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Produktionslyftet

Produktionslyftet (English: Production Leap, PL) was initiated in 2006 by the trade union IF Metall and the engineering industry association Teknikföretagen, starting with the presupposition that Swedish industries are in need of more efficient solutions and better coordinated procedures in order to endure and to profit from the transition to sustainable production.

Initially targeting enterprises of 50–249 employees, PL was launched as a nationwide 18-month professional coaching and educational programme. Subsequently, Chalmers University of Technology has developed a 7.5 ECTS course (“Lean Production”) especially designed for participants of the PL programme in collaboration with the other participating educational institutions. Another 7.5 course on sustainable leadership (“Lean Ledarskap”) developed at KTH Lean Centre was later added to the programme. PL moreover attempts to expand its use of digital solutions and shorter education periods in order to adapt to the needs of SMEs.

Different development groups contribute methodology and educational aspects. A package of presentations, materials, and educational stages was established to give access to a standard for each node and coach. LEAN was the main method chosen not only for the programme but internally as well, meaning that the involvement of employees is central to PL’s approach. The employees and management are ultimately supposed to work together to implement new methods and working philosophies gained from PL’s education.

PL moreover contributed to the launching of the Matlust project in Södertälje.

Related SDGs
  • 8.4 Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, with developed countries taking the lead
  • 9.5 Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending
  • 12.6 Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle
Further reading

Produktionslyftet

Nordic Bio

Nordic Bio is run by the development programme Wargön Innovation and aims to explore re-usage of textiles in healthcare to prevent waste. The textile sector produces substantial amounts of waste every year in Sweden, but only a minor percentage is recycled or re-used.

Applying research results from VTT in Finland and material production expertise from Cellcomb, Nordic Bio aims to experiment in using new materials and processes for reducing waste while contributing to the healthcare sector becoming more sustainable. Having Region Stockholm as a partner is crucial in realising this objective.

Related SDGs
  • 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities
  • 12.5 By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse
Further reading

Bio Innovation 

eGOVLAB

eGovlab is a part of the Computer and Systems Sciences at Stockholm University. eGovlab is a place forging the future of inclusive governance – not just in theory but also in practice. They apply unconventional research frameworks and methods to visualise the impact of ICT on government transformation towards inclusion, transparency, efficiency and change management.
Good Practice & Solutions

As a testbed and an open innovation platform, eGovlab focuses on developing governance processes through digital and participatory approaches. It has thus developed a six-step methodology for co-creation and open innovation with stakeholders. eGovlab is part of about 20 different Interreg and other international or EU projects within the core themes of anticipatory and adaptive governance, public service redesign, and smart & sustainable communities.

Related SDGs
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities
  • 11. A Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning
  • 17.7 Promote the development, transfer, dissemination and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries on favourable terms, including on concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed
Further reading

eGovLab

Frontrunners for Sustainable Innovation

The Frontrunners for Sustainable Innovation project is a collaboration between the science parks in the Stockholm region, including KTH and Openlab, with the goal of fostering new channels for digital, environmental, and life science SMEs to expand their operations and leverage.

Examples of such channels are market dialogues between stakeholders regarding particular issues and demands as well as innovation procurement. High importance is given to promoting digital services and products such as open data and IoT. By providing the involved science parks as testing and demo environments for relevant SMEs, the project aims to create better structures for sustainable innovation in the Stockholm region.

Related SDG targets
  • 4.7 By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development
  • 5.B Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
  • 8.2 Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities
  • 11.6 By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management
  • 12.8 By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature
Further reading

Frontrunners for sustainable innovation

HISS – Hållbart, Innovativt och Strategiskt Styrelsearbete

Having considerable experience of sustainable business development and communication, consultancy firm 2050 initiated a study of how CEOs and private companies integrate sustainable goals into their respective operations and businesses.

Recognising the various challenges of organisational approaches to sustainability, the project harnesses innovation as a means for empowering sustainability managers and organisations as a whole to accelerate sustainable procedures and goals within their respective business models.

In the long term, HISS hopes to develop models for organisational development that are feasible in both the public and private sectors.

Related SDGs
  • 5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
  • 12.2 By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
  • 12.6 Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle
Further reading

HISS

Hållbar utveckling 2022 Initiative

Hållbar Utveckling is a platform offering education and knowledge exchange about sustainable development, particularly targeting SMEs, larger companies, and public institutions. It was founded in 2012 by CEO Helena Lindemark.

One notable initiative from Hållbar Utveckling is the 2022 InitiativeTM in which they invite organisations to participate in a planned 2022 manifestation of the 50-year anniversary of the first UN conference for sustainability, held in Stockholm in 1972. The 2022 Initiative aims to promote further matchmaking between users and problem-solving actors and networking between actors working for achieving the Agenda 2030 SDGs.

Further reading

Hållbar Utveckling

Konsten att skapa stad

Nacka Municipality hosts Scandinavia’s only employed urban creator. This is part of their ambition to use art and design skills in enhancing social-ecologically sustainable values of public spaces, for example in terms of attractiveness, diversity, inclusion, energy efficiency and safety. By bringing artists into co-creation with civil servants and private actors such as construction companies, the municipality hopes to achieve a higher level of citizen participation in urban processes.

There may be several reasons and purposes behind the effort and activity in the art of creating urban spirit. In short, it can be described as follows:

  • Create an attractive and innovative city
  • Putting lights on or pay attention to a place or event
  • Developing an identity of a place, street or area
  • Offer oases in the middle of the building
  • Enabling a ”dead” building or site
  • Create quality public place where people are happy and doing well
  • Create increased speed and cost
Related SDGs
  • 8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
  • 9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
  • 11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
  • 11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
  • 16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels
  • 16.B Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development
Further reading

Nacka Municipality

Sverige Bygger Nytt

The construction business is largely homogeneous, and most of its employees are white, Sweden-born males. The sector has a vast demand for a new workforce in the near future, and if this need is to be met recruitment must reach other societal groups than the current one.

Currently, hitherto marginalised groups such as new arrivals and women have felt reluctant to pursuing a construction career for various reasons. The main objective of Sverige Bygger Nytt is to enable employment of people of diverse social backgrounds within the Swedish construction industry. The Swedish Employment Agency was considered the most suitable owner of the project after an early workshop using the Logical Framework Approach, a toolkit used by the UN and the Swedish Development Agency to deconstruct a problem and build a solution. During the course of the programme, more accessible entry into the construction industry has gradually been realised for participating individuals.

Related SDGs
  • 8.5 By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value
  • 9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
  • 11.1 By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums
  • 11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
  • 11.A Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning
  • 16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels
  • 16.7.1 Proportions of positions (by sex, age, persons with disabilities and population groups) in public institutions (national and local legislatures, public service, and judiciary) compared to national distributions
  • 16.7.2 Proportion of population who believe decision-making is inclusive and responsive, by sex, age, disability and population group
  • 16.10 Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements
Further readings

Sverige Bygger Nytt 

Nature Bizz

The term “green enterprise” has particular connotations in Sweden, denoting a business in which natural resources are the primary focus of operations, such as honey, cultivation, food stuffs, and forestry.

The Interreg project Nature Bizz – Business and Wellness from Green Economy Growth aims to support growth and capacity among green micro enterprises in the Baltic region.

Södertörn University is the main partner in the Swedish context, working with businesses north of Stockholm and on the island of Gotland. A main challenge is that knowledge about green micro enterprises is insufficient. The main operations consist of developing professional education and capacity building for accelerating the sustainable business models of the enterprises according to local user needs, together with stakeholders such as local and regional governance, enterprises, trade organisations, and researchers. Supporting these small actors has particular implications for the survival of peri-urban areas, ecosystems and, in the long term, sustainable urban living.

Related SDGs
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities
  • 12.2 By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
Further reading

NatureBizz

Verklighetslabbet Stureby

Stureby Nursing Home is a platform for innovation through Reality Lab, which currently includes 120 students from different professions, but a majority not from the area of medicine and care. This supports collaboration with the residents, their relatives, municipal employees, and researchers.

With the hybrid organisation Openlab providing Design Thinking methodology and student teams for innovation, the elderly residents are given a key role in shaping their environment. Other forums for co-creation are workshops planned with different themes and challenges. This opens up for stakeholder groups normally not involved in elderly care, which in turn puts particular demands on coordination, trust- building, and understanding.

Related SDGs
  • 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • 8. 3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
  • 8.6 By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training
  • 9.2 Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and, by 2030, significantly raise industry’s share of employment and gross domestic product, in line with national circumstances, and double its share in least developed countries
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
Further reading

Verklighetslabbet

Nordregio

About Nordregio
Nordregio is a leading Nordic research centre for sustainable regional development and planning, established by the Nordic Council of Ministers. They conduct applied research and Nordic-European knowledge exchange for policymakers and practitioners. Nordregio’s primary focus areas are: Sustainable rural development and aging population; Urban planning for green inclusive cities; Regional innovation, resilience and green transition; and Multi-level governance (regional reforms and strategies).

Webinar Series on Local SDG Implementation in the Nordics
In 2018/19, Nordregio published a report mapping Nordic frontrunners in SDG work at the local level and hosted a Nordic knowledge exchange on how to organize the Agenda 2030 work in regional and municipal authorities. As a follow-up, they just arranged a webinar series with six programmes on local implementation of certain SDGs (climate, digitalization/innovation, gender/inclusion, sustainable consumption and production, sustainable cities, plus monitoring and evaluation). Nordic municipalities and regions were invited to share and discuss good practice examples, solutions and remaining challenges in their work. The seminar series is available on Nordregio’s YouTube channel and was funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.


For more information about Nordregio, click here.

For more information about Global Utmaning’s Sweden Local2030 Hub, click here.

Western Cape Industrial Symbiosis Programme

The Western Cape Industrial Symbiosis Programme (WISP) is a free facilitation service which uses industrial symbiosis to enhance business profitability and sustainability. The programme is carried out by GreenCape, a Sector Development Agency established by the Western Cape Provincial Government and The City of Cape Town, and provides a service connecting companies so that they can identify and realise the business opportunities enabled by using underutilised or residual resources (materials, expertise, logistics, capacity, energy and water). The program was the first industrial symbiosis program established in Africa and stretches across the Western Cape that covers six districts, including the City of Cape Town. It is one of a number of Green Economy initiatives of the Western Cape Government, supporting the province’s intention to become the Green economic hub of South Africa and Africa.
Challenge

South Africa faces challenges in regard to resource use, including its reliance on fossil fuels for energy, water scarcity, and high landfill rates. Industrial symbiosis aims to address this by promoting reuse and recycling of industrial waste. However, for industrial symbiosis to work it requires a high level of trust and co-operation between the parties involved in the symbiosis. WISP tries to overcome this challenge by facilitating mutually benefitting partnerships showcasing the social, environmental and economic possibilities of resources reutilization.

Good practices and solutions

WISP provides a free service that connects companies from different sectors with each other so that they can identify and realise the business opportunities enabled by utilising unused or residual resources, enhancing business profitability and sustainability.

In practice, facilitators from WISP support its member companies to implement synergies by organising samples, meetings and ensuring that each synergy is legally sound. The facilitators fill the gaps that its members, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, could experience due to lack of time or dedicated expertise needed to identify and implement resource-, waste- and energy management. In exchange for this free of charge service, the organisation asks for feedback on the financial, social and environmental benefits gained from the match to further improve future matches.

Outcomes & Opportunities

By sharing resources, the members of WISP cut costs, increase profits, improve their business processes, create new revenue streams and operates more sustainably. The industrial symbiosis network now consists of over 300 companies and 3,000 resources have been identified within member companies. The cumulative impact over the last six years has been the following: 36 600 tonnes of waste diverted from landfill; 147 700 fossil GHG emissions saved (equivalent to the electrical usage of 39 800 households in South Africa); R67.9 million generated in financial benefits (additional revenue, cost savings and private investments); and 143 jobs created in the economy (25 directly in member companies).

Related SDG targets
  • 8.4 Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10‑Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production, with developed countries taking the lead.
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities.
  • 9.5 Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending.

 

Photo: © Chuttersnap/Unsplash

E-waste recycling in China

A market leader in the area of e-waste material recycling in China, the Shenzhen based company GEM Co is internationally renowned for their pioneering battery recycling. The company was a 2018 finalist in the prestigious Circulars Awards and has taken the leading position in the high-tech recycling market in China.
Challenge

China is still by far the world’s largest consumer of raw materials. In 2015 its factories and industries accounted for about 50 percent of global steel, copper, nickel and aluminium demand. The demand for batteries in China is also growing exponentially. The Chinese government has set the target to increase the number of electric vehicles by five million by 2020, a target that looks likely to reach. This development puts a lot of pressure on the use of materials as well as an increasing need to shift to a more circular approach where battery components are reused in order to protect against supply and cost fluctuations. GEM Co Ltd has adopted a circular approach for almost two decades.

Good practices and solutions

GEM recycle materials from a number of industrial sectors including electronics, automobiles, batteries and wastewater. However, the company is most renowned for its recycling of battery, an important strategic sector for China due to the growth of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Recycling more than 10 percent of the total number of discarded batteries, or about 300,000 tonnes of battery waste per year, GEM has the highest capacity of recycling used batteries in China. Their technology enables the recycling of scrapped lithium batteries from electric vehicles, extracting the nickel, cobalt and other important resources, transforming them into materials that can be reused to produce new batteries.

Outcomes & Opportunities

GEM has combined the recycling industry with green technology. It has invested almost 300 USD million to build eight treatment centres around China, with an annual capacity to recycle 15 percent of China’s total used household appliances and 20 percent of China’s total used circuit boards. It has applied for 1,200 core patents in the field of waste recycling and material recovery and promoted international co-operation in the field of circular economy, for example co-operating with the University of Oxford.

Related SDG targets
  • 7.A By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology.
  • 8.4 Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10‑Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production, with developed countries taking the lead.
  • 9. 4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities.

 

Photo: © David Hofmann/Unsplash

Be Circular – Be Brussels

On 10 March 2016, the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region adopted the Brussels Regional Program for a Circular Economy 2016- 2020. The program aims to transform environmental objectives into economic opportunities; relocate the economy to the Brussels area in order to produce locally whenever possible, reduce travel, optimise land use and create added value for Brussels inhabitants and create opportunities for employment. In order to trigger the transition to a circular economy in the region, the program recognise the need to involve start-ups and small businesses. To increase the interest for circular economy among start-ups, self-employed citizens, small business and non-profit organisations, Brussels launched the initiative Be Circular – Be Brussels.
Challenge

Be Circular – Be Brussels was set up to accelerate the Brussels Regional Program for a Circular Economy 2016 – 2020, focusing on circular economy as a means for business development for start-ups and small scale business. Focusing exclusively on small business, the initiative addresses the challenge of how small-scale producers, start-ups and self-employed can find time and resources to develop the capacity for a circular economy. Larger companies, it was argued, tend to already have access to the resources and knowledge to instigate their own move towards more sustainable ways of working, whereas smaller firms need financial and business support.

Good practices and solutions

Be Circular – Be Brussels is a joint initiative by the city agencies Brussels Economy and Employment, Brussels Environment and Impulse.brussels. The initiative was designed as a one-stop-shop for entrepreneurs seeking information, support or funding for circular economy projects.

Be Circular – Be Brussels has three goals: 1) to support innovative business ideas; 2) to identify projects that would have a lever effect on the development of the circular economy; 3) to advance public support for different models of this new economic exchange and production-system, such as the reuse of waste and the collaborative economy.63 As such, the Be Circular – Be Brussels is a regional funding platform supporting the circular transformation in the Brussels-Capital Region.

Outcomes & Opportunities

As a governmentally owned funding platform for circular economy, Be Circular – Be Brussels is able to combine both top-down and bottom-up approaches harnessing insights from the business community understanding their needs and opportunities while also having governmental assistance and financial support. This to support the circular transformation of the Belgian business community. The first call for funding was launched in 2016, 41 proposals were submitted – far more than expected. Out of these entries, 8 were chosen related to a diverse range of industries including food, construction, IT, design and retail. Those submitting proposals could also ask for free methodological support ahead of submission to make their proposed activity more circular.

Related SDG targets
  • 8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services.
  • 9.B upport domestic technology development, research and innovation in developing countries, including by ensuring a conducive policy environment for, inter alia, industrial diversification and value addition to commodities.
  • 11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries.

 

Photo: © Bethany Beck/Unsplash

Better Plastics

Banyan Nation, an Indian plastic recycling company based in Hyderabad, has received much international attention for its use of data intelligence to collect plastic waste and repurpose it by removing inks, coatings, and other contaminants using environment-friendly detergents and solvents. The plastic cleaning technology used by Banyan converts collected post-consumer and post-industrial plastic waste into high quality recycled granules comparable in quality and performance to virgin plastic.
Challange

Around 20 million tons of plastic per year is consumed in India for products and packaging. India is world leading when it comes to the recycling of plastic bottles, some estimates that as much as 70-80 percent of bottles are recycled. That equals about 10 million tons of discarded plastic that makes it into recycling streams annually, but over 80 percent of this is downcycled into potentially contaminated low-value products. It is a large amount of downcycled plastic disabling the possibility to meet the uprising demand of virgin plastics. The challenge that Banyan Nation address is how to recycle plastic in such a way that it can be reused for the same original product, therefore closing the circle.

Good practices and solutions

The idea behind Banyan Nation is to limit the downcycling of plastic waste; when the plastic waste is contaminated with low-value plastics, product remnants like oils, shampoos and moisture and in certain cases heavy metals such as lead, phosphorus, mercury and the like that can be harmful to humans. The process of cleaning the plastic, as developed by Banyan, is able to produce a near virgin state of plastic making it possible for an upcycling, rather than downcycling, of waste. This technology has, for example, enabled car manufacturer to recycle a bumper into a brand new one at competitive cost, thereby enabling more effective use of resources.

Outcomes & Opportunities

To date, Banyan Nation has recycled over 500 tons of plastic, reduced over 750 tons of carbon dioxide, and diverted over 1,000 tons of plastic from landfills. Banyan is also the only Indian company yet to be recognized by ’The Circulars’, the circular economy award program, at the World Economic Forum in Davos for its pioneering work in developing closed-loop models in plastics recycling in emerging markets.

Related SDG practices
  • 8.4 Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10‑Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production, with developed countries taking the lead.
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities.
  • 12.4 By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.

 

Photo: © Simson Petrol/Unsplash

The Kalundborg symbiosis

Kalundborg Symbiosis is a partnership between nine public and private companies in the city of Kalundborg, Denmark. Since 1972, these partners have developed the world’s first industrial symbiosis with a circular approach to production. The industrial ecosystem that has been created in Kalundborg is a closed cycle where the by-product and residual product of one company is used as a resource by other companies in the symbiosis. It’s a leading example of local collaboration where public and private enterprises buy and sell residual products, resulting in mutual economic and environmental benefits.
The symbiosis network is located at the Kalundborg Eco-industrial Park and involves a number of actors, including a power station, two big energy firms, a plasterboard company, and a soil remediation company. Other actors include farmers, recycling facilities, and fish factories that use some of the material flows. Kalundborg Municipality also plays an active role.
The Kalundborg Symbiosis is a pioneer in its field and provides expertise and experience to other symbiosis sites across the world and is therefore also one of the partners in the UBIS project.
Challenge

The Kalundborg Symbiosis was developed naturally from the mutual interest of the companies working in close proximity as a means to maximize resource efficiency and profitability. The development was hence not driven, primarily, by environmental or ideological concerns nor by the vision of local authorities. Therefore, it is essential for the symbiosis to continue, that the partners keep finding mutually benefiting relationships.

There are two challenges in regard to this when it comes to pricing. Firstly, the prices of the materials delivered by a symbiosis partner have to make economic sense and match the regular market price for such a product. Secondly, companies express concern about ensuring a secure and steady supply of energy and raw materials, as a participant in the symbiosis, one needs to consider the consequences, if a key-partner in the project closes or pulls out of the symbiosis.

Good practices and solutions

Applying the principles of industrial symbiosis to business practices enables companies to cooperate in order to utilise material streams, energy, water and other assets more efficiently, yielding greater overall productivity, resource efficiency and profitability.

The symbiosis established in Kalundborg is about finding mutually benefitting relationships whereby undervalued materials, by-products or waste, rather than being destroyed or sent away, are repurposed for use by another company, typically from a different sector. Having evolved organically over the past six decades, the Kalundborg Symbiosis is today a pioneer and has proven that industrial symbiosis is a model for success, both from a sustainability and profitability standpoint. The model is not only profitable for the partners, who as a result of the symbiosis enjoyed annual bottom-line savings of about 24 million €52, but also for society as a whole. The following are some examples of resources saved through the Kalundborg Industrial symbiosis initiative:

• Groundwater: 2.0 mill. m3/year

• Surface water: 1.0 mill. m3/year

• Natural gypsum: 200.000 tonnes/year

• Oil: 20.000 tonnes/year

• Reduction of CO2 emissions: 275.000 tons

Outcomes & Opportunities

For a symbiosis to work, there needs to be a variety of actors involved in relatively close proximity to each other. The stakeholders need to be diverse with different needs and forms of production to make use of each other’s waste or by-products. The case of Kalundborg also illustrates the strength in self-organizing, the symbiosis arose from the companies themselves without any external interventions. The model of cooperation that followed was simply a practical matter for those involved. Therefore, opportunities for exchange and cooperation needs to be identified in settings where companies already are active and engaged with each other.

Related SDG targets
  • 6.4 By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.
  • 7.1 By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services.
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities.

 

Photo: © Victor Garcia/Unsplash

Wastewater sludge utilization

Vodokanal is a municipal water and wastewater service based in St. Petersburg that provides drinking water to 5,3 million citizens of the city and tens of thousands of companies and enterprises. Vodokanal also collects and treats wastewater to support the implementation of the Helsinki Commission’s recommendations for preservation of the Baltic Sea. St. Petersburg has, through the work of Vodokanal, become the first megalopolis in the world to solve the problem of wastewater sludge utilization, finding alternative utsages of the sledge that otherwise would be hazardious waste.
Challenge

The combination of only these two treatment stages did not ensure the quality of treated effluents stipulated in HELCOM (Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea) recommendations concerning nutrients total nitrogen and total phosphorus (when entering the Baltic Sea water they create a nutrient medium for bluegreen algae, that take in oxygen from water and cause the death of the water bodies living organisms).

Therefore, today, chemical and biological wastewater treatment is introduced at the Vodokanal wastewater treatment plants, which combines enhanced biological nutrients removal with the accompanying chemical phosphorus precipitation. Today, a chemical method for phosphorus removal has been introduced at all the city wastewater treatment plants, using aluminium sulphate, which is the most effective and economical chemical.

Good practices and solutions

Three sludge incineration plants operate in the city at the Central wastewater treatment plant, Northern wastewater treatment plant and South-West wastewater treatment plant. Sludge is incinerated in the fluidized-bed furnaces at the temperature of 870°C. The heat produced by sludge incineration is used for process needs, space heating and power generation for Vodokanal to save energy resources. Flue gases are treated in three stages.

Mechanical treatment is designed for wastewater clarification. This block comprises an inlet chamber, mechanized screens, grit channels and primary clarifiers. The biological treatment includes aeration tanks and secondary sedimentation tanks. The biological treatment process occurs due to vital functions of activated sludge in aeration tanks in continuous contact with atmospheric oxygen injected into the aeration tank. Activated sludge is a biocenosis inhabited by different bacteria, protozoa and multicellular microorganisms which transform contaminants in wastewater and treat them.

Outcomes & Opportunities

Vodokanal amis to provide accessible water and sanitation services to ensure high quality of life for the customers and sustainable city development, to build the culture of water use and to preserve the Baltic Sea basin. The company operates according to values of sustainability and responsibility: Responsibility before future generations; Responsibility before the customers; Responsibility before the staff; Openness to the public and responsibility before the society. It also operates with an innovative approach focused on learning from international best practices in the field.

Some examples of ongoing programmes of Vodokan to enhance its capabilities includes:

• The Neva Untreated Wastewater Discharge Closure Program: This program envisages, among other things, the completion of the extension of the Northern Tunnel Collector, and the modernization of the Northern and Central Wastewater Treatment Plants to comply with new requirements of HELCOM (The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission) regarding enhanced removal of nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater.

• Improvement of sewage sludge treatment and disposal technology: Today, all the sludge produced by wastewater treatment is burnt at three sludge in-cineration plants. However, in the previous years (before the incinerators were constructed) sludge was disposed to special landfills. For instance, the area of Severny landfill in Novoselki is about 83 ha. To eliminate a negative impact of sewage sludge landfills on the environment, a landfill reclamation project was designed on the basis of Geotube technology.

Related SDG targets
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities.
  • 6.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities.
  • 6.5 By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate.

 

Photo: © Justin Kauffman/Unsplash

Biogas and fertilizers from bio-waste

Located in Lahti, LABIO is the largest biogas production and refining plant in Finland and it produces biogas, a domestic and renewable product, from waste. It provides a treatment service for bio-waste and water treatment plant slurry for industry, waste management companies and for the general public.
Challange

Previously, bio-waste was largely used as landfill causing difficulties with methane gas production, odours and contributed to a valuable resource and energy loss. The amount of bio-waste is growing globally. With the right treatment, infrastructure and waste management systems, it could be used as a valuable resource for organic soil improvers and fertilisers or extracted, modified or transformed into a range of different bio-based products all replacing fossil-based products such as mineral fertilisers, peat and fossil fuels.

Good practices and solutions

By using municipal bio-waste, bio-waste from food industries, forestry, fisheries, sludge from wastewater treatment plans and biodegradable materials from farming, LABIO is able to produce biogas and fertilizers. It is the largest biogas production and refining plant in Finland, and part of the industrial symbiosis in Kujala Waste Treatment Centre in Lahti. The system developed by LABIO is pioneering, by combining composting and gas production where the compost produced by the biogas production is turned into raw soil materials and fertilisers, it allows the nutrients stored in bio-waste and sludge to be put back into circulation.

Outcomes & Opportunities

The operation of the plant offers an environmentally friendly, reliable, secure and odourless production of biogas and compost. Composting and the recovery of biogas are ideal ways of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and the carbon footprint. It is also a renewable and domestic energy source. The process is dependent on the development of a successful industrial symbiosis whereby waste products are delivered to the plan where it is upscaled and then released back. This, in turn, requires the cooperation of local neighbouring companies and municipalities.

Related SDG targets
  • 6.3 By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.
  • 7.2 By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities.

 

Photo: © Ivan Bandura/Unsplash

Circwaste

Circwaste is a cooperation and capacity-building project funded in large parts by the EU LIFE programme and is coordinated by the Finnish Environment Institute. Geographically focused on the Southwest Finland, Satakunta, Central Finland, North Karelia region and South Karelia region, the project gathers a selection of 20 cross-sectorial stakeholders and 10 funders to jointly promote and develop efficient use of material flows, waste prevention and new waste and resource management concepts. All actions of the project contribute to implementing the national waste management plan and directing Finland towards a circular economy. The project stands out as an example of a regional catalyst and support platform for local projects focused on improving resource efficiency through circular economy solutions.
Challenges

The Circwaste project responds to the challenge of regionalising national sustainability strategies by building multi-stakeholder partnerships with the capacity to implement national regulations on a regional and local level. In addition, the underlying challenge that the Circwaste project focuses on is developing solutions, best practices and recommendations on how partnerships of regional stakeholders can develop more resource efficient systems, not only to meet the targets of the national waste management plan, but also to support sustainable development, locally, regionally and nationally.

Good practices and solutions

Acting as a circular economy platform for knowledge-exchange and capacity-building, the Circwaste project has proven a successful catalyst supporting the regional implementation of the Finnish national waste management plan. Key to the success of the project has been its regional focus.In each region, the relevant regional stakeholders have formed cooperation groups that work to implement the national plan at a regional level. The groups create roadmaps that set goals and activities necessary to decrease the amounts of waste, improve material efficiency, utilize industrial by-products, etc.42 In addition, Circwaste is also carrying out concrete pilot projects in key areas to develop the waste management system and to promote circular economy, as well as establishing an expert network on circular economy to provide expert services and spread information on successful solutions to relevant stakeholders outside of the project. A number of projects and initiatives, linked to Circwaste, has already been successfully implemented and some are highlighted as best practices in this report. These include:

• Production of biogas and fertilizer from biowaste streams and wastewater sludge at the LABIO Ltd biogas and composting plant (Best Practice 14)

• Waste sorting system enabling more effective material recycling at the Päijät-Häme Waste Management company.

Outcomes & Opportunities

The Circwaste project emphasizes the need to develop regional roadmaps that set out the needs, opportunities and ways forward for the implementation of the national waste management plan. Creating regionalised and context-specific roadmaps is an important step to identify relevant stakeholders, build essential partnerships and find innovative solutions supporting the development of more circular and resource efficiency systems. With this method of work, the Circwaste project estimates that they will have: 1) decreased the amounts of municipal solid waste; 2) increased the recycling of construction and demolition waste; 3) improved material efficiency and waste prevention in production, industry and trade; 4) increased the use of mineral waste and industrial by-products.

Related SDG targets
  • 7.1 By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services.
  • 9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all.
  • 17.6 Enhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation and enhance knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms, including through improved coordination among existing mechanisms, in particular at the United Nations level, and through a global technology facilitation mechanism.

Circular start-ups

Named the most advanced digital society in the world, Estonia has developed a comprehensive digital ecosystem comprising many aspects of everyday life. Taxation, voting, health, residency are some of the social services managed through e-solutions in e-Estonia, a movement by the government of Estonia to facilitate citizen interactions with the state through the use of electronic solutions.
Having been a global leader in the digital transformation for the last two decades, Estonia is today experiencing a boom in the start-up scene of innovative companies making use and developing on the foundation of the already fully digitalised Estonian society. Ranking third in Europe regarding the highest number of start-ups per capita, Estonia is also ranked 24 on the Global Innovation Index.
Challenges

With only 11 years left to implement the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, it is crucial that the private sector continues to develop services and products if we are to fulfil our global goals. It is evident that states and public service providers are not able to meet the challenges of sustainable development alone. However, for innovative companies and start-ups to commit to a circular business model with resource efficiency and sustainable growth as core values, they need the government to support technology development and small businesses as well as investors who cherish sustainability and realize the long-term profitability of such values.

Good practices and solutions

Favourable conditions for setting up start-ups in Estonia has created a scene of Greentech start-ups working with circular business models, trying to find market opportunities for innovative products, services and solutions for greater resource efficiency and sustainability. Inspirational start-ups to highlight as an example of best practices include:

• 3cular: Eco-innovative 3D printing that gives wood waste a new value. 3cular is reinventing 3D printing in a sustainable way, enabling manufacturers to produce any kind of wooden objects out of leftover wood material, increasing resource productivity and reducing the use of plastics as the most popular 3D printing material.

• Pillirookõrs: Reusable, biodegradable drinking straw made exclusively from reed that grows naturally on the shores of Saaremaa, in the Baltic Sea. Reed is processed into the straws without the use of any additives. Each one is handmade and can be reused and washed in the dishwasher. After the Pillirookõrs has served its purpose, it will decay completely; completing the circle.

• Rohepakend: Alternative to disposable plastic utensils and food containers made from recycled cloth. Individuals and companies donate fabric and Rohepakend gives it a new life as a sustainable and biodegradable food container.

Outcomes & Opportunities

According to e-Estonia the following reasons explain why Estonia is able to foster a culture fuelling the innovative start-ups scene:

• e-Services and the ease of doing business. Being able to conduct most tasks of setting up a business online through the e-Estonia platform and through other digitised service providers. Also, business-friendly taxation with a corporate tax rate at 21 percent with no double taxation on dividend income.

• People and community. The Estonian start-up community has good relations with the government and their voices are actively being heard as the government does its best to be responsive to entrepreneurs and start-ups.

• Developed and affordable living environment. The quality of life in Estonia is high but at the same time it’s very affordable: Tallinn is one of the more affordable capitals of the EU while also among the most connected cities in the world, offering almost universal free public WiFi and free public transportation for residents.

• Ease of hiring talent. Estonia has also made it easy for local start-ups to acquire foreign talent, as in January 2017, the country launched its Start-up Visa.

Related SDG targets
  • 8.4 Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10‑Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production, with developed countries taking the lead.
  • 9.4 Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and, by 2030, significantly raise industry’s share of employment and gross domestic product, in line with national circumstances, and double its share in least developed countries.
  • 12.6 Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.

Photo: © Jaanus Jagomag/Unsplash

Deposit Return System

In 2016, the government of Lithuania implemented a “deposit return system” for disposable beverage packaging as an attempt to combat litter and increase the collection- and recycling rates of used drinking bottles. Consumers would pay a deposit amount of €0.10 when purchasing eligible drink containers, to be refunded when the empty container is returned for recycling. This system is not unique to Lithuania, similar deposit-return systems are present in most European countries. However, the system implemented in Lithuania has proven the most successful of the EU member states with 74 percent of plastic packaging recycled, according to a Eurostat study. The number can be compared to the second best country, Cyprus, where 64 percent and to the average within the EU of 42,4 percent of plastic packaging are recycled.
Challenges

The national DRS has successfully tasked both producers and consumers to take responsibility for the recycling of their products. It is estimated that through the DRS, 21.000 tons of packaging per year is recycled instead of ending up in dumpsites or the environment.

Good practices and solutions

One of the key reasons behind the recycling success in Lithuania has been the nationwide roll out of a national Deposit Refund Scheme (DRS), with easy-to-use reverse vending machines where consumers can deposit used plastic bottles and receive a cash-back of €0.10 per bottle.

Producers and importers that supply alcoholic and alcohol-free beverages in disposable glass, plastic or metal containers with a capacity of more than 100 ml, but below three l, are obligated to participate in the deposit system for disposable beverage packaging. Individuals who buy beverages in metal, glass and plastic containers marked with the deposit symbol pay the deposit at the point of sale and can collect a refund after delivering the packaging to a DRS machine. There are now over 1,000 DRS machines at large retail chains across the country and more than 1,800 small shops are also accepting the plastic containers. The performance of this system, i.e. the container return rate, reached about 70 percent in the first year of operation and more than 90 percent in the second year of operation.

The public institution Užstato Sistemos Administratorius manages the entire deposit system, starting with the collection of the packaging waste and ending with it being recycled. The process can also be tracked in real-time, at the time of writing this report, 1,649,489,610 packages have been recycled through the system.

Outcomes & Opportunities

By the end of 2016, 99.8 percent of the Lithuanian public were aware of the deposit system, with 89 percent having used it at least once. 58 percent of consumers reported recycling more and 78 percent believed the deposit system to be good and necessary. Prior to the scheme, only one-third of all beverage containers in Lithuania were returned. The goal of a 55 percent return rate in 2016 was exceeded to 74.3 percent of all beverage containers returned for recycling. The return rate reached a huge 91.9 percent by the end of 2017.

Related SDG targets
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities
  • 12.6 Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.
  • 17.6 Enhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation and enhance knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms, including through improved coordination among existing mechanisms, in particular at the United Nations level, and through a global technology facilitation mechanism.

 

Photo: © Giuseppe Famiani/Unsplash

Circular Economy Partnership

The transition towards a more circular economy brings great opportunities for Europe and its citizens. It is an important part of our efforts to modernise and transform the European economy, moving in a more sustainable direction. There is a strong business case behind it which enables companies to make substantial economic gain and become more competitive. It delivers important energy savings and environmental benefits. It creates local jobs and opportunities for social integration. Cities will play an essential part in the transmission of the economy.
Challenges

The Partnership on Circular Economy has identified several barriers and bottlenecks regarding the use of secondary raw materials (recycling) or products (re-use) originating from waste streams. In the Partnership, this has been presented from a public procurement perspective, a consumer perspective, a waste management perspective, as well as a business enabler perspective. Besides a lack of awareness for existing sources of funding and financing for circular economy investments and the conditions for accessing and/or blending them, cities and funding institutions often lack knowledge on how to assess, design and set up funding programmes and/or schemes for circular economy projects.

Good practices and solutions

Kaunas city is an active partner in the Urban Agenda for the EU Circular Economy Partnership. Cities play an essential role in the development of a circular economy; they act as enablers of potential measures by which they can influence both consumers and businesses. In order to develop the concept of a circular economy within cities there are other themes that can not be overlooked, such as; overall governance, enabling businesses, public procurement, consumption and resource management.

Outcomes and opportunities

By establishing a practical roadmap, cities are enabled to develop an urban resource management plan. In this roadmap, the three main elements of resource management will be incorporated; a) mapping of resources and resource flows, b) brokerage facilities to bridge the gap between supply and demand; and c) the monitoring of results. Supporting businesses and local authorities to identify their waste or by-products, diverting them away from the waste streams and using them as secondary resources for new products, will contribute to a more efficient resource management that is economically sound in terms of value creation. This may help speed up a city’s transition to a circular economy in terms of resource efficiency, lowering environmental impact, and creating new economic activity and jobs. The Partnership has identified that an urban resource management plan could be an important tool to achieve this.

Related SDG targets
  • 17.6 Enhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation and enhance knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms, including through improved coordination among existing mechanisms, in particular at the United Nations level, and through a global technology facilitation mechanism.
  • 11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities.

 

Photo: © Jonas Jacobsson/Unsplash

 

Partnerships for urban industrial symbiosis

Urban Baltic Industrial Symbiosis (UBIS) is a regional cooperation project financed by the European Regional Investment Fund, Interreg South Baltic. The project focuses on developing pilot cases of industrial symbiosis, learning about the industrial symbiosis concept and spreading knowledge in order to inspire new symbiosis sites in the South Baltic region.
Industrial symbiosis is the mutually beneficial exchange of waste and by-products between different parties. Based on ecological mutualism and nutrient flows within an ecosystem, industrial symbiosis requires collaboration between different stakeholders within a relatively small geographic proximity. Developing capacity and finding opportunities to develop cross-sectoral and public-private industrial symbiosis is an opportunity for both private and public companies to increase their profitability and competitiveness by reducing the cost of resources, while at the same time being substantially more environment-friendly by reducing the use of material and production of waste. As such, industrial symbiosis is a business model and method based on circular material flows and circular economy.
Skåne Energy Agency, a regional energy agency in the south of Sweden, and a department within the non-profit organisation Skåne Association of Local Authorities, is the lead partner of the UBIS project. Together with ten partners in five countries (Poland, Lithuania, Denmark, Germany and Sweden) the project developed tools and recommendations by learning from existing industrial symbiosis plants, project members that already have knowledge and experiences of industrial symbiosis, and from five pilot investments that are carried out as part of the project.
Challenge

Trust, knowledge and procedures of cooperation are some challenges that have to be overcome when developing business models for industrial symbiosis that are both a profitable and resource efficient means of creating more circular economic flows. Trust concerns the fear of being too dependent on the resources of other actors in the symbiosis. There is a lack of knowledge on many levels, about the industrial symbiosis itself, the opportunities it presents and about legal implications. Procedures of cooperation refer to the need for building long-term relations, transparency and information sharing between the actors involved in the symbiosis, something that is often missing.

Good practices and solutions

The project is a good example of how to combine the experiences of already established industrial symbiosis sites and production systems, and how to use those to develop guidelines, recommendations and methods in order to support a greater expansion of circular economy through industrial symbiosis practices . It is also a good example of building cross-sectoral and regional partnerships to support the practical expansion and utilization of circular economy.

The UBIS project works directly with five pilot investments that serve as the testing ground for the project. These are:

• The City of Malmö, Sweden: The objective for the city of Malmö in the UBIS project is to develop a soft pilot planning tool. The aim is to map the industrial symbiosis streams, such as heat and cold, various materials in Malmö harbour for example, and digitalise into a GIS-layer. This will be a helpful tool in identifying opportunities and marketing the possibilities with industrial symbiosis.

• Kalundborg Utility, Denmark: Kalundborg Utility will complement the services already available to the industrial symbiosis in Kalundborg. This expansion includes the possibility to supply cost-effective surface water for production with an all-year-round constant temperature.

• Gdańsk University of Technology, Poland: The major task of the Gdańsk University of Technology will be to identify groups of enterprises suited for collaboration within an industrial symbiosis system in the Pomeranian region in Poland. A particulate task will be waste energy sharing among companies. For this purpose, a Spinning Fluids Reactor-based mobile system is proposed for low temperature heat recovery from various types of power generators.

• The municipality of Bjuv, Sweden: “Urban Health” by industrial symbiosis involves identification and analysis, city planning and implementation. By using the residual heat from local industries, the municipality can create new, healthy, and social environments for people in urban areas.

• The municipality of Silute, Lithuania: Silute will develop municipal waste storage by installing new infrastructure for collection of waste so that it can be recycled and get a second life as new raw material

Outcomes & Opportunities

Where the project stands at the moment, it has developed a series of publications with methods and recommendations on how to overcome some of the challenges involved in expanding and developing new sites for industrial symbiosis in the BSR. The project has developed:

• An Evaluation Tool to evaluate the potential for industrial symbiosis in a specific site.

• A Decision Tool to help stakeholder find opportunities and make sustainable decisions.

• A Business Model to help stakeholder find profitability and sustainability through industrial symbiosis solutions.

Related SDG targets:
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities.
  • 11.6 By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management.
  • 17.6 Enhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation and enhance knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms, including through improved coordination among existing mechanisms, in particular at the United Nations level, and through a global technology facilitation mechanism.

 

Photo: © Mårten Björk/Unsplash

 

Municipal Waste Management

In Oslo, the collaboration between the municipality and the population has resulted in an efficient use of resources. The city has set an overall target to reduce its CO2 emissions by 95 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 and to become carbon neutral by 2050. One of the measures needed to achieve this target is an integrated waste management system, which Oslo launched in 2006 with its Waste Management Strategy (WMS), aiming to establish a “recycle and reuse” society10. The citizens sort their waste at home using a system of color-coded trash bags that are collected by the municipal Agency for Waste Management and brought to the waste facilities. Once there, the Waste-to-Energy Agency sorts the household waste and produces district heating, biogas and biofertilizer. This resource-focused way of thinking is the main force behind a circular economy approach that is needed to reach the target of carbon neutrality.
Challenges

Cities consume about 75 percent of global energy and emit between 50 and 60 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gases12. The global waste problem is also increasingly linked to urbanisation as the growing number of cities are becoming mass producers of waste13. Efficient waste management systems are key to meet the targets of carbon neutrality and greater energy and resource efficiency in any city.

Good practices and solutions

Using a system of color-coded trash bags, the waste that is produced by the city is sorted through an optical separation system at waste management sites Haraldrud and Klemetsrud, where green bags containing food waste and blue bags with plastic packaging are separated automatically from the residual waste. The food waste, together with other biological materials, becomes biogas and biofertilizer, while the plastic waste is handled by Grønt Punkt Norway (Green Dot Norway) and ends up as new plastic products. The residual waste is incinerated and becomes district heating for Oslo’s population11. The system makes it easier for the citizens to correctly dispose a vast majority of their produced waste, at the same deposit sites only using differently coloured bags. This also makes the transportation of waste more efficient as all waste pickups can be centralized to fewer locations. Today, only two colours are used for identification, green and blue. However, there is no limit to the number of colours that could be used for sorting and therefore has the potential for upscaling.

Outcomes and opportunities

A key to the success of the Oslo waste management system is that it required no logistical changes to the existing waste management system and could be implemented rapidly – contrary to the alternative of adding more waste containers and routes for the collection vehicles. As of now, 21 percent of the plastic, 64 percent of glass and metal, and 76 percent of paper and cardboard are recycled. In addition, it seems that by making food waste visible, the system has had an educational effect, making the citizens more aware about the volume of food that is wasted, as the total volume of food waste has reduced by 5 percent since the system started.

Related SDG targets

  • 9.B Support domestic technology development, research and innovation in developing countries, including by ensuring a conducive policy environment for, inter alia, industrial diversification and value addition to commodities.
  • 13.B Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities
  • 15.9 By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts.

 

Photo: © Markus Spiske / Unsplash

 

Mistra SAMS

Mistra SAMS (Sustainable Accessibility and Mobility Services) is a transdisciplinary research programme and platform for investigating obstacles and opportunities regarding the transition to sustainable transport, mobility, and accessibility in urban environments. Through two on-going living labs in Stockholm, participating residents contribute in testing apps and other ideas for changing the conditions for urban travelling, for example, in order to increase the amount of travelling outside regular rush hours.

Challenge

Sweden’s vision is to become the world’s first fossil-independent country. A tough challenge that requires a number of new solutions. To get there we must, among other things, have a vehicle fleet that is independent of fossil fuels at its latest in 2030 according to the Swedish Transport Administration. That is not the only challenging goal in the transport and environmental field. The Paris climate agreement places additional demands on new solutions, as well as a decision in the City of Stockholm that car traffic must decrease despite the increase in occupancy. In order for the congestion and emissions in major cities not to become unmanageable, it is necessary that we receive a reduced demand for car-borne transport and an optimized use of the existing infrastructure.

Good practices & solutions

Mistra SAMS’s vision is that by 2030, Sweden will have reached accessibility and mobility in the metropolitan regions that contribute to achieving the sustainability goals, and which at the same time meet the needs of broad user groups through new accessibility services. The program initially examined successful accessibility and mobility services available in other countries to find good examples.

Mistra SAMS studies digitally supported services for accessibility and mobility, to understand their potential to transform society and contribute to sustainability. The aim is to provide insight into insights into public actors’ possible roles and means to influence new accessibility services and platform technology. Which pathways are open to public actors, and which are the effects of those pathways on long-term sustainability targets?

The programme is hosted and managed by KTH Royal Institute of Technology in close cooperation with VTI Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute.Together with its partners, Mistra SAMS conducts innovative research on the transformation of accessibility in primarily an urban environment.

Related SDGs
  • 8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
  • 9.5 Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending
  • 11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
Further reading

MISTRA SAMS 

Hagastaden

Challenges

With Stockholm growing rapidly and new housing demanded, largely overlooked and underused areas still exist close to the urban centre. One such area is Haga, in part consisting of a large green area (Hagaparken) and in part the vast Karolinska University Hospital complex including the adjacent health science university of the Karolinska Institute. It is also the border zone between the municipalities of Solna and Stockholm, hitherto mainly used as a highway cluster.

Because the healthcare system and life science fields will face tremendous challenges in future decades due to a rapidly ageing population, with increasing amounts of multiple diagnoses requiring decades of treatment, the needs for further research and innovation on this matter are dire. Stockholm already has a vast cluster of health science research, innovation, and education in this area, pointing to the potentials of further expanding this cluster.

Good Practices & Solutions

The huge Hagastaden development project is guided by “Vision 2025”, seeking to create the largest centre for life science in the world. Most of the 100+ life science enterprises operating in Stockholm would now be located close to, or choose to relocate to, the area of Hagastaden. The project assembles three of the largest universities in Stockholm into a life science cluster with 50 000 workplaces while building mixed forms of housing for 6000 people and developing adjacent parks and green areas. The two main highways running through the area will be built into tunnels to minimise sound pollution. The innovative waste management system is inherited from Hammarby sjöstad.

Several parks and recreation areas already exist nearby, such as the widespread Hagaparken, Bellevueparken, and Karlbergsparken. These will now be connected through Hagastaden and made considerably more accessible. One of the buildings is the first to ever achieve the highest rate of the green building certificate BREEAM, “Outstanding”.The new park of Norra stationsparken will be a slim, long park with considerable proximity to cafés, shops, and restaurants.

Outcome & Opportunities

A new underground station will be built in the centre of Hagastaden, as Stockholm County Council is constructing a new subway line going from Odenplan in west central Stockholm to Arenastaden in Solna, approximately 5 km, planned for 2019–2025. This will promote public transport in favour of less sustainable transport and will further connect diverse city districts and municipalities.

Art, intertwined with architecture and landscape, plays a significant role in the shaping of the new living area. Emanating from the concept of life science and “the cornerstones of life”, the objects and milieus created are meant to reflect Hagastaden’s scientific image. This was made through the 2014–2015 project ArtResLab Hagastaden, in which researchers and artists co-created outlines for Hagastaden by exchanging knowledge about each other’s fields.

Hagastaden has had limited involvement of residents and civil actors in the planning process, the exceptions being certain dialogue meetings and a hackathon with students coordinated by Sweco. Instead, it has focussed on a cross-sectorial collaborative process

Related SDGs
  • 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • 4.7 By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development
  • 5 . Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • 9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all
  • 9.5 Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending
  • 11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
  • 11. 4 Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage
  • 11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
  • 11.A Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning
Further reading

Hagastaden

Stockholm Science City 

Stockholm Läns Landsting “Gul linje till Arenastaden”

Stockholm Konst 

Datasmart

Challenges

According to the annual investigation Svenskarna och Internet (Swedes and the Internet), an overwhelming majority of the population seemed to experience little or no difficulties using the Internet and its various tools. However, it turned out that SCB did not sufficiently include people with functional variations, which led the investigation to conclude that almost no one experienced difficulties as a result of those variations. According to functionality NGOs, their members experienced severe difficulties in using Internet tools, suggesting that contemporary Internet and smart technology design favours normative functionalities in society, thus effectively excluding a large proportion of the population (up to 15–20%). Even a smaller percentage suggests a substantial challenge in terms of democracy and possibilities for a transition to smart and energy efficient urban development.

In order to confront this challenge, new tools needed to be developed because no actor had previously been concerned with designing for various physical and cognitive functionalities. Actors from functionality NGOs and Stefan Johansson, a PhD from KTH and founder of the accessibility specialist start-up company Funka teamed up to address this issue together with Begripsam and the development company Access Lab. Begripsam had evolved as a project funded by Arvsfonden and Konsumentverket 2013–2016 and had mapped and framed the problem as viewed by the target groups. Begripsam then evolved into an NGO and a private company working with cognitive accessibility. The commonly agreed objective between these actors was to design prototypes of products or services facilitating Internet participation among certain target groups of individuals with functional variations. Chosen target groups were cognitive variations and visibility due to especially challenging conditions with regards to using the Internet. The DataSmart project was then initiated in 2017.

Good Practices & Solutions

DataSmart initially conducted data collection and then proceeded to develop data visualisations. Individuals of the stakeholder groups have been involved in testing prototypes all through the course of the project. However, because individuals within the target groups are unable to test prototypes due to their cognitive functions, alternative forms of visualisation have to be employed. Thus, various cognitive pedagogues are being hired to facilitate the testing process, one notable example being theatre-like scenarios of exposing target groups to the prototypes. Metaphors have also proven to be a successful alternative pedagogic tool. Thus, knowledge is created jointly regarding what works for the target groups.

Another issue being managed in DataSmart is democracy within the stakeholder constellation. The target group suffers from obvious limitations in exercising influence over the process, putting firm demands on Begripsam and the other designer actors to make efforts to empower them. Target group participants lack reading and writing skills, but for example they can make choices on which colour schemes to use in prototypes. The guiding principle has been to let target groups make decisions whenever possible if this serves the common objectives. Complete democracy and co-creation, however, is deemed unachievable in this process. At this point, the process has potentially been more time and resource consuming due to the particular preconditions of the target groups, but had they not been sufficiently included in the design process the end results would risk being inapplicable.

Social interaction such as joint meals, as banal as it might seem, proved to be crucial for enabling cooperation among the participants for various reasons; target group members are usually lacking in money and therefore risk going hungry, which would affect their capacity for participating, whereas the designers involved revealed – at least initially – a strong prejudice towards working with the target groups. Joint meals and other forms of interaction substantially mitigated these conditions and the designers renounced much of their previous skepticisms towards working with individuals who were notably different from the norm.

Outcome & Opportunities

The data collection phase generated the insight that about 40% of people with functional variations experience difficulties using the Internet. One reason why previous enquiries did not satisfyingly generate this insight turned out to be that questions were posed in a way that individuals with certain cognitive diagnoses were unable to understand and answer.

DataSmart has subsequently designed two user-friendly and iteratively tested products for gathering data from the target groups regarding their Internet use. Discussions with KTH Innovation regarding the scaling up and commercialisation of these products are currently on-going. Moreover, the data collection phase has suggested that corresponding errors are being made when statistically investigating various issues other than functionality and Internet use, demanding more initiatives similar to DataSmart.

Lessons learned & Recommendations

Stefan Johansson from Funka stresses the importance of curiously exploring a diversity of methods rather than attaching oneself to one designated method. Furthermore, self- reflection and self-critique is a fundamental part of DataSmart’s process, for example, with regards to participation; are the stakeholders really involved or are only certain groups or individuals able to use the tools with which the process is carried out? The answer needs to develop out of a co-creative process and be re-evaluated regularly as the various phases of the process in iterative loops are tested. It may become apparent that one actor is given considerably less time or resources than others. Providing the means of influencing the process and its decisions to those with little resources is key to achieving lasting results for the end users and to realise the main objectives in a project such as this. This in turn requires less conventional ways of operating, i.e. experimenting. The level of involvement consciousness expressed in DataSmart is likely due to the participants having such unalterably asymmetrical prerequisites and resources.

Related SDGs
  • 9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
  • 11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanisation and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
Further reading

Changers Hub

Challenges

Changers Hub emerged as a local voluntary initiative at a youth centre in Alby, Botkyrka, a suburb with socio-economic challenges. The main objective was to inspire local talents and help uninspired youth become more motivated to pursue careers and education.

Good Practices & Solutions

Since then, the hub has grown into a co-working space aided by the municipal office and various private companies, offering a wide range of seminars and workshops to exchange knowledge and best practices. The board of Changers Hub still mainly consists of young people from suburban areas, while an additional chapter of the hub has been opened in central Stockholm in order to enable suburban youth to connect with other parts of the region and transcend social boundaries. Social Recycling, a concept developed by Changers Hub in their project application to Arvsfonden, is a way of integrating two groups in the same area, namely local young individuals having undergone a successful career path and those with less motivation, guidance, and/or opportunity. The principle is to have the second group be inspired by the first. This approach is strategically developed in the context of socio-economically challenged areas and suburbs, in which the majority of residents are born outside of Sweden or face challenges of discrimination due to their parents being born outside of Sweden.

Related SDGs
  • 8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
  • 8.5 By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value
  • 8.6 By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training
  • 9.2 Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and, by 2030, significantly raise industry’s share of employment and gross domestic product, in line with national circumstances, and double its share in least developed countries
  • 10.1 By 2030, progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40 per cent of the population at a rate higher than the national average
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
Further reading

Changers Hub

Grow Smarter

Grow Smarter (GS) was initiated in 2015 by the Environmental Department of the City of Stockholm to use the opportunity renovate existing buildings and areas into models for more energy efficient, smart, and sustainable communities.

 

Challenges

Following the Paris agreement in 2017, cities all over Europe have set similar corresponding goals for sustainable development, including a heavy reduction of fossil fuel emissions. By 2040, the City of Stockholm aims to become fossil free and the world’s smartest city, next to its general ambition to be a city “for everyone”.

Stockholm has been reducing its fossil fuel emissions since 1990. Realising the ambitious goal of zero emission is, however, steadily becoming more challenging because previous achievements can be classified as “low hanging fruits”. Reaching zero emissions requires both innovative and large-scale adjustments of housing, transport, and infrastructure systems.

Many cities launch innovative sustainable urban development programmes to solve these issues, such as Norra Djurgårdsstaden in Stockholm (as, in previous decades, Hammarby Sjöstad). To accelerate this effort, however, cities experience a need to team up with industrial actors in targeting the already existing housing stock. Stockholm’s building boom during the 1960s generated many apartments that are now in need of renovation, as is the case in other European cities. Grow Smarter (GS) was initiated in 2015 by the Environmental Department of the City of Stockholm as an opportunity to renovate existing buildings and areas into models for more energy efficient, smart, and sustainable communities. These models are then meant to support a “Full roll-out in European cities” of successful solutions.

Project manager Lisa Enarsson at the City of Stockholm Environmental Department has previous experience from a similar pilot project in Järva (Hållbara Järva) in north-west Stockholm. Together with Jonas Eriksson, contributing previous experience in EU development and a holistic perspective, a 1.5 year long EU funding application process began and eventually yielded a substantial sum for a 5-year project. The project involves partner cities Cologne and Barcelona because they share a similar outlook and problem formulation.

The goals of GS include creating 1,500 new work opportunities in Europe while reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 60% in each testbed area.

Good Practices & Solutions

“We at the [Stockholm] Environmental Department … are driven towards bringing Stockholm into a more sustainable future – even though we don’t have any resources! We are not the ones building houses … Therefore, we are rather good at applying for money.”

A local housing cooperative in Årsta participated in testing solar panels and an energy measuring device designed to reduce housing electricity use and costs. Members of the cooperative shared their experiences and the value provided by the solutions within GS with other residents and cooperatives in the area, for example, during GS’s “Recycling Day” event.

Although Stockholm did not join this initiative, Cologne introduced a community reporter, meaning a local citizen reporting on the progress of the solutions being tested.

It is also important to note that the EU commission has been a target for GS because part of the project has been to try to scale and spread its good practices. A policy-driving aspect has been central to the project, possibly contributing to its success.

Outcome & Opportunities

“What we do is not ‘rocket science’, but rather doing all parts at the same time, that is both [that we] supplement insulation, change windows, check the ventilation system, get a system together, and [adjust] heat pumps to recirculate the heat … Not just taking one part by itself if you are going to reach the whole way up to 60% [emission reduction].”

GS has generated a package of 12 “smart solutions”, divided into the main areas of low energy districts, integrated infrastructure, and sustainable urban mobility.

Examples of solutions include:

–  Low heat loss windows.

–  Isolating water pipes to reduce heat loss.

–  Recycling drain water.

–  Energy-efficient apartment lights.

–  Energy-efficient elevators.

–  A logistics centre to reduce transports.

–  A “leaving home button” reducing energy output in apartments.

–  Outdoor lights dimming in response to human presence, also turning off completely during low-activity hours of the day.

–  Sustainable Delivery: all deliveries are stored in a designated room in every house, which recipients can enter using a unique code through an app.

–  Cameras and sensors anonymously monitoring movement during large-scale events at the adjacent Tele2 Arena in order to improve available data for event attendants when searching for efficient travel home.

–  Providing traffic priority to organic fuel-driven trucks.

–  Smart traffic solutions: a device informs drivers of private cars which speed they should maintain in order to avoid having to stop for red lights.

–  Improved infrastructure for electrified cars.

–  Developing a universal sign for e-car charging, bicycle rental, and organic fuel stations.

GS is being scaled, and 12 similar projects are now initiated, coordinated, and collaborating throughout Europe. This may be due to GS demonstrating its solutions in many cities and exhibitions across Europe.

Lessons learned & Recommendations

GS is the first example of the Environmental Department working this closely together with private companies. The project has thus evolved into a learning process, discovering synergies between these sectors. Furthermore, IESE Business School has provided many companies with new insights from a scientific, interdisciplinary point of view. It is noted and acknowledged, however, that the project overall lacks much of a social approach, although this is not completely overlooked.

The fact that the project had access to a substantial amount of funding early on seemingly made it appear more credible to partners, partially explaining the high number of participating actors in the process.

However, with some solutions having been successful, new challenges have arisen in their wake; an example has been the newly installed heat-saving windows being unable to relieve the outside windows of frost during the long and cold winter, thus reducing visibility and light inflow.

Another example of the challenges of producing solutions within a wider and complex system is that of waste management. Envac introduced a new local waste management system using bags of different colours separated optically in order to increase efficiency of waste sorting. However, the nearest waste management station with the capacity of optically sorting these bags is currently located in Eskilstuna, approximately 110–120 km from Årsta. This naturally calls for introducing equivalent stations closer to the local area, which is currently being looked into.

Initially, some protests occurred due to the announcement of rent increases in the area. While the local rents were indeed substantially lower than those of other adjacent areas, and the renovation in itself being the main reason for the raise (rather than the GS project), this might have contributed to a reluctance towards participation in GS on behalf of local residents.

Related SDGs
  • 7.1 By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services
  • 7.2 By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix
  • 9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all
  • 11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
  • 11.6 By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management
  • 11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
  • 11.A Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning
  • 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
Further reading

Digital Demo

Challenges

The public sector of Stockholm and Stockholm County needs new forms of partnership to manage some of the most urgent challenges of today and the approaching future decades. Increased pressure on health services, a diminishing supply of fresh water, and an increasing percentage of elderly are a few examples of problems that public actors can no longer handle on their own. In order to secure a socially and ecologically sustainable city, technological solutions need to be developed using a combination of academic, commercial, and practical knowledge. Digital Demo Stockholm (DDS) was initiated by KTH and the two major public actors in the region, the City of Stockholm and the Stockholm County Council. The purpose was to generate innovative solutions to societal problems using digital techniques and to establish lasting structures for trans-sector partnerships in the region.

The companies involve, of which many were already established partners of KTH and its education programmes, had a particular interest in accelerating digital innovations in order to demonstrate these to their many visitors from all over the world. Stockholm, with its relatively small population, is not an important market for any of the companies itself, but rather is an exhibition arena for global investors.

Good practices & Solutions

Forming a think tank consisting of partner representatives, DDS decided to match its demos against an already existing challenge-driven inventory of societal challenges in the City of Stockholm. These challenges were broken down into workshops during which a number of possible demo projects were picked out. The industrial partners assumed a project managing role for each demo and then applied for funding from Vinnova’s R&D programs. Openlab supported DDS with a process manager, using Design Thinking as a chosen methodology for creating innovative solutions. Testing, evaluating, refining, and re-testing is thus a regular process throughout the DDS operations and its demo projects.

“DDS … is more like a big learning process than it is a project”

DDS is heavily dependent on commitment from the leadership. Being a cross-sectorial collaboration, it demands more of its participating individuals than it would if run by only one actor. The steering group has to be ready to intervene in case there is no progress.

The procurement of innovative products and services faces obstacles from Swedish legislation. To tackle these obstacles, DDS appointed a policy council with the specific task of clarifying the necessary legal, operational, and commercial frames in which the partners need to operate.

Outcome & Opportunities

In 2018, DDS had six on-going independent demo projects: iWater, Tech Tensta, Smarta lås (Smart Locks), Smarta trafikljus (Smart Traffic Lights), Safe user-centred healthcare and social care in home environments, and Energy Efficient Healthcare. The results have been tested and presented, for example, in May 2018 at Openlab.

Lessons learned & Recommendations

Each participating actor needs to acknowledge the benefit they gain from the partnership. Municipal politicians need to understand the value of them achieving political leverage from innovation within DDS; business leaders need to see that they attract investors even though not achieving direct gains from the process; and researchers need to appreciate the relationships and networks that they build during the process.

Related SDGs
  • 4.7 By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development
  • 6.4 By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity
  • 7.A By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology
  • 8.2 Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors
  • 9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
  • 11.6 By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management
  • 11.B By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels
  • 12.2 By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
  • 12.6 Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle
  • 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
  • 13.3 Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning
  • 17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships
Further reading

The Street as Public Space

The Traffic Office in Stockholm is commissioned to, together with private sector and citizens, finding places for pop-up parks and pedestrian streets with potential to vitalise the public space. The vision is that this experiment will contribute to the development of new regulations and strategies that enables initiators in Stockholm to carry out activities and create meeting places in the public space in the future.

Challenges 
The public planning in Stockholm has been guided by cars for 60 years. There is a growing consensus for change from a city of cars to a city of public transport, and new initiatives are coming from both officials and private sectors. The region recently adopted a new vision for the city, “Living Stockholm”. The aim is to create prerequisites for a vibrant city with diverse activities and inclusive places in the public space by co-creating the space together with initiators, Stockholmers and politicians. In order to realise this vision it is crucial to free the public space from car traffic and create space for pedestrians and cyclists

Good practices & solutions

Initially, rules and regulations may need to be changed to facilitate co-creation initiators in their reshaping of the shared public spaces. It is imperative that local government officials and politicians are in tune, and that there are clear political directives to push through adopted strategies.

Outcome & opportunities

The City Commissioner for Traffic does not believe that a transformation from car to public transport and bike will involve any major problems for Stockholmers. The Commissioner does not believe that the inhabitants of Stockholm are in need of their cars to the extent previously presumed.  With this in mind, the city have chosen to pursue a more compact inner city.

Lessons learned & recommendations
The ambition to create a “living Stockholm” and make Stockholm a city guided by public transport, is a big commitment and a challenge for the city. Such an initiative  requires bold political directives.

Related SDG targets

11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities.

9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all.

15.9 By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts

Partnerships central for innovation

Today, all electricity in Reykjavik is produced with hydroelectric power, and households are geothermally heated; energy usage in district heating emits no greenhouse gases. The current administration with the Mayor of Reykjavik, Dagur B. Eggertsson, in the lead, has made significant progress in the field of energy and resources, and have for the last 15 years made remarkable achievements in reducing greenhouse gases.

Challenges 

A major challenge, globally, is to reduce carbon emissions and The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated that Carbon Capture and Storage, CCS, is crucial in tackling climate change in the most cost-effective way. In 2009, the Council of Reykjavík implemented a policy to reduce 35% of emissions by year 2020 and 73% by 2050, compared to emissions in 2007. 

Good practices & solutions

Cooperation with the business community has been central for Reykjavik in finding sustainable solutions to combat climate change. To illustrate this, the Mayor took initiative to get the 100 largest Icelandic companies on board for COP21. Together with the non-profit organization Icelandic Center for Corporate Social Responsibility, companies were invited to make a declaration to set concrete goals and targets commiting to reduce carbon emissions. This was submitted to the climate conference.

Outcome & opportunities

In collaboration with the energy company Reykjavik Energy and scientists from the university, a method to turn CO2 into stone and store it underground has recently been developed. In June 2016 a project called Carbfix, led by Reykjavik Energy, had a climate change breakthrough in their CCS work. The project made it possible to bury CO2 underground and turn it into stone, instead of gas, within only two years.This promises a more affordable, more secure, and more environmentally friendly way of burying CO2 emissions in other regions.

Lessons learned & recommendations

Partnership within the private sector and cooperation with the business community has been central for the city in finding sustainable solutions to combat climate change.

Related SDG targets 

7.1 By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services.

7.A By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology.

9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning.

Further reading
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/09/co2-turned-into-stone-in-iceland-in-climate-change-breakthrough

Pro-poor proactivity

The organization Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC) was founded in 1984. They work in India as a part of an alliance with Mahila Milan and NSDF. SPARC works together with Slum Dweller International (SDI) in a Global Network.
Challenges

How do poor people, who are the main subjects of development interventions, become proactive and central to the solution? When SPARC began their work in 1984, they were working with women who lived on the streets of Mumbai facing routine evictions. It was a vicious circle where pavement dwellers were seen as a threat to society and therefor evicted, but because of their social and economic position they had no choice but to remain on the street and face new evictions when their settlement was rebuilt.

Good practices & solutions

SPARC undertook a first enumeration of all the people who lived on the pavements to show the municipality that they were the country’s poorest people. It showed that the dwellers consisted of landless people from rural areas that had come into the city to find work and food for themselves and their children. The reason they lived on the pavements was because their earnings did not cover the cost of public housing.

Over a ten-year period, the organization continued to work with pavement dwellers and continued to collect data about informal settlements as well as work with women’s groups within these communities. The data was then presented to the municipality, the state government, the national government and international agencies. The organization wanted to apply pressure and demand accountability by pressing the central government to take responsibility of finding a solution for people residing in informal settlements. It is because of absenct development investment in the dwellers’home cities and districts that they have come to live on the pavement of Mumbai or in informal settlements.

To incorporate the community women, a house designing competition was held where the winning sketch was later built. This method has been used, in different parts of the country, by community women to build houses. It demonstrates that the people are capable to build houses that meet their needs when they are given the opportunity. The federation work together with the government to finance the building and possible relocation of informal settlements.

Outcome & opportunities

It is now a local government policy to relocate and assign land to evicted slum of pavement dwellers. SPARC continues their work in other parts of the country, using the Mumbai experience as a blueprint. This has become an international precedent. In both India, South Africa and in many other countries, the local SDI federations have formed their own financial and construction company. This blends the money coming in from different actors and helps poor women to take up contracts to build their own houses.

Lessons learned & recommendations

Everyone can use these strategies to help their local authorities to prioritize and invest in the projects that attends the needs of the poor people. It is however crucial to have great local knowledge to be able to approach and involve the informal settlement in the development process as well as in dialogues with local authorities. SPARC stresses that it is of vital importance that urban development needs to be in collaboration between the municipality and the people, as it helps build the much needed trust between the parties. Additionally, for a solution that is sustainable, women need to be at the centre of it.

All the federations within the SDI family, help the neighbourhoods to collect good quality comprehensive data about themselves. The point is to either help aggregate the data at the city level or disaggregate the data to a community or a neighbourhood level, because no city gathers data about informality. This kind of census does not have a classification. So, by poor people gathering data about themselves, they produce quantitative information that forces the municipality to look at these people as requiring acknowledgment. This is a perspective that has been ignored and should be elevated in order to truly commit to, and achieve, the SDGs.

Related SDG targets
  • 1.1 By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day
  • 5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
  • 6.2 By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations
  • 9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and trans-border infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all
  • 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
  • 11.1 By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums
  • 11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
  • 11.b By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation…
  • 16.b Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development
  • 16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision- making at all levels
  • 17.16 Enhance the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge
Further reading

#Women4Cities interview – Sheela Patel

#Women4Cities

SPARC

Slum Dwellers International

Electricity – Hammarby sjöstad 2.0

Challenges

The area of Hammarby Sjöstad has a long history of sustainable urban development. Reinvented as a sustainable best practice in Stockholm in the 1990’s, it was long acknowledged as the best example of promoting sustainable waste and heat management. The Hammarby Model (Swedish: Hammarbymodellen), the fundamental concept for planning the area through eco-governance (reduction and re-usage of energy, water and waste), is considered a promising component for Swedish service export. However, during recent years, a local self-image of having reached far enough has been challenged due to increased demands and higher sustainability goals. Calls for scaling up innovative sustainable efforts led to ElectriCITY (EC) being founded as an economic association in 2014 by Allan Larsson, an experienced driving individual in several sustainable urban development processes, and other individuals living in Hammarby Sjöstad. The initial purpose was to promote sustainable energy use by organising citizens through the many local housing associations, constituting approximately half the local population. EC became a partner to Sjöstadsföreningen, umbrella organisation for 50+ housing associations in Hammarby Sjöstad. Subsequently, EC was established as a collaboration platform for innovation between companies, research and civil organisations. Hammarby Sjöstad 2.0 was launched by EC as a process of improving local conditions for sustainable living and system transformation through eco-governance and collaboration across sectors, with high environmental requirements as those of other urban development projects. The overarching ambitions are system transformations in energy, mobility and circular economy, realised through a diverse number of projects, including the testing of a sharing economy, efficient energy and transport management and more sophisticated clean technology innovation. As Stockholm has committed to reaching the Paris agreement’s 2050 goals already by 2040, EC has committed to locally exceed these requirements in Hammarby Sjöstad as a frontrunner example, reaching the Paris goals already by 2030.

Good practices & solutions

Trough strategic partnership, EC, Sjöstadsföreningen and the housing associations have been able to attract some 40 different actors from industry, public administration, invest companies, technology innovation and research. Since the 1990s, the main approach for Hammarby Sjöstad is to conduct mission-driven innovation, in which clear objectives, time plans and a joint effort are being fostered. The innovation process is thus rendered more substantial and powerful. This fundamental strategy is being refined and developed further within EC. The mission-driven approach serves as a structure or framework for enabling sustainable co-creation, as it drives processes into selecting relevant participants from concerned sectors, then working towards various specific goals on a systemic level with the overarching objective of a climate neutral area in 2030. The many sub-projects then co-create according to their own prerequisites and objectives. EC functions as a platform, testbed and urban living lab for testing of a wide range of sustainable solutions, with individuals working and living in the area as everyday users. The solutions are developed, provided, tested and/or evaluated by actors from academia, civil society, public administration and the private sector in collaboration with the housing associations of Sjöstadsföreningen. EC thus functions as a matchmaking actor, distributing relevant actors to the associations, and a co-funder of activities initiated within the process of Hammarby Sjöstad 2.0.

Outcome & opportunities

“What we do is not that … innovative, it is common sense … obviously, [this is] how things should be done. But there is, like, nobody who thinks about that.”

EC encompasses a quite exceptionally large spectrum of activities and projects, all of which share a fundamental ambition of improving quality of life for local residents while securing a sustainable future. Main focus areas are energy, mobility and digital infrastructure, with a selection of activities and initiatives listed below.

Main areas:
System transformation in energy
Mapping of energy use has been a fundamental component for raising local awareness. The Stockholm Environmental Department (Miljöförvaltningen) contributed this mapping to EC in its initial stage.
Energy at Home (Swedish: Energi hemma); an initiative co-funded by Naturvårdsverket for increasing energy efficiency and promote better investments in private homes and associations through knowledge, idea exchange and inspiration.
Solar panels testbed
Downhole heat exchanger in about 20 housing associations
– Climate steering for decreased power requirement
– Strategic partnerships for increased investments
– Urban living lab for future energy systems
– E2B2; a project platform conducting big data analysis for energy efficiency and a virtual forum for knowledge exchange between housing associations.
Matchmaking between cleantech companies and international stakeholders.

System transformation in mobility

Charging electric cars at home (Swedish: Ladda hemma); an initiative co-funded by Naturvårdsverket for increasing the density of charging stations for electric cars with the goal of keeping 1000 active stations in local garages by 2020.
Electric car pools at home
Policy lab for accelerating electrified traffic (initiative with Energiforsk)
All taxis electrified by 2025; residents in housing associations in Hammarby Sjöstad are invited to support Taxi Stockholm’s transformation to electric vehicles by only ordering electric taxis.
Bussplan Stockholm; together with ABB, InfraNode, Siemens, Volvo, Scania and Vattenfall, EC works to promote electric buses in all of Stockholm County. It has now been scaled up on a national level as Bussplan Sverige with Energiforsk as project managing actor.
Digital meeting room; instead of flying to attend meetings, e-limousines pick up and drop off attendants to meetings that are held in Hammarby Sjöstad with high resolution technology and high performance bandwidth. Thus, attendants save time and experience improved quality of life while abstaining from unsustainable travel.
Framework agreements; instead of each housing association purchasing its own particular basic services (such as heating and facility management), all housing associations join together to purchase a particular service from the same supplier. This creates leverage for issuing demands of more sustainable procedures.
Coordinated sustainable transports; about 15 housing associations are coordinating deliveries to reduce the number of transports, while promoting transformation to renewable vehicle energy.
Strategic partnering; 13 housing associations jointly demand a service from a supplier while the supplier states their required profit. As far as both demands are met, other costs are shared within a common project of service delivery.

Snyggt & Tryggt (Nice and Safe)
An initiative for local safety measures, among others involving Nattvandrarna (voluntary night-walking groups).

Sharing Cities
A sharing economy testbed.

EC is also a partner in, among others, sustainable urban innovation programme Viable Cities founded in 2017.

As a large portion of the Stockholm region’s housing stock currently consists of housing associations 2 , the EC model for local commitment has potential for expanding to other parts of the city (Reimersholme, Gamla stan) and other cities (Trollhättan, Jönköping). Although seldom being as organised as Sjöstadsföreningen, housing associations have a good starting point for expanded collaboration in many areas. In any case, the solutions being tested are generalisable and often considered for export. Thus, if successful outcomes from EC were to spread on a larger scale, it
could have massive implications for the realisation of Agenda 2030 (for example regarding energy efficiency and carbon emission reduction) in and outside of Sweden.

Lessons learned & recommendations

The key to driving sustainable development has in the case of Hammarby Sjöstad been to organise oneself into larger contexts. The overarching mission driving the innovation process, i.e. the clear and highly ambitious environmental goals exceeding those of the City of Stockholm, has contributed substantially to results and the innovation process.

Housing associations are characterised by low commitment and a tranquil trust in the free market. Generally, holding a association board’s position is considered a necessary evil or duty rather than an important mission. Furthermore, association boards outsource facility service delivery in order to save time and responsibility. This has, among other things, lead to inefficient housing and facility management. By bringing associations together in strategic partnerships, commitment can be kindled and harnessed to improve local quality of life and continuity in association management. ElectriCITY is thus an example on how to utilise the potentials of local commitment for accelerating sustainable development.

All pilots and tests of solutions need to be financed, not only with in kind contributions but facilities and equipment; this is a constant challenge, also problematising the open question of ownership. Companies have a traditional linear production procedure, in which they ultimately engage lawyers to establish certain exclusive rights over products or services and control of communication. Such routines need to be modified in joint projects.

Engaged partners & stakeholder groups

Civil society: Global utmaning, Sjöstadsföreningen. Research organisations: KTH, RISE, IVL, Energiforsk. Public sector: City of Stockholm Environmental Department, Invest Stockholm.
Public companies: SEK, Vattenfall. Businesses: IBM, Intel, Skanska, Siemens, SBAB, Volvo, Nissan, E-On, JLO Invest, DEFA, Bengt Dahlgren, Enstar, Envac, Hertz, Imek, Infranode, Länsförsäkringar, Charge Amps, Saab, Renault, ABB, Innenco, L&T, NetPort, Xeric, STIK, Teyi, Taxi Stockholm, Veidekke, HSB, Sweco, CyclEurope, BoTrygg, Stockholm Cleantech.
Architect firms: Tengbom, White, Atrium Ljungberg. Other: Teknikföretagen, Riksbyggen.

Further reading

Hammarby Sjöstad 2.0

HÅLLBARA LEKMILJÖER (SUSTAINABLE PLAYING ENVIRONMENTS)

Hållbara Lekmiljöer is a testbed project for transforming urban playgrounds into digitalised, sustainable, user-friendly green play environments.

Challenges

Planning a city with its children in focus is becoming an increasingly compelling incentive in sustainable development. This has resulted in the predominating design of playgrounds for children receiving critique. The archetypal playground consists of one or a few swings, rubber asphalt, and tools and structures for play. Research on out-door play however, show that such playgrounds have a low play value compared to environments that are more nature-like with more abundant resources for play. The trend today is to down-prioritize play environments close to homes and schools in favour of play parks located further away. This makes everyday play hard to access for children, being especially problematic for children with special needs. Moreover, it produces unnecessary strain on environmental functions in an urban environment in need of more efficiently used green spaces, as well as paying little or no mind to the proximity of dangerous traffic. In fact, detailed interferences in playgrounds do not create lasting qualitative play value for children. Thus, the concept of ‘playground’ (Swedish: lekplats) is gradually being replaced by ‘play
environment’ (Swedish: lekmiljö). The project Digitala och fysiska lekmiljöer/Hållbara lekmiljöer i staden has, in various steps since 2013, elaborated on how to innovate these environments by bringing together relevant housing and construction companies, municipalities, landscape architects, playground designers, researchers and local children in testbeds in which the natural environment is utilized in combination with digital components for better outdoor play value.

Good practices & solutions

Digitalisation and utilisation of existing natural conditions are guiding factors in the process, thus allowing for more green spaces and ecosystem services. The constellation of partners has been involved in a hands-on manner, often engaging physically with the environment themselves by working collaboratively on-site. Thus, all stakeholders have viewed the consequences of their ideas in real environments, helping them to screen some of the less constructive prototypes. Children, naturally, have been involved as the chief evaluating actors regarding play value together with
the partners. Digital tools have been integrated into the natural environment, using sound and light effects to inspire play with natural materials.

Local actors have had a substantial role in shaping the outcome; in Vårby gård, a stigmatised low-income suburb of Stockholm, the local housing company Balder helped create commitment among local children in formulating their challenges and possibilities. Children were temporarily given cameras for documenting their everyday life and expressing their needs and wishes regarding playing opportunities. The project has experienced several phases, during which some actors have been brought in and others have stepped out. Prisma Tibro was brought in by the project manager Eva-Lotta Sallnäs Pysander at KTH who realised that the company produces exactly the kind of robust materials for outdoor equipment that the project needed, but for a totally different kind of product.

Outcome & opportunities

Apart from producing a buyer’s competence guidebook (Swedish: beställarkompetensguide), the project has established a new area of competence within KTH as a coordinating actor but equally so a new business model among playground designers, architects and housing companies emerges. The concept of play environment is gradually becoming more accepted among the partner
organisations and potentially on a broader national level.

Lessons learned & recommendations

Designing the dialogue process has been a key concern; traditional dialogue meetings with target groups and stakeholders do not work well enough in this type of project. Asking people, including children, what they wish for in their playgrounds is not an efficient way of creating the optimal playing environment, as these questions produce archetypal answers. Instead, you need to ask different questions focussing on children’s concrete experiences and habits of play in a specific setting, observing children’s behavior and response to play environments, and experimenting
iteratively in order to evaluate what creates positive prerequisites for play as an activity. Research shows that play is intense and that children exhibit a browsing behavior in archetypal playgrounds, and that play is more long-lasting and engaging in natural environments. Combining the engaging mechanisms in digital play with known benefits of play in an environment with vegetation, terrain and natural materials can create innovative play environments with a high play value accessible to children in their everyday contexts.

It is interesting to note the generational differences inherent in the process, as younger architects and planners are generally devoted to the idea of natural playing environments whereas older generations are more used to the notion that children only feel safe to play in traditionally designed and secluded spaces. However, enthusiasm is not sufficient if the still rather radical and disruptive principles in the project are going to become commonplace in policies and construction operations. The positive outcomes need to be effective enough but also comfortable enough to uphold in order to be lasting and sustainable.

An essential starting point has been a common goal among the project partners. With regards to the co-creative process, it has proved vital to the project that all actors need to be involved not merely as decision-makers or in discussions but in the actual operations occurring on-site. Vinnova’s Challenge Driven Innovation programme states the need for concrete product development showing alternatives to existing solutions, thus encouraging physical engagement in the creation process among all participants. This creates understanding of one’s own role in the larger creation
chain, trust in the process and confidence in the jointly created vision. Team building has been fostered through hands-on working procedures and site visits rather than just meetings. Commitment cannot be successfully created unless an actor has been present in shaping the physical result with other actors. Moreover, the steering committee has been dedicated, which is considered a main prerequisite for success. Sending a representative to convey messages is insufficient; direct contact needs to be established between coordinators, steering committee members and driving spirits within the various organisations.

All things considered, fostering a buyer’s competence among municipalities and other clients of children’s outdoor play environments is considered one of the key effects with potential of transforming outdoor play environments for a sustainable urban development.

Engaged partners & stakeholder groups

Balder housing company, Children, Hags, HIQ, Huddinge Municipality, Hälsoträdgården, KTH, NCC, Nordic Parks, Prisma Tibro, SLU, Uppsala University, Urbio AB, Örebro Municipality.

Further reading

Hållbara Lekmiljöer

CULTIVATING CITY BAZAARS

Cleantech Högdalen is a cluster of environmental technology businesses in the Stockholm industrial suburb of Högdalen and run as a project and budgetary assignment from the City of Stockholm. It was founded by Tillväxtverket (Board of Enterprises), Vinnova (Board of Innovation), Stockholm Cleantech, IVL, Svensk Solenergi, Science Partner, Högdalsgruppen and the County Administrative Board of Stockholm. Despite initial lack of interest from local actors, Cleantech Högdalen managed to establish testbeds such as organic waste management development. Throughout the project, a network of more than 100 private and public enterprises focussing on sustainable energy, systems integration and energy optimisation has been established.

Challenges

Local property owners in Högdalen prospected for new ways of improving existing buildings in innovative ways. Cleantech Högdalen decided to test indoors cultivation of food products, since this concept was largely unexplored in Stockholm. While the promotion of green technologies and local businesses was the main objective, a driving vision was also to create job opportunities for people with professional disadvantages while creating prerequisites for more sustainable food production. Thus, Odlande Stadsbasarer was initiated in 2017, cultivating greens in abandoned
facilities in central Högdalen.

Good practices & solutions

In 2016, the municipality of Botkyrka had intended, with support from Vinnova, a pilot of cultivation in garage buildings, but had soon withdrawn due to highly calculated costs. Learning by their example, Odlande Stadsbasarer made sure only to use existing and unused buildings in order to keep down expenses. From an early stage, dialogue within the consortium was centered around recognizing approaches and operations with positive results and then cautiously scaling these up. Enterprises with sufficient financial capacity would cover their own expenses and risks when overtaking property targeted for growing, since it was considered unsustainable to demand this risk to be taken by public actors.

Furthermore, moving from a general business innovation approach to a more particular focus on each involved enterprise proved more feasible. Keeping the main focus of supporting local business and commerce innovation, rather than “improving the world”, has also guided the project.

KTH researchers investigated the results with regards to sustainable cultivation. Participating actors were left free to communicate and promote their efforts, sometimes in isolation and other times in collaboration.

Outcome & opportunities

The project established a small-scale underground food cultivation in Högdalen, using and selling its products in local establishments. The entire project in Stockholm and Helsingborg has contributed to employment of 10 people, 2 have gained employment in Högdalen as a result of the project.

Region Stockholm’s Growth and Regional Planning Department has given financial support to Invest Stockholm for investigating whether 10% of Stockholm’s food production could be realised in a similar fashion.

Possible scaling up will first show pilots of the project and promote the philosophy behind urban indoors food cultivation and then evolve into testbeds. Other future plans include the establishment of a local and vibrant co-working space, combining Food Tech and Clean Tech.

Lessons learned & recommendations

Co-creating innovation driven collaboration in itself was deemed a considerable challenge by the organising partners, above all the prospect of creating something previously unexplored. Coordinating the consortium demanded high levels of openness and letting go of prestige. The other main challenges concerned knowledge and acceptance. KTH, SLU (and Swedish research in general) had scarce experience of investigating the concept of urban gardening, although it is a vital part of many international urban regions such as Singapore. Few actors, public or private, allow for or support progressive development of property or estate. The public sector is also not considered a frontrunner for innovation in general, which creates a stepping stone for scaling up the project.

Funding agencies such as Vinnova could support projects further, i.e. by using recommendations from previous technological insights. Public social authorities or researchers are the actors best suited for calculating the socio-economical pros and cons of a project such as Odlande stadsbasarer. It is also highly advised to map international urban systems and urban policies in general to see what is going on in with regards to sustainable innovation without assuming that Stockholm is at the forefront – which is far from always the case.

Engaged partners & stakeholder groups

Invest Stockholm, KTH, Rågsveds folkets hus, Citycon, City of Stockholm, SLU, local residents, local
start-ups, CleanTech Högdalen.

Further reading

Odlande stadsbasarer

Testbädd Gröna Solberga

The test bed in Solberga is a form of research and demonstration facility where small companies, researchers and various organizations cooperate with the residents to find solutions together for the housing sector’s environmental challenges.

Challenges

Housing accounts for roughly 40% of energy use in Sweden, making apartment and facility renovation and innovation an essential prerequisite for reaching SDGs 6 and 11. Moreover, many urban areas in Sweden are facing increasing risks of flooding from heavier rainfalls due to climate change.

The current standard procedure when launching a testbed is to address particular residences and almost never local communities as a whole. This was partly the reason why the Solberga Testbed, labeled by its organisers as “The most living testbed in Sweden”, was launched in February 2018 by IVL and Stockholmshem, funded by ERUF platform Grön Bostad.

The main objective of the testbed is to promote better management of stormwater, surface water and waste. Companies and researchers are invited to join the testbed for experimenting with new solutions and behavioural change for reducing energy use in various contexts while contributing to a viable area and its social value.

Stockholmshem have clear financial goals in attracting business and residents to Solberga, where they own a considerable amount of apartments. The residents are included insofar as they are able on a voluntary basis, endangering a broad long-term citizen commitment. Grön Bostad wish to improve the environmental management conditions in Solberga while attracting private and public actors as well as citizens to keep the process going, hopefully by far outliving the project itself. On top of that, the structural fund has to approve of the results reported.

Good practices & solutions

Using a smaller community for trial-and-error activities with the possibility to fail repeatedly is considered crucial for a successful testbed. Therefore, creating good relations with the residents is key, thereby creating acceptance for a quantity of ideas to be tried out in their daily life. Companies wanting to be a part of the trials is also a welcomed feature.

Residents are invited to participate in test projects such as urban gardening and surface water management through workshops and casual activities. Stockholmshem is known to house many environmentally committed tenants, further facilitating the ongoing work of the testbed.

Outcome & opportunities

Of the solutions tested, notable examples are surface water being diverted into urban gardening use and reducing smell in local waste management in order to facilitate placing waste collecting stations close to residents. Surface water, putting significant pressure on water treatment systems, will be led through specially designed drain pipes instead of down the general municipal draining system. Preserved in local facilities, it will be utilized in hydroponics (water-only gardening) managed by urban gardening company Kretsloppsbolaget. The smell-reducing technology is provided by waste management company Bioteria. In a longer perspective, the organisers hope to contribute to an enhanced circular economy in the area. The project is open for new cleantech companies as long as they want to be included, with Stockholmshem also harboring hopes of appealing to the social aspect as well as the ecological, for example involving the residents in urban gardening, thereby improving social trust and community in the area.

Lessons learned & recommendations

Involving citizens can be difficult, as they do not possess the same time schedules and possibilities as other involved actors; it is particularly necessary to foster good relations with them, as well as with housing owners. Being allowed to fail with experiments occurring in their own environment requires a high level of trust and understanding. Collaborative projects cannot be written, they need to be equally conducted and tried in practice as they need to be prepared and planned. This may be obvious to many, but in academia it is hardly commonplace.

Engaged partners & stakeholder groups

Grön Bostad, Stockholmshem, local residents, cleantech SMEs, IVL.

Further reading

Gröna Solberga

Leader

Leader is a method for rural development elaborated in the 1990’s, also useable in urban areas. The leading principle is to make local communities participants in developing their future. A specific area or region can choose to become a Leader area, of which there are currently 48 existing in Sweden. Each area has a central office to which local cross-sectorial development and innovation projects can apply for funding and support. An earlier Leader development project in the Stockholm Region, UROSS (Utveckla Roslagen och Stockholms Skärgård, “Developing the Roslagen Area and the Stockholm Archipelago”) 2007-2013, effectively utilised Leader and confirmed its potential for creating local participatory initiatives and hope for the future.

Challenges

The Stockholm archipelago, with its roughly 30 000 islands (of which about 200 are inhabited), together with the vast rural areas surrounding the city comprise a substantial part of the Stockholm Region. The archipelago alone hosts around 3 million tourists every year. Much of the region’s wildlife, green areas, cultural heritage and nature reserves are located in these areas. Although sparsely populated, with a total of 113 991 stable residents in 2014, of which only 7 348 lived on the islands all year round, the countryside and archipelago together comprise around 5% of the total regional population. However, these areas are generally overlooked while facing major social and ecological sustainability challenges. Tourism has dramatically raised estate prices, especially in the archipelago. Establishing stable internet connections is still a challenge in most areas. The large local fishing business is challenged due to previously  unsustainable draft. Unemployment is relatively low in the archipelago (est. 2,5 % in 2014) but dramatically higher in the inland rural areas (est. 17% in 2011). The access to public services in the Stockholm archipelago is generally considered to be equally remote as in some northern parts of Sweden (Norrbotten).

Out of the 50 Swedish islands regarded as depopulated in 2013, 22 were located in the Stockholm Region.  In conclusion, the residents of the archipelago and rural areas of Stockholm are in need of empowerment in order to strengthen their own local businesses as well as creating feasible and sustainable living conditions.

Leader Stockholmsbygd was initiated in 2014 as a development project and non-profit organisation envisioning “an archipelago and a countryside in which local initiatives, interacting with the surrounding world, develop sustainable and attractive societies, spreading hope for the future.” It was approved in 2016 by the Swedish Board of Agriculture, meaning that Leader Stockholmsbygd was officially one of 48 approved Leader areas.

Good practices & solutions

Priority efforts for Leader Stockholmsbygd are the development of a local community attractive to visitors and inhabitants, promoting local foodstuffs and markets, creating a good environment and increasing sustainability. One aim is to further diversify the local community and its actors through increased collaboration around distribution of local products and services, logistics and marketing. This will also entail increased knowledge exchange and new meeting fora among the actors and with the surrounding world. Finally, a particular goal is to increase local knowledge about ecosystem services and sustainable development in order to strengthen the biological diversity of land and sea in the concerned areas.

The project/non-profit association functions mainly as a central resource of support for locally initiated projects. These projects are able to apply for funding and are supported in this process. Approval of funding depends on a set of criteria as a broader benefit to the leader area, locally-based approach and participation, collaboration with other stakeholders and sectors and last but not least contribution to one of four focus areas (smart villages, tourism, local food production and marine/nature conservation). Once approved, projects can receive investment funding as well as network building support, since Leader Stockholmsbygd has knowledge about potential collaborators. Leader Stockholmsbygd explicitly states a desire to promote cross-sectorial collaboration, diversity and synergies between stakeholders.

In 2014, 13 bygdemöten- meetings with local neighborhoods – were held, in total attracting around 140 participants. Participants included fishing associations, SME associations, neighbourhood associations, environmental activists, sports clubs, womens’ associations, farmers and local branches of Naturskyddsföreningen, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation. During each meeting, a SWOT analysis was made to guide the discussions about needs and possibilities for future efforts.

Potential initiatives included increased local food production, tourism development, local investment companies, more rental apartments and recreational activities. Leader professionals are the target group of a particular academic course offered by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), in English “Innovation – coaching innovative processes”.

Outcome & opportunities

The whole area has a rich tradition of voluntary associations, family and small-scale businesses and social entrepreneurs. A certain self-made mentality pervades the area and its people. Instead of public meeting spaces, the civil society offers the most scenes for dialogue and community. Also, being a close neighbour to Sweden’s largest urban centre does provide certain opportunities that can be exploited further. As tourists are already numerous, an increased profiling of locally and organically grown foods could be further marketed to the environmentally aware urban consumers or attract visitors. Further use of digital marketing is considered especially beneficial to these areas, since they lack sufficient infrastructure. Being a more niched, entrenched and accessible project partner to stakeholders, Leader Stockholmsbygd has an advantage over other EU funds.

Lessons learned & recommendations

As the project attempts to grasp a diverse and wide area, the conditions for enabling local initiatives vary significantly. For example, the level of commitment and resourcefulness usually decreases with proximity to urban areas, as responsibility is expected from other actors rather than the local community. Due to budget restraints, LEADER Stockholmsbygd does not have the capacity to create a common platform for the different initiatives to meet and exchange knowledge. Lack of investment for local initiatives is  common. As mentioned in the above section, local investment funds is framed as a general alternative to applying for investment from larger actors. The younger generation is generally considered difficult to engage, partly due to the perceived lack of future possibilities, the main challenge in this regard not being work opportunities per se, but rather the lack of accessible societal services and housing. Involving a sufficiently large number of local actors is key. A well-balanced mix of required expertise is usually present in most areas. Balancing the local and global aspects is particularly difficult. Local residents need a stronger sense of community while achieving stronger bonds with and openness towards the rest of the world. If this is not achieved, matters will not move forward.

Related SDG targets

 

URBAN ICT ARENA

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.

Autopiloten

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.

GCity

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.

Challenges

“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

urbanictarena

MO-BO: architecture for sustainable mobility

Challenges

Mo-Bo is a project attempting to solve the challenges of juxtaposing sustainably built housing stands with a sustainable transport system, in which fewer vehicles carry more residents and resources are used in a more efficient way. Contemporary architecture – the “Normal” – is considered insufficient to meet the challenges of sustainable mobility and housing as it still puts private car driving at the centre. Thus, for example, parking lots are still highly prioritised in construction and design processes, obstructing ambitions of transitioning to sustainable housing policy and practice. With Mo-Bo, coordinating actor Theory Into Practice wishes to explore and develop a “New Normal” housing concept, expanding resource efficient transport capacity while tending to the needs of residents.

Good practices & solutions

With KTH/SLU and Trivector providing qualitative and quantitative evaluation respectively, the living lab and testbeds will be spaces of experimentation during one year. Among other procedures, travelling habits of residents are measured in intervals, steering documents such as development contracts are developed and tested, and different practical solutions are tested in the housing testbeds, including shared economy models and digital innovations. Spaces and functions are designed according to mobility needs, green value and desired behavioral change among residents. The developed architectural models are then to be spread and scaled up to substantially influence and alter the current housing policy, thus changing “Normal” into “New Normal”. The theoretical framework for this is Transition Management (TM), a structured process of change in which three levels are considered: niche (innovative environment), regime (the status quo of social and technological practice) and landscape (societal values). In order to influence the regime level, TM strengthens the niche through active reflection and joint activity within the project partner constellation. For example, Learning History is used as a reflecting tool. Thus, the operational process is pre-designed on a detailed level, attempting to address the issue from a holistic perspective.

For the KTH researchers, Mo-Bo is less of a challenge compared to previous experiences, in which KTH participants have risked becoming too dominant. In this case, with Theory Into Practice leading the process, researchers have a much more designated and limited role; this means that researchers do not need to focus on enabling co-creation. As designers and architects, Theory Into Practice are considered an experienced actor with regards to co-creating with different sectors and knowledge groups. However, co-creation has not been at the center of focus or a conscious part of the design.

Outcome & opportunities

As municipalities are a central part of the project, issues of policy development are a priority objective. If the tested solutions are to be scaled and normalised, co-operation of public actors are a necessity. If successfully conducted, the project will launch potential innovative business models and opportunities for mobility.

There are several gains from a social-ecological perspective; as parking lots diminish, the soil surrounding the buildings is allowed to be thicker, thus enabling further gardening and cultivation. “You cannot separate [social and ecological] aspects from one another in housing.”

Lessons learned & recommendations

Coordinating the various interests of the actors is key to knitting together the collaborative effort. Researchers have an inherent interest in publishing their work which has to be met along with the interests of Theory Into Practice, whose main objective remains creating generalisable and sustainable solutions.

Applying for research funding proves to be a complicated matter in multi-stakeholder projects such as Mo-Bo; organisations rarely receive full or equal financial coverage, with private companies easier obtaining larger funds as their interests differ. The increasing incentives for researchers to participate in co-creation with other sectors is contradicted by the fact that funding is insufficient. Moreover, working hours are nearly impossible to assess, especially when considering time for developing products or services in innovative processes.

Engaged partners and stakeholder groups

KTH, LaTERRE, local residents, SLU, Theory Into Practice, Trivector, Upplands Väsby Municipality, Uppsala Municipality, Urbio AB.

Further reading

Theory into Practice

Mo-Bo

Divercity

Process and policy development project for joint building ventures.

Challenges

Current Swedish housing construction is a complex process, usually spanning at least 3-4 years, involving municipalities and a handful of building contractors at the very least but, perhaps more delicate, requiring the participating construction companies to co-finance the process long before the first buildings have been erected. Alternatives to this system are rarely tested, which risks jeopardising the well-needed acceleration in sustainable construction over the next decades for the rapidly growing Stockholm region. Moreover, although housing may indeed be satisfyingly built, procured companies may be less keen to secure a diverse and equal community and functioning local services for the residents. When comparing Sweden with, for example, Germany, where alternatives such as joint building ventures (Swedish: byggemenskap, henceforth JBV) are well prominent, there is a perceived need of experimenting and developing policies concerning housing and construction in order to improve the prerequisites for a just and sustainable city.

JBV is a model in which users – the intended residents of a house or neighbourhood – participate in the planning process as a co-operative society and exercise influence over all or most of the decisions. They are currently rare in Sweden and are also largely unknown to the banks that can fund them. Individual co-operative societies usually lack the sufficient funds and organisational stability to be regarded as reliable project partners from the perspective of Vinnova. Instead, the Society of Joint Building Ventures (Swedish: Föreningen för byggemenskaper) is the coordinating actor of the Divercity project initiated in 2016. The goal of the project is to create leverage for more JBVs in Sweden, using their co-operative societies as testbeds while experimenting with construction process design and construction policy development.

There are several indicators as to why JBVs are worth strengthening. If end users are included from the start, their commitment to the constructed neighbourhood is stronger, promoting a socially sustainable area. Moreover, as end users share the costs of materials and processes, JBVs are more likely to contribute to a resource efficient construction, more lasting materials and thus better potential for sustainable buildings. Furthermore, JBVs potentially constitute an addition to democratic participation in urban development.

Good practices & solutions

“What we seek to achieve requires several actors”

Co-creation between architects, urban planners, joint building venture co-operatives and researchers is a fundamental feature of the process. The project has 18 organisations participating altogether and the various stakeholder groups had hitherto had limited understanding of one another, which demands a conscious process design in order to guide each actor towards a common vision. Several workshops have been conducted to foster a common view of the challenge and the funding application was written collaboratively. There is also a regularly maintained ambition to involve stakeholders – the co-operatives – on the same terms as project partners in the co-creation process, as they are formally asymmetrically involved due to Vinnova’s requirements.

There is, moreover, a generally accepted view among the participants that a process needs to be framed by a particular methodology. In order to facilitate co-creation, the Step Dialogue is used, a process design allowing several spaces for reflection individually and in groups, gradually aiding the participants in becoming more conscious about their common core values guiding the process and their main objectives.

During step 1, a process description was developed, providing an initial overview of what needs to be done in order to realise a construction project with JBVs. The description is partially used as a supporting tool for architects, often unused to working with JBVs, but primarily for the municipalities to better understand their own operational conditions. The description covers core issues for the project, such as regulations excluding JBVs and important steps included in construction processes. It is used as a basis for step 2, in which the JBVs become testbeds for trying out various solutions and evaluating the JBVs’ potential for sustainable urban development, while municipalities are experimenting with policy labs. RISE is responsible for these policy labs as well as evaluating the JBVs and their role in sustainability aspects, whereas researchers from KTH are conducting evaluation research, for example jointly with the City of Stockholm. One notable case is the city’s pilot project Fokus Skärholmen, in which one land assignment is designated for testing a JBV project.

Divercity uses a bottom-up perspective, in which different working packages deliver output to a steering group assigned with the task of developing and spreading jointly created knowledge within the project.

Outcome & opportunities

The main long-term potential for the project, if successfully conducted and scaled, is a systemic change of Swedish housing construction policies, in which end users participate and influence the process on a broader scale than previously known.

Lessons learned & recommendations

The constellation and choice of participating actors is crucial and needs to be consciously thought-through, with particular regard to achieving a satisfying breadth of expertise. Involving the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning (Boverket) gives Divercity a credibility otherwise not gained, member-governed bank Ekobanken provides the financial perspective and Coompanion contribute their expertise on and experience from all forms of co-operative organisations.

Utilising these different knowledges separately needs to work parallel to establishing a common ground between all actors, as well as each part acquiring a driving force on their own as a result of appreciating the common benefits of the project.

Engaged partners and stakeholder groups

Alsikebolaget, Nils Söderlund Architects, Boverket, Coompanion, Ekobanken, Föreningen för Byggemenskaper, City of Gothenburg, inobi, KTH, City of Malmö, omniplan, Orust kommun, Region Gotland, RISE, Röd arkitektur, City of Stockholm, Theory Into Practice, Uppsala Municipality.

Further reading

Theory into practice 

Smart Kreativ Stad

EU regional development project for film in sustainable urban development

Challenges

The film industry in Stockholm is, in some ways, a neglected business, with most of its performers suffering from short-term contracts and low wages. Moreover, the business of distributing film has changed significantly during the recent 5-10 years, demanding new ways of exploring deployment of film vis-à-vis audiences. Simultaneously, it is a diverse field of production and co-creation, as it needs to accommodate a vast range of talents and knowledges in order to function. Beata Mannheimer from the regional film foundation, Film Capital Stockholm, realised the potential of this creative industry in transforming the urban public spaces when Tillväxtverket announced their funding programme for regional urban development.

Stockholm has the potential of being a more open and inclusive region by using its public spaces. The challenge from which the project Smart Kreativ Started was, thus: How can film be used to promote sustainable urban development?

Good practices & solutions

Prior to the launching of Smart Kreativ Stad, a pre-study was conducted in which actors such as Kista Science City, IBM, game developer Dice and other stakeholders in the film business were approached. The inclusion of knowledge into the subsequent project was managed so that anyone could apply to the board of Smart Kreativ Stad for funding with an idea for a pilot project, whether as an individual artist or as a team. The project has thus been divided into smaller pilot projects during 2-3 years. Finally, a scaling and expansion phase will carry on 5 themes into further implementation, while additionally implementing the project’s outcomes within the organisation of Film Capital Stockholm itself. A participatory researcher has been following the process during the total course of the project.

 Outcome & opportunities

To manage working conditions for film creators, a pool for obtaining work opportunities has been realised during the project. The diverse results and knowledges produced during the project are planned to be spread to a wider audience and implemented in urban development processes, thus potentially contributing to a city with improved leisure and safety levels. A number of meeting forums have emerged between citizens of different areas, but also between different societal actors.

 Lessons learned & recommendations

Breaking perspectives is an important prerequisite for co-creation and collaboration in this type of project. Working in lab formats creates a learning environment for all involved, including the ones leading the process. However, everything cannot and should not be connected all the time; certain processes need to be isolated in order to flourish, depending on participants and specific prerequisites.

Regarding urban planning, Smart Kreativ Stad have identified a lack of “soft” and “human” value methods in current standard procedures. Another interesting realisation is that the movie business harbours an inherently well-prepared workforce regarding participatory dialogue. Documentary movie-makers are well used to these types of processes and therefore pose a great potential for future urban development. The movie business, in general, has substantial experience and potential for co-creation between a relatively vast range of disciplines. However, actors in cultural industries are known to regard themselves as underdogs towards “stronger” actors, such as municipalities and corporations.

Conducting such a complex process entails that communication needs to be shared among several actors, not only the coordinators. Results and progress also need to correspond to actual, established needs, otherwise nothing productive will come out of it. Building trust, in this regard and generally, is a constant challenge; speaking the same language (as in vocabulary and discourse), agreeing on basic values and problem definitions and having shared time schedules are crucial prerequisites. The civil sector can be quite fast in decision-making compared to public organisations, for example, which demands that every actor works in alternative ways to some extent. A valuable concept mentioned during the interview was förväntansavklaring (English: clarification of expectations), describing an essential process of transparent planning in the early stage of the project.

Engaged partners and stakeholder groups

City of Stockholm, Film Capital Stockholm, individual film creators, KTH, Nacka Municipality, Stena fastigheter, White arkitekter.

Further reading

 

Smart kreativ stad

 

Norra Djurgårdsstaden

Challenges

Developing Norra Djurgårdsstaden (NDS), a completely new urban district for 12 000 residents and workplaces for 35 000 people, has been a significant feature of the last two decades of planning in central Stockholm and, naturally, a huge challenge. It was, however, only half-way through the process that the Stockholm City Council in 2009 decided to profile NDS as an internationally competitive hallmark of sustainability, inspired by the previously successful development of Hammarby Sjöstad. This serves municipal marketing purposes while it promotes sustainable and innovative models of urban planning, construction and development that can be adopted by future projects.

Good practices & solutions

Developing a sustainable city district cannot be done by merely assigning the task to the Development Administration at the municipal administration; close co-operation is needed with other departments, construction, housing and other companies, residents and academia. A particular organisation was built up solely for working with NDS, with thematic groups of experts breaking down the many different project goals into specific sustainability requirements. Co-creation of problem definitions and ideas was also present at an early stage by necessity, as those involved in the long and complex development process had different experiences, knowledge, vocabulary and view of the problem, meaning that they needed to develop common frameworks in order to work together. In 2008, KTH conducted a series of future workshops, gathering experts and stakeholders around issues such as transport and energy, in order to gain a broad understanding of the challenges and possibilities of NDS. The outcome of these workshops implied a way forward for developing NDS. In 2010, a World Class Agreement (Swedish: världsklassavtal) was developed by around 100 different actors – including construction companies – regarding NDS. Again, when revising the NDS sustainability vision and targets in 2017, a similar process was conducted, in which researchers, different city administrations and companies, developers, by then established residents and others were involved in working out future challenges and objectives. Requirements specifications have been emphasised throughout the project. First, sustainability requirements are set at a high level.

Second, from an early stage, assigned developers need to declare their data on a regular basis so that requirements can be carefully followed up. Third, the main incentive for living up to requirements is not, as is usually the case, a fine, but open declaration of achievements in NDS’s annual sustainability reports. Not wholly unexpected, many developers anticipated a failure to meet requirements; thus, developing sustainability competence became a highly emphasised part of the process at an early stage. Forum för hållbara lösningar (Forum for Sustainable Solutions) was initiated in 2012 and has held around 20 events where material industry can meet developers to talk about innovative products and businesses. A capacity development programme is held since 2010 of knowledge sharing between involved actors in construction and sustainable development processes. The capacity development programme particularly demonstrates the progress of NDS, but also generally discusses innovative solutions to building sustainable housing. While many actors initially showed reluctance to participate, it only required for a few to join the competence development process for others to follow and subsequently compete with each other regarding learning about sustainability. The close dialogue with constructors also helped to improve project management’s requirement specifications.

NDS works with 5 overarching strategies, each encompassing the three dimensions
of sustainable development:
1) A vibrant city.
Emphasising the public space as an important area for equality and accessibility for all.
2) Let nature do the work
Harnessing green and blue qualities in improving life quality; for example, laying green rooftops is essential in order to meet requirements.
3) Accessibilty and proximity
Providing proximity to societal services and making fossil fuels as redundant as possible by promoting cycling and pedestrians.
4) Resource efficiency and climate responsibility
Creating smart management systems of energy, waste and engaging in a sharing economy. Moreover, a particular centre for re-use and restoration of used materials
and goods creates new value for artisanry connected to these practices, thus enabling a form of circular knowledge.
5) Participation and consultation

Local collaboration within and between neighbourhoods is emphasised through digital and analogue means. In order to experiment and push boundaries in NDS, R&D projects were welcomed to create innovative solutions with NDS as testbed. All projects were coordinated by the NDS strategic sustainability group, promoting projects in particular areas of interest to form a balanced and diverse portfolio of  outcomes. Projects mainly worked according to triple or quadruple helix models, including C/O City, who developed new tools for assessing green qualities in built environment. 7For the NDS project management, the internal anchoring process of the unusual collaboration forms with construction actors, other cities and research institutesultimately took approximately 3-4 years to accomplish; however, the dialogue that has originated out of this process has become particularly beneficial and probably unprecedented for the City of Stockholm. Moreover, the close dialogue format breeds a higher level of respect and understanding due to mutual learning between actorsand their objectives, as well as an environment of constructive criticism.

No particular method has been utilised to foster co-creation apart from general project management tools; managing the chain of ownership by establishing contact higher up in the municipal management structure, and horizontally between departments, has been key to having the right expertise present at as many meetings and forums as possible.

Outcome & opportunities

NDS is currently the home of 6 000 residents having successively moved in since 2012. NDS won the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Awards in 2015 in the category of sustainable city district, awarded at the UN Paris Climate Conference. Through its high requirements, NDS has implemented a rich variety of sustainable solutions and more are waiting to be implemented. While apartments will be costly, the new land allocation agreement assigns developers to shaping properties in order to maximise accessibility in public spaces to attract a diversity of citizens.

Lessons learned & recommendations

The early stage is crucial for success in terms of co-creating sustainable solutions and knowledge. Aspects in need of particular attention in this regard are: clarifying the objectives and involvement of each actor, working on a strategic level, harnessing leadership, not giving up, have the courage to evaluate regularly, internal anchoring, revising targets, supporting the creative process and a general intuitive feeling. A particular significance is paid to including sustainable goals from the beginning, instead of pasting it onto already existing structures. A challenge hitherto unmanaged in NDS is the continuous documentation and preservation of knowledge generated in the process, in order to ensure that it lives on into other projects.

Further reading

Norra Djurgårdsstaden

Making environmental work mainstream

The Helsinki Strategy Program contains guidelines for the activity of administrations, government owned companies and amalgamations of private companies. The strategy programme is divided into four parts: healthy Helsinki, vigorous Helsinki, functioning Helsinki, and a city balancing the economy and good leadership. The democratic aspects and participation is included systematically in all four parts. The strategy also contains the vision, values and ethical principles of the city. This is an all-embracing and steering approach for all the work executed in the city.
Challenges

Transforming the urban structure and function so as to contribute to sustainable development is one of society’s greatest challenges. Urban emissions of greenhouse gases, the use of natural resources and the impact on ecosystems radically need to be reduced. Often the existing structure, built up over a long time, also needs to change, as communities today are often designed for the use of cars and resource intensive technologies.

Good practices & solutions

”Eco-support” is a mainstreaming system that involves every workplace, unit, or organisation, in putting in place so called eco-support staff who, according to the bottom-up principle, follow top-down strategies and targets.

Helsinki has an ambition to be carbon neutral in 2050, but has historically often achieved goals more quickly than planned. The Deputy Mayor says that it is important to set goals technically so that Helsinki knows how to achieve them. For example, the city owns the company producing cooling and heating systems, and the goal of carbon neutrality has been set together with this company. Because the city is in charge, they are able to set such an ambitious goal for 2050 and at the same time ensure that it be reached.

Lessons learned & recommendations

Pekka Sauri, the Deputy Mayor of Helsinki, considers that one of the city’s major achievements in the last decade has been managing to incorporate sustainable and environmental approaches into the Strategy Programme, along with simplifying and clarifying that strategy.

Another lesson learned is that every strategy is per se more powerful than the previous one, as long as the strategy is solid and the goals are measurable. Twice a year the city evaluates the goals, and the measurements are key to improving strategies, and this works as an incentive to further progress. As the world changes, some of the goals might have become obsolete or have already been fulfilled, hence they must be monitored on a regular basis. The Helsinki tradition is to look at the methods already in place to achieve a vision, and to develop strategies to reach the set goals.

Success factors that were identified in Helsinki’s quest to mainstream its environmental work were taking wider perspectives, using eco-support as a principle, making the most of methods already in place, but also revisiting goals regularly and updating strategies accordingly.

Related SDG targets

9.1. Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all.

 

 

 

Connectivity as a mobility strategy

The City Commissioner for Traffic in Stockholm is responsible for issues regarding traffic in relation to the urban environment – in other words all the spaces between the buildings. Stockholm County Council is responsible, on the other hand, for public transport, whilst accessibility is the responsibility of the municipality. Implementing strategies related to infrastructure is problematic because there are strict rules for who and how to manage areas and infrastructure. Many of Stockholm’s infrastructure projects include a number of actors, which often result in a complicated working processes. As the links between various areas of politics, sectors and levels are many as regards transport issues, a high degree of consensus is required to gain support and long- sightedness. The advantage is that it creates a common will, but often leads to inefficiency.
Good practices & solutions

The accessibility strategy is an umbrella document for the city of Stockholm that shows how one can use traffic to promote other issues, such as democracy and social issues, if one adopts an integrated method of working. The main principles are to prioritise the mobility above the stationary, together with the means of transport carrying most people per vehicle.

The strategy includes four overall planning orientations for Stockholm metropolitan streets: create spaces for buses and cyclists; remove car parking from the streets and improvement for freight transport; reliable services and accessibility; better conditions for pedestrians; and better lighting, cleaning and snow removal of pavements.

Outcomes & opportunities

Since its adoption in 2009, various types of transport have been re-prioritised. The question that primarily needed to be taken into account was how the accessibility challenge should be addressed in a growing city with limited space.When considering planning strategies such as this one, it becomes clear that it is simple to agree on principles, but that details of implementation are more complex, and often turn into a matter of interpretation. Today the strategy has a holistic starting point; the next step will be to coordinate sector plans which, of course, may involve conflicting aims.

Lessons learned & recommendations

Success factors identified for Stockholm to develop connectivity as a mobility strategy includes collaborating between offices with similar areas of responsibility, finding political agreements, supporting initiatives and seeking a broad consensus.

Related SDG targets

9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all.

11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities.

Further reading

Engage for the SDGs