Stockholm region

SDG 7: Affordable and clean energySDG 9: Industry innovation and infrastructureSDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities

A sustainable and connected Stockholm needs an up-to-date digital infrastructure and ICT services that enables not only a decent but a pleasant life for its residents. Aspects concerned with this need are, for example, innovative traffic technology and mobility services.

Urban ICT Arena was founded in 2016 by the Electrum Foundation in the well established ICT cluster of Stockholm suburb Kista. Kista is currently the largest ICT cluster in Europe. The guidelines of the Urban ICT Arena’s operations are sustainable urban development, future job creation and accelerating innovation. Urban ICT Arena uses the concept “Not Boring” as an approach and methodology.

“We need to meet and great to achieve an exponential learning curve, but instead, everyone sits in a corner inventing the wheel. This is one of the more important things our platform enables.”

A central approach is not setting too specific goals, but rather very well defined needs or pains. The we can “play around and fail in small scale” with cutting edge technology while maintaining a vision of a sustainable city. The mindset is that we cannot know exactly what the digitalised IoT-based society will look like.

Another essential feature of Urban ICT Arena is to strongly consider and involve actual people instead of organisations; the Not Boring 5G Bike was introduced by Petra Dalunde, chief operating officer. IT equipment was provided by Ericsson, two students developed its security features and professor Mark Smith of KTH helped with construction. The testbed consists of four layers – Hardware, Software, Smart Services and Business Model – with the desire to add a fifth: Enabling Citizen Layer. The last layer is intended to ensure that the value created by digital innovation effectively reaches people living in cities. According to Petra Dalunde, CEO, 15% of the process consists of innovation whereas the remaining 85% consists of organisation and mindset. The ecosystem of innovation cannot be sustained without enterprises, without the SMEs and start-ups you only have needs and finances.

Engaged partners and stakeholder groups

Electrum Foundation with Ericsson, the City of Stockholm, ABB, IBM, KTH, RISE ICT, Region Stockholm, Stockholm University.

Notable outcomes within Urban ICT Arena for social-ecological sustainability

As the Arena is still growing, there are numerous projects and prototypes being tested and several have already made a certain impact on decision-makers.

5G Bike

The 5G bike is essentially a mobile wireless modem, visualising some social and entrepreneurial potentials of the Internet of Things. Anyone can try it out as part of the testbed in Kista.


Engaged partners and stakeholder groups

Klövern, KTH, Urban ICT Arena, Ericsson, SJ.

Autopiloten is Sweden’s first autonomous vehicle to be publicly tested and is available for a short route in Kista between 7 AM and 6 PM.


Engaged partners and stakeholder groups

First stage: representatives from Stockholm University, ESRI, KTH, Urban ICT Arena, Swedish Cycling Association, cyclists, one private ICT consultant.

Second stage: City of Stockholm, Nacka Municipality, Stockholm University, ESRI, Tidma, Urban ICT Arena.


“We still don’t quite know which problems will be solved with this solution.”

The project was initiated in 2018 to explore innovative traffic technology and mobility services for alternatives to cars. The first stage resulted in the consortium approaching further stakeholders such as public governance.

GCity explicitly uses Design Science and Action Design Research, methods from the engineering sciences. Design Science is closely related to Design Thinking but differs in that it defines the problem already in the first stage, rather than after initial empathy work. Iterative testing in close contact with municipalities as well as cyclists and car drivers is considered essential for successful results.

One of the key representatives, from the Swedish Cycling Association, unexpectedly passed away during the course of the first stage. This event revealed the project’s dependence on personal chemistry and commitment, as the association has not shown the same interest since then. Person-based collaboration is indeed a double-sided coin, since knowledge about each other’s particular expertise may also be a great asset to a group, sometimes referred to as a transactive memory system.

Good practice & solutions

Starting as a shorter conceptual project with a limited budget and timespan is a good way to form a well-knit consortium and prepare take-off for more substantial operations. Entering a large project from the beginning can be intimidating for many important societal actors.

Kista Mobility Week

Engaged partners and stakeholder groups

CityMobil2, Drive Sweden, Ericsson, Kista Science City, Nobina, politicians, Swedish Transport Agency.

Kista Mobility Week demonstrated various innovations within mobility challenges such as autonomous buses from the EU project CityMobil2 (ended in 2016) in order to highlight the value of collaboration within Urban ICT Arena between ICT companies and public transport administration. The event gathered some 3 000 visitors, including high-ranking politicians such as the (then) Infrastructure Minister of Sweden and the Mayor of Stockholm.

Grow Smarter: traffic monitoring in Slakthusområdet

Engaged partners and stakeholder groups

Facility Labs, IBM, Need Insights. 

Grow Smarter used the expertise of IBM for its solutions regarding heavily trafficked areas in its testbed of Slakthusområdet (see separate section on Grow Smarter). IBM developed monitoring solutions together with Need Insights and Facility Labs in order to provide data for increasing efficient pedestrian traffic to reduce car use in the area.

Urban mobility and logistics done differently

Engaged partners and stakeholder groups

Ericsson Research, KTH students, UID students.

Ericsson, together with groups of design and engineer students, developed a safe, sustainable and human-centred logistics solution. The concept is based on individuals taking it upon themselves to deliver a package sealed within a light, locked box providing live data, thus never getting lost. Boxes are placed at pick-up points and each distributor can drop them off somewhere along the way. Deliveries are secured by contracts between agent and receiver, ultimately eliminating the need of a logistics actor.

Global Goals Lab

Engaged partners and stakeholder groups

Quantified Planet.

The Global Goals Lab is an initiative from open data association Quantified Planet with the aim of showcasing examples of sustainable projects and testbeds from all around the world.

Further reading


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Project: Stockholm Co-creation