CityLoops inspires cities of the future
The EU project CityLoops challenged Bodø's sixth graders to build the cities of the future by reusing building materials.
Over a hundred sixth-graders in Bodø got to try their hand at being city builders during "Nysgjerrigperdagen" (The day for the curious) at the end of September. The event is part of The National Science Week in Norway and CityLoops is in the habit of contributing. Since 2019, the project has spread knowledge and inspiration about reuse, also to the sixth graders in Bodø, who every year is invited to Nysgjerrigperdagen.
– The most challenging and most valuable part of our work in CityLoops is influencing how people think, says senior researcher Jens Ørding Hansen, who leads Nordlandsforskning's part of the project.
– Our long-term legacy is that we have increased awareness of the importance of circular economy and reuse, especially among the municipal decision-makers we have worked with in the project. Children are the decision makers of the future, so I am very happy that we have been given the opportunity to convey the values of CityLoops to them through events such as Nysgjerrigperdagen.
Focus on recycling
In order to succeed in engaging the sixth graders, Nordland Research Institute teamed up with Re, a resource and competence center in reuse and creative processes. Re designed a workshop, where students could choose a variety of materials to build a city, or rather a model city. In true CityLoop spirit, the materials had of course been used in other contexts in the past.
– We gave them materials from the construction industry. Wood, metal, pipes, cables. Then they were told to build a better world and create cities that they themselves wanted to live in when they grow up, says Nina Morvik, general manager and founder of Re innovasjon.
With about 15 minutes to spare, the young architects went to work. In a few minutes, the floor of the meeting room at Stormen library was filled with futuristic constructions, all built with a better future in mind.
Energy and air purification
Morvik praises the sixth graders' ability to build exactly what they want.
– They are really creative and brave. Junior high school students are afraid of what others think, but this group is not, she says.
Which means that the cities that rise on the library floor reflect what the builders are actually concerned with.
– Many focus on power production and energy. Some built windmills that also cleaned the air, says Morvik.
Examples to follow
This edition of Nysgjerrigperdagen will be the last where CityLoops contributes. The project will end during the autumn. Nordland Research Institute has been one of the partners and Bodø one of seven European cities with leading roles in CityLoops. Up north, the focus has been on the military airport area.
- We have developed knowledge and tools that can stimulate waste reduction, reuse and recycling of loose materials, infrastructure and constructions in this huge urban development project, says Jens Ørding Hansen.
- What we have learned here, and what we are developing in CityLoops, will be used in several places in the EU.