2013-10-03 10:00NEWS

OpenLab tackles everyday problems in fast-growing Stockholm

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As cities grow and societies become more complex, both challenges and opportunities arise. In Stockholm, a number of leading research institutes have responded by attempting to provide solutions to meet the challenges of a growing and sustainable city.

"OpenLab aims to solve the great challenges that in one way or another relate to the rapid growth of the city of Stockholm and in relation to the impact that that has on sustainable urban development, health care and the ageing population," said Ivar Björkman, head of the OpenLab project.

In fact, Stockholm is expected to be the fastest growing major European city by 2030, overtaking mega-metropolis London, according to a recent study by the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce.

OpenLab is a research and educational collaboration, where students and researchers at Karolinska Institutet, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm University and Södertörn University will take on challenges that the City of Stockholm, Stockholm County Council and the County Administrative Board are facing.

The vision is that in 2017 OpenLab will be considered as one of the most formative and acclaimed interdisciplinary environments in Europe.

"Students, researchers, employees of government agencies, politicians and other organisations will actively participate in how OpenLab can work to solve common problems that affect everyday life in Stockholm," Björkman said.

OpenLab launched its first Master's course in spring 2013 and is currently in the middle of delivering its second. The course's projects are focused on the following themes:

  • Creating attractive living environments for the elderly who want to continue to live at home.
  • How do we deal with the increase of commercial traffic in the city, e.g. contractors, courier deliveries etc?
  • How do we solve the complexities of interrelated healthcare, which often includes a range of different actors, both from the municipalities and from the regional level?

Over the last five years the Swedish capital's growth has beaten annual predictions and is already among Western Europe's five fastest growing cities. Up till 2030, Stockholm is expected to grow twice as fast as cities like Zürich and Copenhagen – and six times quicker than Paris.

This article was published in collaboration between Stockholm Business Region and The Swedish Wire.


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