Moa Björnson is an urban developer of Molobyen in Bodø, Norway
How do you create an identity of a place while planning it? Can temporary activity, participation and culture contribute to shaping a more sustainable city district? And how do you make sure that those who are involved in the early phases will recognise the end result?
Bodø is a 50 000 town on the coast of Northern Norway, above the Polar Circle. Nature is as beautiful as the weather is unforgiving, well most of the year. Bodø has managed to become the European Capital of Culture in 2024 and now the city and all its stakeholders are mobilizing to make the most out of that! So when the municipality of Bodø together with three real estate owners are developing a centrally located industrial harbour area into a new city district, culture plays an important part.
With high ambitions on a circular economy, social sustainability energy and climate measures, Molobyen plans and visions are bold enough to make it fit into the company of existing high quality, progressive, forward-looking and human-centered developments in the Nordics and Europe.
Place identity in the making
While the plans are yet at their early stages, the transformation has already started. On the existing brown-field former industrial harbour area, the local community has been successfully involved and taken onboard in creating temporary activity.
For example, an old industrial building now operates as a cultural house, a public-private co-working space is set up and the industrial buildings are continually being filled with activities. A model to test out what works and to create a more vivid district while planning and building it.
What is more, public space and meeting places are always a vital part of any city. How to create this in a more intimate environment, where being outside can be challenging (but should really not be seen as such). The common living urban room, both inside and outside, has been taken into consideration. So have been the connections to the sea and the rest of the town.
In the past few years, Moa has been both living and working in Træna, an island of some 450 people, while at the same time traveling Scandinavia to take the stage in conferences to tell how to blow life into a small community far up north and how to put it on the map. Moa is now working part-time in Træna and part-time in Bodø with Molobyen. She is as passionate as she is capable of creating change and inspiring people to act together.
Moa will talk about how to create a vibrant and sustainable Arctic city district with participation and an open-ended approach.