Oslo earns title of first European CityStudio

Written on July 22, 2019

OSLO, NORWAY – CityStudio Vancouver marked the passing of a major milestone today, announcing the launch of the first European CityStudio in Oslo, Norway.

It’s also the first CityStudio to be initiated and led by a former CityStudio Vancouver student.

CityStudio Oslo, an initiative of the University of Oslo in partnership with the City of Oslo, the Oslo School of Architecture and Design and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, is being managed by Jennifer Vallée.

Vallée participated in the SFU Semester in Dialogue program at CityStudio in Vancouver in 2014. While completing her Masters in Health Economics, Policy and Management at the University of Oslo earlier this year, she raised the idea of starting a CityStudio.

“Returning to higher education quickly reminded me how institutions struggle to connect beyond their departments and perspectives – and that this is not a unique challenge,” remarked Vallée.

“[Through CityStudio Oslo] we hope to give students what CityStudio Vancouver provided to me: additional tools for generating and implementing solutions, experience that can’t be gained in a traditional classroom and a rich network of professional connections working toward the same goal in the city.”

CityStudio Oslo is part of a growing movement of cities worldwide engaging the unique CityStudio framework of city-campus collaboration to innovate and experiment with the way their city is built: together with post-secondary students.

“The launch of CityStudio Oslo is very special for us,” explains Duane Elverum, Executive Director and Co-Founder of CityStudio Vancouver. “Not only is it our first expansion of the CityStudio Network into Europe, but it’s also being led by a talented former student of ours.”

Bringing students to the heart of city building is central to the mission of CityStudio.

“Through the work of co-creating with students and enhancing their professional development experiences, CityStudio Oslo is supporting the wider nordic vision of talent retention in cities” explains Elverum.

Oslo joins ten other cities in the CityStudio Network, which includes Abbotsford, BC; Brantford, ON; Corner Brook, NL; London, ON; North Vancouver, BC; Vancouver, BC; Victoria, BC; Waterloo, ON; as well as Logan and Bendigo, Australia.

CityStudio Oslo is currently recruiting students for its first cohort program, set to start in the fall. It is open to students across disciplines and is also being co-taught by teachers from each collaborating university. The full-time, intensive course will focus on the themes of public space, walkability and Oslo’s new housing policy.

The initiative is partly funded by contributions awarded to the City of Oslo in recognition of being named the European Green Capital in 2019. The City chose to put the funding towards a longer-term project, one with the potential for additional impact in the community.

“The City of Oslo’s vision is to become greener, more open and creative with room for everyone,” shares Jan Fredrik Lockert, Assistant Director General of the City of Oslo’s Department for Business Development and Public Ownership—the team coordinating Oslo’s Campus Strategy in which CityStudio Oslo is included as a key initiative.

“We believe students will help us in shaping the future of Oslo.”

The University of Oslo is leading CityStudio Oslo and funding the project with the City of Oslo. The steering committee also has representatives from OsloMet and BI Norwegian Business School—two schools which may join the collaboration in 2020.

CityStudio was first launched in Vancouver in 2011 with the support of founding partners, the City of Vancouver and Simon Fraser University, as well as the University of British Columbia, Langara College, British Columbia Institute of Technology and Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

It is a transferable partnership model that has been adopted by seven cities across Canada and two in Australia, with more CityStudios in development around the world. Learn more about launching a CityStudio in your city.

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