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Nordic solutions cannot be bought – it is a mindset

Nikolaj Sveistrup at the Nordic pavillion in Bonn
  • Published 14/11/2017
Nikolaj Sveistrup spread the Nordic way of thinking on the Nordic Urban and Rural Development Day at the Nordic COP 23 pavilion in Bonn.

“I often hear the question how much our Nordic solutions cost, but you cannot buy our Nordic way of thinking. You have to change your mindset”, says Nikolaj Sveistrup, Head of Programme at the Danish Architechture Centre.



Sveistrup talked about the work that’s being done within the Nordic Sustainable Cities project at the COP23 UN Climate Change Summit in Bonn. He has a strong passion for spreading the Nordic way of thinking on sustainable city solutions to the world.


“Cities arounde the globe are growing faster than ever before, due to the increasing population. When 400 million people move into cities in for example India, it is not a local problem – it is a global problem. And when people try to flee from flooded rural areas in Bangladesh into the cities, it calls for a new way of thinking. Therefore we need to inspire city leaders how to make the switch, and to start the process of making their cities more sustainable and liveable,” says Sveistrup.


That is why Sveistrup and others started a new programme aimed at city leaders around the world. "We invite them to visit Nordic cities to see how we have solved different challenges here," Sveistrup explains.


“One of the great benefits of the Nordic countries are the wellfare system, which is the base for how cities and our whole society is planned and governed. We are really good at strategic urban governance, and in my mind decision makers need to understand the importance of strategic urban governance and city planning, when they develop their cities. This is where we can help and inspire.” says Sveistrup.


Sveistrup pinpoints the importance of the thorough research done in the Nordic countries in the field of urban and rural development and sustainable solutions, as well as the fruitful combination of good governance, public-private partnerships and environmental awareness.


photo of Nikolaj Sveistrup


“Most important is all the knowledge, the science, and the innovations we have made, during many years here in the Nordic countries. That is also why we are committed to communicate our solutions to the world,” says Sveistrup, who is engaged in the project to do the latter. "Here in the Nordic countries we have solutions that we can prove that works, and I believe we can inspire a lot of people when showing them what we do."


Although the Nordic countries have some good solutions to offer the world, the countries face problems and challenges of its own kind. "We will also learn from other countries, and create new solutions together. That's why the UN Development Goal 17 about transformative partnerships is so important," says Sveistrup.


The architect underlined the importance of looking at the sustainable city from different perspectives to be able to comprehend which the aspects are that makes a city smart and inclusive. The newly established Bloxhub in Copenhagen is a good example where architecture, design, construction and digitalization is connected to companies, researchers and organizations.


“With Bloxhub we want to help to create solutions for a good city life and ultimately reach the UN Development Goal 11, to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” says the Danish Architect. “Last but not least, we want to empower our visitors and the participants in our programmes. We want them to know that they can change their cities, and we want to inspire them to act according to that."



Read more about Nordic Sustainable Cities here.