Co-creating a Nordic smart city model

Can we develop a joint Nordic smart city model as a human-centred alternative to the American and Chinese models? The answer is yes. Municipalities and organizations from all over the Nordic countries are now working together to define a smart city model based on Nordic social values.


The ambition of the Nordic smart city model is to strengthen the Nordic region's position as a leading smart city region globally, by offering an alternative smart city model that puts the quality of life of its citizens at the centre. Furthermore, the roadmap aims to optimize strategies for smart city development through best practices and strategic partnerships with companies. 

At the core of this initiative, funded by Nordic Innovation, is a global need for an alternative, citizen-centred smart city model. Nordic region characteristics such as high-quality public services, extensive user data, high levels of trust in public organizations, transparency in decisions, citizen participation and respect for privacy make Nordic municipalities and cities an ideal starting point for an alternative, citizen-centric smart city model. 

Nordic smart city model

Based on already existing smart city initiatives and strategies in the Nordic countries, including the Norwegian National Roadmap for Smart and Sustainable Cities and Communities, the Nordic countries will co-develop a united Nordic smart city model. The roadmap will serve as a framework for smart city work that allows being exported in the Nordic region and beyond. The model will describe how Nordic cities and municipalities can act as drivers and facilitators for collaborative processes, and use new technology while protecting and putting forward the interests of the inhabitants.

Malin Koch Hansen, senior adviser at DOGA and project lead of the Nordic smart city model stresses the importance of the roadmap:

– Especially in the current situation concerning Covid-19, it is now more relevant than ever to stimulate the development of the smart, sustainable and resilient cities and communities of the future. 

– The ambition is to strengthen globally, the Nordic countries collective position as a leading smart city region by offering an alternative smart city model that puts the quality of life of its citizens at the centre, says Malin Koch Hansen.

The Nordic Smart City Network takes part in the process of defining and describing the Nordic smart city model and will also participate in identifying best practices, including tools, processes and solutions. We will furthermore contribute to identifying projects from each Nordic country that demonstrate the model in practice. These projects will be showcased in selected international arenas. Nordic Smart City Network’s main role in the process will be to present and promote the Nordic smart city model and cases through selected international platforms and events in 2021. 


The following actors are behind the initiative

Nordic Smart City Network

Nordic Edge

Design and Architecture Norway (DOGA)

Danish Design Center

Danish Architecture Center


Demos Helsinki

Iceland Design and Architecture

Nordic Urban Resilience Institute