Exploring cultural perspectives on the city in Nordic Urban Laboratory 2018

Nordic Urban Laboratory 2018 took place in Hanaholmen, Espoo, 22.-24.3.2018 with a focus on culturally based urban strategies and practices. USP students had the possibility to work at this three-day Laboratory documenting the case study workshops.

Nordic Urban Laboratory (NUL)  2018 was the third and final open Nordic gathering of cultural managers and cultural strategists, urbanists and city planners, architects, visual and performance artists, researchers and academics, students, community organisers, urban activists, environmentalists, and city councellors, to look at alternative culturally based urban strategies and practices. The international keynote speakers included Charles Landry, Franco Bianchini, Nancy Duxbury, Lucy Bullivant and Dorte Skot-Hansen.

The aim of the three-day Laboratory was to give an overview of both current European and Nordic trends and experience as well as focusing on issues, practices and cases in Finland. With a transdisciplinary approach, with an agenda promoting a new role for artists as agents for creative communities, and by seeking to engage communities in the process of urban transformation, the Lab hopes to make a difference to existing practice, where cities are understood as complex and ever-changing social, cultural, psychological, material and communicative entities.

NUL invited experts who are both doers, teachers, thinkers, strategists, makers, storytellers, and builders to contribute to this uniquely competent forum of knowledge to inspire, inform and debate the many cases and the many experiences made under the very broad “cultural planning” headline.

Students worked at NUL to document the case study workshops in writing and images. Students arrived from the University of Helsinki, Aalto University, University of Turku and Malmö University. The students work contributes to the overall aim of the three Nordic Urban Labs organized (Copenhagen Metropolis Lab 2014, Borås/Gothenburg 2016, Helsinki 2018): to develop a cultural planning toolkit, which can inform and support cities, communities, artists and cultural NGO’s to develop their own practice. The students will have their names published in the cultural planning toolkit.

Students found the Laboratory an eye-opener:  “NUL was an intensive and inspiring experience full of new perspectives and interesting people. Examples from other countries particularly stuck to my mind. It was nice to notice that cultural planning and civic activism have reached an established position in many cities.”

Here's a link to the live streamed Keynote by Charles Landry, author of the well-known book "Creative City: A Toolkit for Urban Innovators":


Orig. text by NUL 2018