short but well-reasoned application of up to 4 pages.The application should include a brief statement of the challenges that are most important in each city region. We want to get a perspective on what cities and urban region are good at, what is desirable to work with and local experiences that can contribute positively in Nordic cooperation.It is also interesting to get information about what has already been done in regarding various types of surveys (city life surveys, public profiles, green areas, transport measures, cultural sites and more) and the networks on which towns and urban areas are already participating in. Previous work with indicators of achievement can also be useful information.The selection of cities to the network is based on an overall assessment of the issues and the preparations for the respective cities. We wish that the Committee shall reflect the diversity of challenges and initiatives in Nordic small and medium-sized cities.

Deadline is Monday 29. May 2017.

Find more information in the invitation or contact:

Guro Voss Gabrielsen, Kommunal- og moderniseringsdepartementet

Email and phone: / +47 90034131

The project is led by the Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Climate and Environment Ministry.