Visions must become reality!

Over 400 persons from local authorities, government agencies, industry, academia and non-governmental organizations gathered in Gothenburg, Sweden on November 6-8 at the conference Arena Sustainable City. Networking and meetings characterized the conference which had a good mixture of speakers, thematic sessions, display of best practice examples, a cavalcade of networks and the premiere showing of the Delegation for Sustainable cities film about their nine investment projects.

350 million SEK on sustainable cities

Delegation for Sustainable Cities was appointed by the Swedish Government for the period 2008-2012. The Swedish Government has invested 350 million SEK on sustainable cities and it has been the Delegation for Sustainable cities task to via this financial support promote the sustainable development of cities, urban communities and housing areas. In total 98 projects has been given financial support. Projects and best practice examples was presented to highlight what the investment has resulted in. Projects from all over Sweden was presented and they have worked with everything from major urban transformation areas and visions to areas such as lighting, traffic, sound, children & youth, ecosystem services, bicycle pools, solar cells and biogas.

It is time to take action!

David Sim, Gehl Architects, talked about how they work with the human approach in urban transformation projects. When cities are planned, it is important to consider different perspectives and scales, the city is seen from eye level not from above, this is often forgotten. Katarina Pelin, Environmental Director at Malmö City highlighted the importance of policy objectives and cooperation; it has been a key to the success for Malmö. Janna Valik, Director General for the Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning said that citizens need to be part of building a sustainable city, not just give opinions about how it should look.

Members gave their conclusion

Most of the members in the Delegation for Sustainable Cities participated at the conference and gave their views on what has been achieved and what needs to be done as the work to develop sustainable cities continues. Peter Örn, Chair of the Delegation for Sustainable Cities advice was: set strict requirements on politicians, continue the dialogue, cooperate across borders, involve civil society and children, continue to be impatient, but combine it with patience and make sure that vision becomes a reality.

Mistra Urban Futures arranged the conference in cooperation with the Delegation for Sustainable Cities, VINNOVA and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.