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Published: 03 Feb, 2022

Chosen to Sketch the Future for Northern cities

NEWS Several teams with connections to Umeå School of Architecture are among the eleven chosen to sketch the future of northern cities within the framework of the announcement ”Visioner i norr”.

Text: Erik Persson

We will use architecture, art and curatorial practice to help Skellefteå find creative ways to welcome and support those moving to the municipality.

Northern Sweden is currently experiencing a boom of large investments in industry and infrastructure related to green technology. New establishments like Northvolt’s battery factory in the city Skellefteå are rapidly creating new jobs and likewise a need for developments in housing and urban environments.

For this reason, six municipalities and state agencies Arkdes, The National Board of Housing, Building and Planning, The Swedish Energy Agency, Formas and Vinnova, announced “Visioner i norr” (roughly: Visions for the north) as part of EU:s New European Bauhaus framework in the fall of 2021. The announcement sought for creative and interdisciplinary teams to sketch on ideas for future beautiful, sustainable and inclusive habitats in the municipalities Kiruna, Gällivare, Boden, Luleå, Skellefteå and Umeå.

Among the 55 applicants, eleven teams have now been chosen to continue to sketch with the vantagepoints set by the municipalities, having the opportunity to apply for founding of up to 300 000 SEK.

Several of the chosen teams hold connections to Umeå School of Architecture. For Umeå Municipality’s case, team ”Norrlandsmodellen” with UMA-lecturer Sara Thor, has been chosen. Also Team ”Of Public Interest”, chosen to work on the case of Gällivare has a Umeå School of Architecture representation in lecturer Tobias Westerlund.

Most evident is however the UMA-affiliations in the team ”Moving North”, chosen to work with the case of Skellefteå municipality which might be translated as ”From Stagnation to Klondyke and to what? What should Skellefteå become to be a sustainable place with a better everyday life for both current and future inhabitants?”. In Team ”Moving North”, Umeå School of Architecture is present through guest professor Robert Mull, lecturers Amalia Katopodis and Sangram Shirke, student Emmy Andersson and UMarts director Ele Carpenter.

“The Moving North team were delighted to be chosen to work with Skellefteå municipality. We will use architecture, art and curatorial practice to help Skellefteå find creative ways to welcome and support those moving to the municipality. Moving North will critically explore how different placemaking processes can promote social participation, social sustainability, innovative living environments and inclusive public spaces. We are all very excited to be given this role and the trust it implies”, says Robert Mull when asked to comment the news.