MoreFutures and Juul Frost Architects
“The collaboration on the manifesto for the New Nordic Winter City fits in perfectly with what we believe in BLOXHUB, namely that sustainable cities and urban environments are best created through inclusive and interdisciplinary collaborations. A project like this, which rethinks urban spaces, so that they also become an asset in the winter months with a positive impact on human health and well-being, is aligned with our mission to constantly develop sustainable cities and to bring the specific Danish urban development heritage into the future and out into the world.”
Lotte C. Breengaard
Program Director of Urban Partnerships, BLOXHUB
Rethinking the city’s urban spaces so that they also become an asset for citizens during the cold winter months
We need to rethink the urban spaces we use in our daily lives so that they also become an asset for us in the winter time. That is why manufacturers of materials, lighting and urban fixtures, enthusiasts and architects have joined forces to create a manifesto for a Nordic winter city.
How do we jointly create a winter city that invites us outside? In which the dark, cold, wind, rain and snow create potentials for experiences, activities and community? BLOXHUB, MoreFutures and Juul Frost Architects offer eight commandments in a manifesto that invites everyone to co-create the new Nordic winter city.
The manifesto stems from the two workshops ‘Better Cities for All – All Year’ held in the winter of 2020. Both workshops were part of BLOXHUB’s Urban Partnerships program and brought together framework-setting actors to explore and challenge solutions.
The goal was to rethink the city and its urban spaces so that they also become an asset for the citizens during the winter months. Manufacturers of materials, lighting and urban fixtures, enthusiasts, health experts and researchers, municipalities and landowners, futurists, architects and landscape architects participated.
Focus on what we can change
In the Nordic countries, it is gray, cold and wet large parts of the year. In Denmark, it rains 179 days a year, and the number of hours of light declines drastically in the winter season. According to Sundhed.dk, 5 to 10 percent of the Danish population are affected annually by winter depression to a greater or lesser degree. 12 percent experience that the seasonal changes are a problem for their well-being. And 57 percent state that they are less physically active in the winter compared to the summer, according to the Danish Outdoor Council’s survey of Danes’ outdoor life.
This is something we cannot change. Therefore, we must focus instead on what we can change. How can the framework of our cities invite for outdoor movement? How can it support well-being, togetherness, health and activity – even in winter?
Innovation is a contact sport. Innovative solutions that create synergy between research, design, materials, architecture and new technology require interdisciplinarity. Therefore, we invite everyone to take part in rethinking the development and planning of cities and urban spaces.
Together we can create pilot projects that we can implement, refine and evaluate. Projects we can eventually scale up and export. The development of the new Nordic winter city does not only have potential for Danish cities that promote health and quality of life. There is also the potential for exporting the success to cities across the northern hemisphere.
A rebellion that speaks to the brain and the heart
Political, financial or professional prioritization of the winter city will not come by itself. CEO of the agency New_and, Karsten Koed, pointed out that we need a rebellion when the manifesto was launched. A rebellion that speaks to the brain and the heart. That is why we are based on research and facts. We present citizens and politicians with the hard, boring facts. The Danes spend 90 percent of their everyday life indoors, which has consequences for public health and quality of life.
“The power of habit is powerlessness,” Karsten Koed emphasized at the launch. A new winter city requires both a mental change, new habits and new behavior. Both from those of us who contribute to developing the city’s physical framework as well as those who use it.
We hope you will participate in our rebellion!
The manifesto was launched in BLOXHUB on 1 October 2020. Among the speakers were Tor Nørretranders (non-fiction author), Lotte C. Breengaard (BLOXHUB), Helle Juul (Juul Frost Architects), Jannick B. Pedersen (MoreFutures), Klaus Martiny (Psychiatric Center Copenhagen), Karsten Koed (New_and), Mie Wittenburg (Smith Innovation) and Pam Sethi, mental health innovator from Canada.
A debate article (in Danish) was published in Politiken Byrummonitor on 20 November 2020.
Read the manifesto here.