The development of cities has been and still is the main focus for most architects. Norway is no exception. But this is now changing. A new interaction between the city, suburb and the rural area is needed for us to become truly sustainable. The local will play a key role in the near future and become the new global.

Historically, the countryside provided the city with food. Due to globalisation, this is no longer the case. There is a need to redefine the countryside’s identity, its business model, and what qualities it should focus on, explore and enhance.

The countryside of the future

Norwegian architects and governmental initiatives have started looking into what role the countryside can play in the future. The diversity based on local conditions will play a key role. The local knowledge, the local initiatives and the local people have the potential to make the local the new global. In what way can architecture and architects contribute? At same time, the cities in Norway are
growing at a record-breaking speed. Thousands of square metres of housing, office space, education, health care and infrastructure are under construction. If
done in a careful way, the cities can adapt the knowledge and methods explored in the Norwegian countryside to develop the cities based on local conditions, making them diversified and locally grown cities for the diverse populations. The project ‘Framtidens bygder’, roughly translated as ‘the countryside of the future’, is a government initiative exploring how seven different rural areas can become the sustainable countryside of the future. The pictures hopefully speak for themselves and help give a better idea of what the project is all about.

By National Association of Norwegian Architects (NAL), published in SCAN Magazine issue 69 – October 2014 | Photos: National Association of Norwegian Architects

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