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Strategies for a car-free Oslo - Action plan for increased city life

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Strategies for a car-free Oslo - Action plan for increased city life

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Similar to cities around the world, Oslo has since the 60s increasingly given up urban space to cars and massive road infrastructure. With a rapid growth of private car ownership, accelerated by the Norwegian oil boom, public transport and soft mobility has been deprioritised. The expansive growth of the capital over the past decades - now the fastest growing capital in Europe – and alarming levels of suspended particulate matter over the city centre, has however forced new thinking around planning for growth in order to sustain a compact city and preserve its green areas and protected forest. This has led to increased attention and investment in public transportation systems. Yet, initiatives to increase soft mobility has only been sporadically retrofitted a car-dominated infrastructure, and has not changed the hierarchy between urban activities and modes of mobility. Nevertheless, mobility patterns have shown a great potential to increase soft mobility, as many of the trips within the city centre are short journeys.

In 2015, Rodeo and Lala Tøyen was commissioned by the Municipality of Oslo to develop an Action Plan for Increased City Life, a key part of the masterplan to turn the city centre car free by 2020. Rodeo and Lala has deployed a multi-disciplinary approach to analyse current strengths, weaknesses, and potentials by looking at urban social networks, synergies between strategic points and attractors, and the potential to reveal unused public space. In extension, Rodeo and Lala Tøyen came up with a set of principles that captures what city life means in an Oslo context. These principles are: Urban Economy, Culture, Mobility, People, Architecture, Innovation and Nature. For the Action Plan, the city centre was divided into 13 sub-areas. A strategy was formulated for each sub-area based on the analysis - using the seven principles - to bring out the unrealised potential for city life. 

The Action Plan underscores how these principles can bring the city to life during the different seasons, with special attention to how city life can be strengthened during the winter season. Local residents, commercial actors and users have been involved throughout the process to inform and provide input to the Action Plan. 

The Action Plan can be accessed here (only in Norwegian).

Articles about Oslo’s car-free strategy: 

The Guardian (19 Oct 2015); Oslo Moves to ban cars from city centre within four years

City Lab (3 May 2018); The War on Cars - Norwegian Edition

Business Insider (2 Feb 2017); 12 major cities that are starting to go car-free

World Economic Forum (2 March 2018); 13 cities that are starting to ban cars

The Action Plan was June 2018, shortlisted for the World Architecture Festival 2018.

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Similar to cities around the world, Oslo has since the 60s increasingly given up urban space to cars and massive road infrastructure. With a rapid growth of private car ownership, accelerated by the Norwegian oil boom, public transport and soft mobility has been deprioritised. The expansive growth of the capital over the past decades - now the fastest growing capital in Europe – and alarming levels of suspended particulate matter over the city centre, has however forced new thinking around planning for growth in order to sustain a compact city and preserve its green areas and protected forest. This has led to increased attention and investment in public transportation systems. Yet, initiatives to increase soft mobility has only been sporadically retrofitted a car-dominated infrastructure, and has not changed the hierarchy between urban activities and modes of mobility. Nevertheless, mobility patterns have shown a great potential to increase soft mobility, as many of the trips within the city centre are short journeys.

In 2015, Rodeo and Lala Tøyen was commissioned by the Municipality of Oslo to develop an Action Plan for Increased City Life, a key part of the masterplan to turn the city centre car free by 2020. Rodeo and Lala has deployed a multi-disciplinary approach to analyse current strengths, weaknesses, and potentials by looking at urban social networks, synergies between strategic points and attractors, and the potential to reveal unused public space. In extension, Rodeo and Lala Tøyen came up with a set of principles that captures what city life means in an Oslo context. These principles are: Urban Economy, Culture, Mobility, People, Architecture, Innovation and Nature. For the Action Plan, the city centre was divided into 13 sub-areas. A strategy was formulated for each sub-area based on the analysis - using the seven principles - to bring out the unrealised potential for city life. 

The Action Plan underscores how these principles can bring the city to life during the different seasons, with special attention to how city life can be strengthened during the winter season. Local residents, commercial actors and users have been involved throughout the process to inform and provide input to the Action Plan. 

The Action Plan can be accessed here (only in Norwegian).

Articles about Oslo’s car-free strategy: 

The Guardian (19 Oct 2015); Oslo Moves to ban cars from city centre within four years

City Lab (3 May 2018); The War on Cars - Norwegian Edition

Business Insider (2 Feb 2017); 12 major cities that are starting to go car-free

World Economic Forum (2 March 2018); 13 cities that are starting to ban cars

The Action Plan was June 2018, shortlisted for the World Architecture Festival 2018.