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Smart Retro: Novel Ways to Develop Cities: Baseline Report
Demos Helsinki.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Environmental Strategies (moved 20130630). KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Centres, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Centres, Centre for Sustainable Communications, CESC.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5191-9250
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Environmental Strategies Research (fms).
Demos Helsinki.
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2014 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

WHAT WILL your home and neighbourhood look like in twenty years? The radical development in smart solutions, the ageing of building stock, our need to radically cut our greenhouse gas emissions and many other strong drivers are changing the way we live, faster than ever before. That change is particularly significant

in areas with older building stock – but it is not deterministic change. This is a baseline report for Smart Retro: a project exploring how we can rein in the strength of emerging trends – like digitalisation and the sharing economy – and use them to steer the development of our cities into a desirable direction.

Many smart city projects focus on newly- built areas1. This makes the integration of new smart technologies into “dumb” walls, roads and buildings relatively easy. Unfortunately, the model of building entirely new stock doesn’t solve the challenges and needs of our existing cities: in 30 years, the majority of urban dwellers will most likely still live in neighbourhoods built in the 20th century.

The starting point for Smart Retro is therefore existing building stock: smartness must be retrofitted into old buildings and previously constructed areas. The word Retro refers to buildings and areas that are ageing and in need of renovation at an accelerating pace. They require retrofitting with new solutions. These practices are introduced in the Retrofitting Projects section of this report. Smart refers to the inevitable digitalization and the new ways in which we can harness our distributed resources. This development has strong disruptive effects but also opens a plethora of new possibilities.

The sustainable city is tomorrow’s necessity: greenhouse gas emissions must be cut by a large margin and resource efficiency needs to be radically improved. Sustainable urban services are an integral part of that advancement – these digital, local services provide new jobs and make our cities more livable. They improve our quality of life. A selection of companies at the frontline of these new service providers are presented in the SmartUps section. Many Nordic areas are dilapidating not only in terms of buildings but also in services and urban activity. That is why

it is important to look at the case studies in the Placemaking section, which demonstrates that the strongest urban vitality often derives from the engagement of locals, good services and suitable infrastructure.

THE SMART RETRO PROJECT develops new service concepts with experts and end-users. The most promising services are proofed in real city environments. The project aims to create new services, valuable partnerships, and ultimately, a new model that – in the Nordic context – effectively combines the refurbishment of buildings with service development.

This baseline report examines the current state and future prospects of our case areas in Lahti, Stockholm and Oslo, to gain knowledge of emerging practices in the domain of built environment. These examples do not unfortunately reveal how our homes will look in the future. But they do convince us of the radical changes awaiting our urban environment in the coming decades. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Demos Helsinki , 2014. , 74 p.
Keyword [en]
smartretro, smartups, urban, renewal, local economy, energy, smart city, retrofitting, startup, place making
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-159250OAI: diva2:783811
Smart Retro
Nordic Council of MinistersSwedish Energy Agency

QC 20150203

Available from: 2015-01-27 Created: 2015-01-27 Last updated: 2015-02-03Bibliographically approved

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Wangel, Josefin
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