“Many municipalities and organisations have already launched exciting and innovative plans. The goal of the DOGA Sparkling Spaces project is to learn from existing projects, while having three pilot municipalities experiment with various measures to vitalise their centres,” explains Tor Inge Hjemdal, Director of Architecture at DOGA.
The Sparkling Spaces city centre development project was launched on 20 April 2016. The goal is to develop tools and methods to activate empty buildings and unused areas of the centre. In addition to the three pilot municipalities of Tromsø, Arendal and Lærdal, real-time researchers from the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR) and a reference group of experts, the Sparkling Spaces network is now complete.
Many creative and ambitious municipalities and organisations have asked to be included in the network. These are:
- Municipality of Moss
- Municipality of Harstad
- Municipality of Hamar
- Municipality of Skien and City of Skien
- Municipality of Oslo through Områdeløft Tøyen (Area Improvement Plan) and Kulturetaten (Department of Culture)
- Municipality of Ålesund
- Municipality of Kristiansund and Nordmøre Næringsforum (Business Forum)
- Municipality of Gjøvik
- Municipality of Vefsn and Mosjøen og omegn næringsselskap (Regional Business Services)
- Municipality of Fredrikstad and Fredrikstad Næringsforening (Business Network)
- Municipality of Ås
- Municipality of Kristiansand
- Municipality of Grimstad
- Municipality of Bergen
- Municipality of Haugesund
- Municipality of Elverum and ElverumRegionen Næringsutvikling (Regional Business Development)
- Kulturteknikk AS and TIND
- Municipality of Risør and Risør By AS
- Sosiologisk poliklinikk (Sociology Clinic), Trondheim
- Maverick, Oslo
- Cubus Architects, Bergen
- Levende Levanger
- Rjukan Næringsutvikling AS
From taxi driver rest station to bicycle workshop in Hamar
The Municipality of Hamar is among those participating in the network. Svein Frydenlund, Business Manager for the Municipality of Hamar, says that he would like to gain more knowledge about methods and concepts to activate vacant buildings and spaces.
Hamar is a growing city and the total retail and commercial acreage has increased considerably. But at the same time, we are struggling to fill vacant buildings in the centre with new activities,” he says.
Hamar has already gained valuable experience with activities in a number of vacant, centrally located structures. He mentions the old taxi driver rest station near the railway station as an example.
“The tenant has now opened a bicycle workshop. It is located right next door to a bicycle parking area, making it the perfect service stop for train passengers,” he explains.
Urban quality decision in Kristiansund
In Kristiansund, the Kristiansund and Nordmøre Næringsforum (KNN) (Business Forum) has joined the network. Iren Hope Rønhovde from KNN explains that the city is currently undergoing an exciting development. Long-term efforts to update municipal plans for the centre have revealed the need for concrete changes.
The retail and entertainment industries are eager to increase the number of activities in the city centre. Our shops need good neighbours and building owners need good tenants. What we all have in common is a need for knowledge and measures we can test out locally,” she explains.
In Kristiansund, KNN is in the initial phase of a project that aims to coordinate building owners in one section of the city centre.
We want to increase urban development expertise and identify the role of landlords in the big picture. We have been asked by the Municipality of Kristiansund to take part in this sub-project as part of overall efforts to improve the city centre. Our project is perfect for the Sparkling Spaces network,” says Hope Rønhovde to DOGA.