I participated in a round table discussion yesterday in Stockholm which concerned thinking around the sustainable city. The discussion was hosted by the Swedish Ministry of the Environment in combination with Ministry of Cultureand both Andreas Carlgren (Minister for the Environment) and Lena Adelsohn-Liljeroth (Minister for Culture) were involved. Peter Örn was moderator, he’s the chairman for the newly started Delegation for Sustainable Cities, a national arena for sustainable urban development.

I made a short opening “speech” in the part that concerned how we can develop our cities to match the growth of a new “creative class”. I put emphasis on a couple of points:

-to always see the development of a sustainable city as a process, not a project

-to have a holistic view when talking about sustainable issues, I used the Sustainable Wheel from Designboost as an example of this

-to always start with a humanistic perspective, a house is just a house, a park just a park, we need humans to make it alive, you can probably call it love as well

-to create an attractive city with a lot of creative meeting points, this (among other things of course) will attract creative people, and as a consequence interesting companies as well

-to make sustainable issues inclusive instead of exclusive

It was quite obvious that most participants (if not all) agreed upon the importance of careful development of cities in the future (to see the development in a historical perspective). The big programs from the 60s and 70s will probably not be repeated in modern time. We talked about the importance of creating dense cities to avoid unnecessary travelling. Also how we always have to make use of the inherent capacity of each city in focus. Another overhead thought was the possibility to join cultural and environmental thinking in the process of developing sustainable cities.

The discussion will surely continue!

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