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Viable Cities strengthens its presence in the country

To further accelerate the transition and strengthen Viable Cities' presence across Sweden, Viable Cities' new office and meeting place in Umeå was inaugurated this week.

Viable Cities is working towards the mission of Climate Neutral Cities 2030 with a good life for all within the planetary boundaries, together with a growing number of cities - municipalities, business, academia and civil society - across the country, and several national government agencies. Together, we are creating ecologically, economically and socially sustainable cities that work well for the people who live in them, that are good for the economies of citizens, businesses and communities, and that are good for the climate and our planet.

Viable Cities, national authorities and, not least, cities are mobilizing together with a wide range of actors to accelerate the local transition journey to climate-neutral and sustainable communities. Mobilization is taking place at several levels simultaneously - local, regional, national and international.

The journey here

Ten years ago, the journey towards the strategic innovation program that Viable Cities is today began, and under the leadership of Olga Kordas, a researcher at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), a framework for the work was created. KTH became the host organization for the programme and the programme office was located at the KTH Campus in Stockholm. Since then, the work has continued and the program operates across the country - from Umeå in the north to Lund in the south. 

To further strengthen the program's presence, this week Viable Cities inaugurated a new office and meeting place in northern Sweden - in the historic Scharinska Villan in Umeå. The office is shared with RISE, which contributes with many relevant competences for mission-driven innovation, such as transformation through digitalization and AI, New European Bauhaus, cultural and creative industries and more.

The inauguration took place in connection with an international event focusing on mobilization around the mission of climate-neutral cities 2030, the 1st Swedish Mission Cities Forum. About 100 participants from regional, national and international partners attended the opening. The opening was done by Olga Kordas, Program Manager at RISE and Marco Lucisano, Head of Division Civil Engineering at RISE. Anders Wijkman, Vice Chairman of Viable Cities, presented lessons learned from the new report from the UN Resource Panel (International Resource Panel - Global Resources Outlook 2024), which highlights the seriousness of the consequences for the climate of our overuse of material resources on the planet. The many guests then mingled in the beautiful turn-of-the-century building, designed by renowned Swedish architect Ragnar Östberg.

1st Swedish Mission Cities Forum

Viable Cities' new office was inaugurated in conjunction with the 1st Swedish Mission Cities Forum, which takes place on May 29 to 30 in Umeå. During the event, the cities in Sweden that work with Viable Cities in Sweden and are also among the 112 European cities in the EU Mission Climate Neutral and Smart Cities 2030 - Gothenburg, Gävle, Helsingborg, Lund, Malmö, Stockholm and Umeå - will meet together with Viable Cities, Swedish government agencies, EU representatives, Viable Cities' national sister initiative in Spain CitiES2030, including a number of Spanish cities mobilizing for the mission in Spain. 

The forum aims to create space for exchanges on how to further develop the work of accelerating the transition to climate-neutral and sustainable cities, and is organized by the seven Swedish cities that are part of the EU's "Cities Mission" together with Viable Cities, NetZeroCities, CapaCITIES and Driving Urban Transitions. The latter three are all EU initiatives that in different ways support the implementation and development of the Cities Mission from local to international level. During the event, a joint input for the further development of the mission (Development Statement) was also presented, produced by the seven Swedish cities together with Viable Cities. In the document, the Swedish mission cities highlight proposals for the further development and work of the EU Cities Mission.