New project: Liveable Nordic cities- imaginaries, practices, and prospects
Professor Guy Baeten, together with researchers from Rosklide University and the University of the Arctic has been granted funds by Nordforsk for the project “Liveable Nordic cities: imaginaries, practices, and prospects”.
Urban liveability is clearly more than a temporary buzzword, having endured over five decades and gained increasing significance world-wide over the last two, including through international organisations such as UN-Habitat and the World Bank. Danish architect Jan Gehl, described by some as a ‘godfather of the liveable cities movement’, asserts that recent decades have seen ‘a paradigm shift’ that has gone global: ‘now cities really want to be liveable, healthy and sustainable’. Yet, perhaps not unrelatedly, there is considerable vagueness as to what liveability designates, even among vocal advocates.
Through a series of workshops, the project seeks to examine aspects of urban liveability and liveable cities as these are constituted and contested in Nordic contexts and primarily in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Rather than assuming what these terms designate, and therefore concentrating on their measure or modes of delivery, the aim is to question and challenge their production and operation. This involves exploring distinctive and varied discursive forms and trajectories that urban liveability has taken in the Nordic region. It entails examining modes of knowledge production and circulation, and also experimenting with different ways of sensing urban liveability. By bringing together academic researchers and practitioners, and co-developing new perspectives and creative proposals, it aims to challenge singular and taken-for-granted definitions of liveable cities, and to explore alternative means and models for their articulation and production.