Local time
Welcome to ArkDes on September 27th
Café Blom is open as usual

ArkDes is currently closed for refurbishment.

X Email

Six teams selected for Visions in the North step 2

Ice and snow researchers, designers, screenwriters and architects are examples of professionals who will explore new methods to meet the needs associated with the green industrial transition in Norrbotten and Västerbotten. This initiative imposes significant demands for more housing, attractive living environments and long-term sustainability. Through the Council for Sustainable Cities’ call for “Visions in the North step 2”, six teams have been selected by the Council’s evaluation group to contribute with innovative methods for the development and management of six specific locations in Boden, Gällivare, Kiruna, Luleå, Skellefteå and Umeå municipalities.

The challenge is to create sustainable housing in a short period while leveraging existing resources and establishing enduring high-quality living environments.

Boden – Team Boden

Anna Sundman, photo: Chia May Wong. Olof Landgren, photo: Bokoop. Karin Johansson, photo: Håkan Nordström. Erik Berg, photo: Anna Berglund. Magnus Björkman, photo: Chia May Wong

Team members:
Anna Sundman, architect and innovation leader
Olof Landgren, concept and business developer
Magnus Björkman, architect
Karin Johansson, writer and educator
Erik Berg, construction educator

Geography: Boden, the abandoned houses in älvdalen
What role can the already built environment play in the societies of the future? The team will focus on the question: How can the mapped abandoned houses be used and contribute to meeting the needs of housing and good living environments for both existing and new residents? How can this be designed with ecological, economic and social sustainability in focus?

Rationale: The team has deep expertise in design, communication and economics. There is also previous experience of working adjacent to the geography. The insights leading to the team’s application come from a long period of work on developing concepts for collective living forms. This ability to carry out projects lends credibility to the ambitions formulated in their application. The team describes not only a highly concrete and feasible approach but also an ambition to explore and build an infrastructure for similar property transformations, with the possibility of living on and scaling up in älvdalen. The method can serve as a source of inspiration and model for similar initiatives in Sweden.

Gällivare – När horisonter möts

Kari Anne Bråthen, photo: Janike Kampevold Larsen. Heiti Ernits, photo: RISE. Mari Bergset, photo: Trond Petter Robertsen. Martin Allik, photo: Kadri Koppel. Ramona Salo Myrseth, photo: Haakon Mudenia ​

Team members:
Martin Allik, landscape architect
Mari Bergset, landscape architect
Heiti Ernits, Ph.D. in Public Administration
Ramona Salo Myrseth, artist, designer and storyteller
Kari Anne Bråthen, ecologist

Geography: Gällivare, Älvrummet, Vassara älv
How can the are around the river, with all its existing values, be strengthened to contribute to the entire Gällivare living environment? The team will explore methods and approaches to develop and simultaneously conserve existing allotments, the site’s proximity to water, as well as create meeting places and allow art and culture to take place in the landscape. How can the developed and decided development plan for the area be translated into realistic qualities that are possible to implement? What parts should be reconsidered and what parts should continue in the municipality’s physical planning? How can the design of places and landscapes create opportunities to strengthen the development of qualitative and sustainable living environments?

Rationale: The team’s composition shows great experience in living and working in the Arctic environment. The application is convincing and testifies to experiences of similar processes as well as an understanding of the municipality’s needs and work methods. Pedagogical expertise and previous experience of inclusive and exploratory design processes inspire confidence in the proposed method’s feasibility. In their application, the team shows a genuine interest in working with different time depths in the place’s long-term development. This, combined with the belief in the prototype’s potential, makes “När horisonter möts” a relevant project for Älvrummet and Visions in the North step 2.

Kiruna – Berätta mig vidare

Fredrik Eklöf, photo: Fredrik Eklöf. Erika Henriksson, photo: Erika Henriksson. Mattias Fransson, photo Matilda Rahm

Team members:
Erika Henriksson, architect, artist and educator
Fredrik Eklöf, architect and scenographer
Mattias Fransson, screenwriter, actor and director

Geography: Kiruna, Svappavaara
Is Svappavaara a potential resource for the municipality of Kiruna to grow beyond the city? A monument of untapped opportunities? The team will focus on the question: how can we, through the processes and power of design, strengthen the living and housing environments in the countryside? This is to strengthen Svappavaara in becoming an attractive living environment, based on existing local needs and challenges, as well as future plans and ambitions

Rationale: The team’s composition shows an ability to explore innovative and artistic methods for storytelling that can underpin site-specific and sensory design. They move smoothly in the borderland between architecture, art, craftsmanship and research. In their application, the team expresses an ambition to work in the landscape and culture in which they grew up. They also want to operate and contribute, through presence and active listening, to a design that grows together with the geography and life around it. Through this method and previous experiences, the team is considered to have the ability to translate the open exploration into concrete proposals and feasible prototypes that can depict Svappavaara’s many stories and annual rings.

Luleå – Isspår

Annica Doms, photo: David Doms. Jan Forsmark, photo: Jan Forsmark. Nina Lintzén, photo: Luleå Tekniska högskola. David Doms, photo: Joel Nilsson. Sam Keshavarz, photo: Sam Keshavarz

Team members:
David Doms, industrial designer
Nina Lintzén, ice and snow researcher
Sam Keshavarz, landscape architect
Annica Doms, industrial designer, form and craft developer
Jan Forsmark, lighting designer

Geography: Luleå, the Ice Track
Building on this local gem, which attracts thousands of people during the winter months only to melt away under the midnight sun. Despite its popularity, the ice track’s potential has not been fully utilized during the winter, and development plans for the surrounding promenade have primarily focused on the non-winter season. The team will focus on the question: How can we, through the design of the site and its surroundings, raise its status as a modern cultural heritage all year around? What models are there to strengthen management systems, and how do they connect to the self-organized networks of civil society that are and can be linked to the site?

Rationale: The application contains a number of qualities, and the group’s members seem tailor-made for the intended geography. The proposed approach and method are exemplary clear, and the potential to achieve it is good. The team poses concrete, and for Luleå, highly relevant questions that the team also has potential to answer. Overall, this makes “Isspår” an exploratory project that, through unexpected collaborations, has the conditions to be implemented and continue. Thus, the project can contribute positively to the quality of life for the people of Luleå and the city’s attractiveness.

Skellefteå – Örviksgruppen

Dan Hallemar, photo: Simon Johansson. Jenny Nordmark, photo: Josefina Nordmark. Josefina Nordmark, photo Sven-Åke Visén​. Dag Avango, photo: LTU

Team members:
Josefina Nordmark, architect
Dag Avango, professor of history
Jenny Nordmark, architect, scenographer and artist
Dan Hallemar, writer

Geography: Skellefteå, Örviken
The former industrial environment with industrial buildings and its proximity to the water has great potential to contribute to sustainable and attractive living environments for the people of Skellefteå. The team will focus on the question: How can the area be developed and meet the need for new sustainable and inclusive housing and meeting places, while preserving the cultural environment? What does the area look like in 5, 10, 50 years? What is required for Örviken to gradually grow into a sustainable green/blue urban area? Are the answers to be found in the historical relationship to the water or how the log driving has changed the landscape?

Rationale: In their application, the team poses a number of very relevant questions for the long-term and sustainable development of Örviken. The team has in-depth knowledge of the region’s conditions, challenges and history. Based on exploring and understanding the place’s cultural heritage, the team seeks knowledge on how future changes can be met. The application balances visionary bids with a realistic and pragmatic view that lends credibility to the team’s ability to carry out the work and deliver a result that can highlight the unexplored as well as add new perspectives for the municipality of Skellefteå.

Umeå – VEX

David Sandström, photo: Robin Laananen. Ebba Hallin, photo: H Marano. Pelle Backman, photo: Rubina Dafford. Åsa Cederqvist, photo: Lisa Björk. Tomas Mazetti, photo: Peter Reuters

Team members:
Pelle Backman, architect and physical planner
Ebba Hallin, architect and physical planner
Tomas Mazetti, communication strategist
Åsa Cederqvist, artist and filmmaker
David Sandström, songwriter, musician, music producer and author

Geography: Umeå, Tomtebo strand
Here you will find outdoor areas with swimming opportunities and skiing tracks, as well as Umeå’s largest workplace area. How can design and small-scale testing in the present be used as tools to identify relevant actors? How can we create a neighborhood that is socially sustainable over time? The team will explore methods to investigate how they can become part of a long-term strategy for equitable access to quality living environments.

Rationale: The team’s composition enables them to move from planning processes to performance. In the application, an ambition emerges to create space for the many parallel wills that characterize a democratic city and explore sustainable methods that allow slowness and changeability. Experiences within the team from planning and community building processes, pedagogy and co-creation processes combined with methods of communication and mediation that go beyond the expected are assessed to have great potential to challenge conventional working methods and add new perspectives to Tomtebo strand.

Visions in the North step 2 is initiated by the Council for Sustainable Citites, the Swedish government’s initiative for sustainable urban development. The project is organized by Boverket, ArkDes, Energimyndigheten, Vinnova and Formas, for the Council for Sustainable Cities, along with the municipalities of Boden, Gällivare, Kiruna, Luleå, Skellefteå and Umeå. ArkDes leads the project, with funding provided by Vinnova, Formas, and the Swedish Energy Agency.

From February 28 to April 4, 2024, the Council for Sustainable Cities called for multidisciplinary teams of designers, architects, urban planners and other innovation agents to adress specific locations in the six municipalities.

The Council for Sustainable Cities is a collaborative effort among Sweden’s government agencies with the mandate to enhance municipalitiesconditions for developing vibrant and sustainable cities and communities. The Council includes: Boverket, Folkhälsomyndigheten, Formas, Myndigheten för delaktighet, Naturvårdsverket, ArkDes, Energimyndigheten, Tillväxtverket, Trafikverket, Vinnova, Riksantikvarieämbetet, Statens konstråd, as well as the county administrative boards and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKR).

Learn more:


Practice-based research


Norrbotten and Västerbotten

Visions in the North step 2

Sustainable living environments are shaped by continuity, multiple perspectives and local knowledge. With this starting point, the work on the project ‘Visions in the North step 2‘ continues, which is an independent part of the earlier ‘Visions in the North step 1‘, conducted in 2022.