For Olso, the future lies in climate-friendly architecture

With a population of over 1.7 million in metropolitan Oslo, the city realized that to protect its citizens, it needs to focus its smart city efforts on one major issue: climate-friendly urban development. The 10-year-plan behind FutureBuilt is just one of the projects underway in the Norwegian capital, as the city looks to build climate-friendly buildings that not only appear aesthetically beautiful, they are also designed to reduce carbon footprints by 50 percent. Below, we’ll share just a few of the ways Oslo is leading the wave in this trend of urban development and how other cities around Norway are starting to follow. — Philippe Leonard


Building cities together

FutureBuilt is a great example of cities looking beyond their borders to combat similar urban development issues. Aimed to be completed by 2020, the project plans to develop “carbon neutral urban areas and high-quality architecture.” The end result will be 50 pilot projects, from urban areas to buildings themselves, each following guidelines to ensure the lowest possible greenhouse gas emissions. 

For Oslo, the largest urban area in Norway, this is becoming increasingly important as the region is estimated to grow by 40 percent in the next 30 years alone. As new homes, buildings and infrastructure are developed to respond to this rapid expansion, the aim is to prove that it’s possible to develop climate neutral areas that reduce these greenhouse gas emissions from transport, energy and material consumption while still making the city attractive in terms of stylish architecture.

Oslo’s proof of success

Citizens in the western part of the Oslo region—Oslo, Bærum, Asker and Drammen—where the programme is based can already see proof of FutureBuilt’s success. In just five years, 37 pilot projects have been completed, touching everything from cultural centres to schools, office buildings, housing projects and even ice skating rinks. Modern secondary schools, such as the new Bjørnsletta School, are great examples of how this project can change a city’s thinking in terms of educational offerings. Built in 1981 to accommodate 200 students, the school was demolished and rebuilt to fit up to 800. Now it’s designed using climate-friendly materials, energy-efficient fans and lighting, and minimum parking to reduce car usage. Not only does the building incorporate climate-friendly materials into the architecture, it also makes alternative energy sources a subject that’s part of students’ curriculum.