Conference report: Co-creating the green shift in Oslo

On Wednesday 6 December, around 200 participants from research, business, civil society and public administration met to attend the 2017 CIENS conference at the University of Oslo and the Oslo Science Park at Blindern.

The day was devoted to “co-creation”, which revolves around the future shaping of the public sector and of public services. The conference had a goal of gathering participants from different sectors to discuss this new trend in government.

Jacob Torfing, University of Roskilde. Photo: Skjalg Bøhmer Vold, CIENS / OsloMet
Professor Jacob Torfing, University of Roskilde. Photo: Skjalg Bøhmer Vold, CIENS / OsloMet

Co-creation goes beyond traditional cooperation with the public sector. It requires that other actors participate in the design of public policy and public solutions and services throughout the process – from the idea stage all the way to implementation.

Keynote speakers this year were Professor Jacob Torfing and Eva Sørensen, both from the University of Roskilde. They illuminated the theme through lectures on co-creation and the green shift and with a critical view of public leadership through co-creation.

The two Danish professors have set themselves the goal of renewing the entire public sector in Denmark, which has long been characterized by New-Public Management.

Professor Eva Sørensen, University of Roskilde. Photo: Yina Chan, CIENS / OsloMet
From Professor Eva Sørensen’s keynote presentation. Sørensen is a professor at the University of Roskilde. Photo: Yina Chan, CIENS / OsloMet

Jonas Enge from the Norwegian Research Council informed us about the trends in funding research for sustainable urban development in Norway and the EU, and Fredrik Syversen from ICT Norway gave the participants an insight into what is happening in the development of smart cities now that major tech companies have entered the playing field.

Experience from the cities

Further, we learned from experiences gathered in four European cities, exhibiting lessons from co-creation in practice. Oslo was represented by the director of Oslo’s Climate Agency Heidi Sørensen, who presented the measures in Oslo’s ambitious climate and environmental policy.

Researcher Kris Steen from AMS Amsterdam presented experiences from urban living labs in the Dutch city. researcher Annika Agger from Roskilde University presented co-creation from Copenhagen and Margareta Forsberg from Mistra Urban Futures presented experiences from Gothenburg.

Mistra Urban Futures is a collaboration between the Municipality, Chalmers University of Technology and private actors in five different cities. Forsberg heads their Gothenburg platform.

Workshops

Participants picked from eleven different workshops to discuss solutions and important challenges in various fields:

  • Climate policy
  • Transport and energy
  • Economy
  • Water and the city
  • Culture and society
Workshop on regional planning in the Oslo metropolitan area. Photo: Yina Chan, CIENS / OsloMet
Workshop on regional planning in the Oslo metropolitan area. Photo: Yina Chan, CIENS / OsloMet

The workshops were all based on recent or ongoing research projects from various research communities in CIENS, and provided important input for further work in these fields.

Green Capital 2019

There seemed to be a consensus between research, municipalities and industry about spending time in the future to find concrete collaborative activities and co-creational arenas. Arenas where actors together can promote Oslo’s status as the European Green Capital in 2019.

Towards the end of the day, we also had a debate about how co-creation could make research institutions, municipalities, business and civil society better equipped to carry out the green shift.

The panel was hosted by Geir Heierstad, Research Director at the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research, Oslo Metropolitan University.

In the panel

  • Kristin Halvorsen, Director of CICERO – Center for International Climate Research
  • Heidi Sørensen, Director of the Climate Agency, Oslo Municipality
  • Curt Rice, Rector at Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet)
  • Nina Solli, Regional Director of NHO Oslo and Akershus (The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise)
  • Ingrid Skjoldvær, (former) head of Nature and Youth – Young Friends of the Earth Norway
Panel on the green shift in Oslo. Photo: Yina Chan, CIENS / OsloMet
Kristin Halvorsen, CICERO; Heidi Sørensen, Municipality of Oslo; Curt Rice, OsloMet; Ingrid Skjoldvær, Nature and Youth andNina Solli, NHO formed the panel debating the green shift in Oslo. Photo: Yina Chan, CIENS / OsloMet

This year’s conference was organized by the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR) at Oslo Metropolitan University, in cooperation with the Municipality of Oslo.

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