The Open City: how can we create a city for belonging?

Wednesday 11 November, 18.00 until 19.30, Norsk design- og arkitektursenter (DOGA), Hausmanns gate 16, 0182 Oslo, Norway International Satellites

In recent years, international migration has been accelerating rapidly. The latest figures from the UN show that 10 per cent of the population of Europe was born in a country other than where they live. Oslo is a city in flux; by 2030 its population will grow by a third, and more than half of all those who live in the city are likely to be international migrants and their descendants. In the face of such changes, many societies are asking how they should respond to an influx of peoples with different traditions, backgrounds and beliefs. In an increasingly globalised world, a sense of belonging to one place is no longer taken for granted. But what does belonging really mean? Is it important that people should feel attachment to a single place?  Or is it equally possible we belong to many places, or even no place? How does this new condition impact on the way our future cities are thought about and planned?

In line with multiculturalist policies, many urban designers have recently adopted a ‘place making’ approach to cities, advocating design as a means to create belonging through localised forms of memory, identity and community. Community and resource sharing initiatives and user/inhabitant participation have become popular in planning circles. So can such participative initiatives provide a sense of belonging within the open city? Or is there a risk that involvement in local design process is merely an end in itself rather than impetus to a wider democratic involvement in shaping the city?
In the age of migration, what is the way forward for the open city and how can architects and urban planners best work to create it?

This event is an initiative of Battle of Ideas and is part of the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale pre programme, in collaboration with The Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture. The Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016 edition has as its main theme ‘After Belonging: A Triennale In Residence, On Residence, and the Ways We Stay in Transit’ and it is curated by The After Belonging Agency.

Alexandra Archetti Stølen
festival director, Oslo World Music Festival; president, European Forum of Worldwide Music Festivals

Kenneth Dahlgren
head of social sciences, Rodeo Arkitekter AS

Adnan Harambasic
architect; partner SAAHA

Penny Lewis
lecturer, Scott Sutherland School of Architecture, Robert Gordon University; co-founder, AE Foundation

Alv Skogstad Aamo
architect; urbanist; partner,DARK architects

Alastair Donald
associate director, Future Cities Project; architecture programme manager, British Council

Produced by
Alastair Donald associate director, Future Cities Project; architecture programme manager, British Council
Recommended readings
Oslo Architecture Triennale launch in New York

We must also acknowledge that for millions of people today, the very act of belonging is at risk., 29 September 2015

Living in diversity

To revive a progressive universalism, we need, not so much new state policies, as a renewal of civil society.

Kenan Malik, Pandaemonium, 25 April 2015

Oslo’s rapid growth redefines Nordic identity

Norway's largest city is Europe's fastest-growing capital and it is undergoing its biggest and most controversial makeover since the seventeenth century.

Maddy Savage, BBC News, 16 January 2014

The new Norwegians

Towards an intercultural city?

Sarah Wesseler, Satellite, June 2012

The downside of diversity

A Harvard political scientist finds that diversity hurts civic life. What happens when a liberal scholar unearths an inconvenient truth?

Michael Jonas, Boston Globe, 5 August 2007

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