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Press release: Storytelling key to accelerating climate transition in cities


One of Sweden's largest strategic innovation programs is Viable Cities, with a budget of over SEK 1 billion for research and innovation on smart, sustainable cities. The program, coordinated by KTH, aims to make cities climate neutral by 2030. Viable Cities has been recognized by the European Commission as an innovative program for targeted innovation work with clear goals. To accelerate the climate transition and increase the impact of the program, Viable Cities focuses on storytelling as a strategic tool. The new initiative is led by Per Grankvist, who takes up a newly created position as Chief Storyteller.

- We see storytelling as crucial for accelerating the climate transition in society. Life in cities will change and there is a great need to create engaging stories that touch ordinary people about what tomorrow's good life can look like, for everyone in the city, so that we do not cling to old life patterns just because they are familiar and comfortable," says Viable Cities program manager Olga Kordas, who is also a researcher at KTH.

Per Grankvist's task is to develop storytelling as a strategic tool and include it in all projects run under the Viable Cities program.

- There is an untapped potential in storytelling as a way to engage and create a broad movement for a different way of living, where cities can become climate neutral and where we can all have a good life within the limits of the planet. A majority of the world's people live in cities and to bring about behavioral change, people need to make sense of the changes. It's simply a matter of using stories as a tool to engage, demonstrate and explain to ordinary people how different actors can work together to achieve climate-neutral cities, whether you are a researcher, business owner or resident," says Per Grankvist.

About Per Grankvist

As a journalist, Per Grankvist has become known for his ability to explain current topics from new perspectives. In 2018, he was named media super-communicator of the year by Resumé magazine. He has written several acclaimed books, including on how personal and political commitment arises. He is also considered one of Sweden's foremost sustainability experts and his book "CSR in practice" is used as course literature in sustainability at many universities. The book describes how over 500 companies around the world have used sustainability to increase their profitability and innovation.

About Viable Cities

Viable Cities is a 12-year program focused on innovation for smart and sustainable cities. It is one of 17 strategic innovation programs that have received support within the framework of Strategic Innovation Areas, a joint initiative between Vinnova, the Swedish Energy Agency and Formas. The purpose of the initiative is to create conditions for Sweden's international competitiveness and sustainable solutions to global societal challenges. Viable Cities is coordinated by KTH.

For more information, please contact

Program Manager Olga Kordas on 070-213 23 26 or
Chief Storyteller Per Grankvist, 073-50 00 600 or
Communication Strategist Åsa Minoz on 072 - 210 88 26 or