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TNM | Next Stop: Aalborg, a Nordic city with no “ghettos”

Edited on

24 May 2019

Next Com.Unity.Lab's Transnational Meeting will be held in Aalborg, Denmark, on 6-7th June. The main theme to be addressed is the "Task Force" tool, but the agenda also includes workshops and visiting local projects and stakeholders, such as a social housing association. What to expect? The host city unveils some highlights.

Task Force [GABIP] is one of the tools included in Lisbon's Integrated Toolbox for Priority Neighbourhoods, which is now being shared and adapted locally by Transfer Network partners like Aalborg. The discussion on Task Force will be focused on internal organisation, involvement of stakeholders, physical presence in neighbourhoods, financial setup, political context, etc.

During the meeting each city will also discuss the progress of their local work concerning Mapping, Grants and URBACT Local Groups, and give inputs on the transfer main challenges and how they’re overcoming it.

What to expect from the upcoming local visits?

According to Iben Andersen, in the department of urban planning and development in the City of Aalborg, “the partners will not only see our wonderful city, they will also be thrown into the midst of some of our projects, as we will hold our workshop at Café Fair [a socio economic non-profit business] which is located in Aalborg Vestby, one of the areas of the three current urban development plans in the city of Aalborg”.

On the first day, partners will hear more on “how we work with task forces, and how we aim to build a social city, and how we are now focusing inward striving to be even better at working with our partners and stakeholders”.

At the end of the opening day, the plan is to meet one of the co-councils [elected citizen council] in Vejgaard, one of the areas currently in focus with an urban development plan. “They will be able to tell us a little about how the collaboration with the municipality is experienced from a citizen [stakeholder] perspective, in relation to a public hearing and involvement process, running from April 26th to May 29th”.

Aalborg, a revitalized city with no “ghettos”

There are no ghettos in the fourth biggest city of Denmark and neighborhoods in Aalborg have been changed and revitalized. This is the main knowledge to retain from an article published this May in “Danish National News” [DR]. In short the piece explains how Aalborg, through collaboration, has had success with eliminating “ghettos”.

Part of the national agenda of countering Ghettos in Denmark is demolishing buildings, however the experience from Aalborg shows that “it takes more than simply tearing down buildings”, Iben claims.  "In Denmark and Aalborg we have a long tradition of involving citizens and in the latest years the social housing associations have been an important partner in several projects around the city in maintaining a holistic approach. The success has only been possible by collaboration – the municipality could not have done this on their own”.

“In [the network] Phase 1, Bari and Lisbon saw the quartier house in Aalborg East, an area which now after 10 years of focus is no longer a ghetto. Here one of the partners, the social housing association Himmerland, has played an important role”. Himmerland will also host a workshop on the second day in their headquarter and student housing facility on the Harborfront.

Aalborg has gone through an amazing development with more residents, students, jobs and homes. Politically, Aalborg is determined to keep moving, aspiring to be a “Smart City”, an even stronger locomotive for North Denmark.