Urban lab participants looking at a development site in Brampton, Canada.

Nordic Urban Lab Inspiring North American Cities

This article is an adaptation of an article that first appeared at www.nordiccitysolutions.com.

Resilience. Sustainability. Tech-savvy solutions for new urban challenges. These are the issues facing the cities of today but especially those of tomorrow.

During the last week of March, Nordic companies participated in two Nordic urban labs with the Nordic City Solutions trade platform in Canada. Nordic City Solutions, which is part of the Nordic Sustainable Cities program run by Nordic Innovation, was set up to connect Nordic companies together with cities and property developers in North America for procurement opportunities in the areas of healthy, smart and resilient cities.

Both urban labs were based on the premise of discussing Nordic solutions for a specific development site with participating stakeholders from cities and private development communities as well as local consultants and stakeholders.

Exploring possibilities in Brampton and Ottawa

In Brampton, a suburb of Toronto with a population of approximately 600,000, Nordic participants collaborated with the city, region, and corporate development giant Morguard around the Bramalea City Centre redevelopment – a priority redevelopment project associated with the city’s 2040 Vision.

The urban lab included background context on the various site challenges, a walking tour with local stakeholders and partners, a reception at City Hall with Mayor Patrick Brown of Brampton, City Councillors and a full-day brainstorming session around the topics of resiliency infrastructure, energy infrastructure, and architectural master planning.

I had the honor and pleasure to attend a phenomenal event based around Nordic solutions, specifically as they relate to the development of our cities (…). My biggest takeaway is collaboration! If you are a city and want to achieve Big Picture initiatives, it takes everyone – from both the public and private side.

Jason Kloss, Bramalea urban lab participant

In Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, Nordic participants spent two days working with the most progressive sustainability development project in Canada. The Zibi development, a CAD $1.5 billion large mixed-use redevelopment project is run through a consortium of developers who are targeting sustainability-related procurement. Participating companies learned about the site’s complex aboriginal history as a traditional meeting place for trade, reviewed remediation work on phase one, and met with some of Canada’s top development and construction executives one-on-one to discuss Nordic solutions for sustainability in the project.

Danish architect Kolja Nielsen of CEBRA Architects discusses sustainability with property developer Scott Demark from Zibi in Ottawa.
Danish architect Kolja Nielsen of CEBRA Architects discusses sustainability with property developer Scott Demark from Zibi in Ottawa.

Participating companies included Maptionnaire, Landsvirkjun, Rockwool Group, Altiflex, Axis Communications, Velux, COBE Architect, CEBRA Architects, Mandaworks, Isoplus, and Nordic Innovation.

Additional urban labs will take place over the remainder of 2019 in Canada and the United States in key markets such as Toronto, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Houston for companies interested in showcasing their solutions for concrete projects in the North American development industry.

Nordic City Solutions is an important bridge between US and Canadian urban environments and a Nordic world of sustainability that’s confronting and addressing the growing challenges of the 21st-century world – whether those challenges are related to climate change or specific demographic needs (…). We look forward to working with cities across the American continent and facilitating key introductions to Nordic companies with unique solutions for today’s challenges.

Louise Lund Harpoth, Denmark In New York’s Commercial Adviser on Urban Solutions & UN Procurement

Support from the Nordic prime ministers

The Nordic City Solutions trade platform is funded by Nordic Innovation through Nordic Sustainable Cities to showcase and export Nordic solutions to urban sustainable development challenges.

Nordic Sustainable Cities is one of six flagship projects under the Nordic prime ministers’ initiative Nordic Solutions to Global Challenges, which is coordinated by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Visit www.nordiccitysolutions.com to learn more about the trade platform and the urban labs.


Portrait Rasmus Malmborg

Rasmus Malmborg

Senior Innovation Adviser
Rasmus has extensive international experience in complex project management, predominantly within health care system development. Prior to joining Nordic Innovation, Rasmus has been with LHL International for nine years and worked the last four years as CEO.

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Portrait Ivar Josefsson

Ivar Josefsson

Innovation Adviser
Ivar combines his international experience with an environmental background to identify the most promising Nordic projects for achieving sustainable growth. His main strengths lie within the fields of international relations and environment, and he worked briefly in the international development sector prior to joining Nordic Innovation in 2018.

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