People playing the Nordic Urban Mobility 2050 Futures Game board game.

Exploring Future Nordic Mobility in Brussels

Urbanisation is one of the key future megatrends in the Nordic region, just like in the rest of the world. By 2050, 66 percent of the world’s population is expected to live in cities and is something we need to plan for also in the Nordics.

Mobility systems play an important part in ensuring that our growing urban areas will be liveable smart, and sustainable and we need to start thinking about how to develop them sooner rather than later.

As part of our Nordic Smart Mobility and Connectivity program, Nordic Innovation and Finnish service design company Hellon are developing the Nordic Urban Mobility 2050 Futures Game. Through discussions and choices, the players create future mobility scenarios about plausible mobility modalities, impacts and desirability – everything with people in the centre.

The game will be used as a conversation starter for municipalities, companies and citizens to help plan and prepare for future of mobility, and to encourage participants to create new Nordic project proposals that can be funded by Nordic Innovation.

An engaging and valuable tool

Still in the design phase, the game has been developed based on research, in-depth interviews with Nordic and international mobility experts, and testing.

Last week, a game prototype was tested in a dedicated workshop at the Connected Smart Cities Conference 2019 in Brussels with a group of 15 mobility experts – including some of the conference’s keynote speakers. The reaction from the participants were really good with many of them highlighting the somewhat different approach than you usually find in workshops and conferences.

“It was an extremely nice experience”, said Piia Karjalainen, who works with mobility as a service at ERTICO – ITS Europe and was speaking about human-centered mobility at the conference. She enjoyed having an engaging tool that let her deep dive into questions and challenges – a feature she often feels is lacking in workshops and seminars.

“What I especially found quite valuable in this tool was that it gives you an understanding about the interconnections of different functions of economy of our societies in areas like infrastructure, transportation and values of the people. I really enjoyed it”, said the experienced Finnish mobility expert.

The game also impressed Laurent Horvath, a smart city manager working with the Region of Geneva and the City of Carouge. “What I really like about this game is that it involves citizens, but also the staff of the city”, he said.

“Maybe what you create here will not happen in the future but at least you open the door to what can be done between citizens, what can be done with data – and we need to put all of this information together to create the future and that is what this game is doing.”

Photo gallery: See photos from the workshop and the conference.

An important strategic area

The Nordic Urban Mobility 2050 Futures Game is developed as part of Nordic Innovation’s Nordic Smart Mobility and Connectivity program – one of the organisation’s three strategic thematic areas in 2018-2021.

The game will now be developed further before being finalised in the spring of 2019.

By promoting Nordic smart mobility and connectivity solutions, Nordic Innovation aims to speed up the transition to a more sustainable and connected mobile future, where quality of life is a cross-cutting aspiration. The programme has a budget of NOK 60 million.