– An attractive city is a sustainable one

Norwegian city planner Geir Egilsson thinks that developing an attractive city makes a sustainable one – and that it is good for business. He welcomes new innovative solutions and Nordic Built Cities.
Published 01/10/2014 | Last updated 01/10/2014

– There is definitely a need for innovation to develop sustainable solutions in urban spaces, says urban planner Geir Egilsson.


He points to the fact that sustainable design requires awareness from the client and competence from the people who deliver the solutions. He also thinks that if the classic picture of the urban space is challenged, we can be in for some attractive solutions. For him, attractiveness is naturally intertwined with sustainability.


– I strongly believe there is a connection between attractive urban spaces and sustainability, says the Asplan Viak employee.


In his mind, parks, green backyards and green structures that leads you through the city, which is one of his favourite talking points, allows you to build denser. This complies with all three components of sustainability in the Nordic Built Charter principles – social, environmental and economic.


Reducing the need for cars

For Egilsson, the urban spaces within the city are important because this is where people live and meet. If you develop attractive spaces in the city, people will thrive.


– I think you can say that an urban space is successful if you can come as a stranger and still feel you belong there.


They also represent a solution to what he deems the biggest challenge in all Nordic cities: cars.


– People have a high expectation of always moving around. I think you will lower this expectation if you develop attractive urban spaces, because then you can do things where you are. I think you need to develop good societies outside the city centre, he says.


Sustainability is business

What is more, sustainable city development also pays off, according to Egilsson. Sustainable city development is business, he says, and offers the following evidence:


– In small places, people are dragged towards the urban qualities – where cafés often are the most important meeting places. In bigger cities, areas nearby services that has access to public transportation which makes it possible to live without a car, is among the most popular and expensive places to live, either you are in Oslo or Stockholm. Sustainability is business, concludes the enthusiastic city planner. 


Geir Egilsson