A focus on urban competitiveness and attractiveness has become an integral part of urban policy. In discussions of urban challenges and opportunities, both attractive historic environments and beneficial transport solutions are high on the agenda. As such, cultural heritage and sustainable transport are central to the attractiveness of cities. This implies that liveability for inhabitants and attractiveness to visitors and investors are influenced by how cultural heritage is maintained and how transport challenges are solved.
The environmental research institutes behind this proposal offer a unique interdisciplinary research competence in addressing the linkages between societal drivers, environmental change, impacts and policies in a common analytical framework, i.e. the enhanced causal chain for the relations between transport and environment. Sustainable transport is chosen as a common, and increasingly crucial, environmental research area. Transport produces the more persistent, and resistant, of the environmental problems. It also brings about a broad range of problems: both global and local emissions; health and ecological impacts; land take and landscape changes. Therefore, transport is often the source of substantial environmental policy goal conflicts. Focusing on the environmental trade-offs highlights the dilemmas of sustainable transport. It serves as a methodological crucial case, testing the thesis of sustainable transport under its most difficult conditions, when a solution has controversial effects. Overcoming these conflicts means handling difficulties in political, administrative and academic priorities and concerns, and pave the way for more robust solutions also under the more likely, more beneficial conditions.
The project was executed through four main research tasks relating to various stages in the transport-environment chain, focusing on the not so well-known linkages between urban, landscape, and transport topics: 1) on social drivers behind mobility, 2) on environmental and landscape changes, 3) on significant urban impacts, and 4) on policy processes for sustainable transport. The methodological approaches include research reviewing, innovative case studies, and use of administrative and secondary (survey) data.
By comparing the urban development program in Bjørvika with the environmental and living condition program in the Grorud Valley, this project has demonstrated how using transport and cultural heritage as prisms provides new ways of understanding urban development. The project found that both transport and cultural heritage is highly relevant in local authorities’ strategies aiming at increasing urban attractiveness. As such they are also relevant to the notion of urban entrepreneurialism, which is characterised by its emphasis on improvement of urban qualities as means to create economic growth. While elements of urban entrepreneurialism are found in both programs, the ways in which it is being applied varies. This has consequences for strategies involved and the resources made available. As such our comparison shows how the different contexts of the city and the suburb influence on strategies for cultural heritage and transport. The comparison reveals a peculiar mix of differences and similarities. While there is a total restructuring of the road system in Bjørvika, willingness to invest is lower in the Grorud Valley. Significant differences can also be observed regarding the use of cultural heritage in the strategies. In both programs, the use of heritage is involved in seeking to increase the attractiveness of the geographical area in question. It is also involved in the projection or place marketing strategies, illustrating the presence of entrepreneurialism in both programs. Nevertheless, the instrumental use of cultural heritage for entrepreneurial ends is not found in the Grorud Valley program, where it is more used for social cohesion purposes. A respondent from the Municipality of Oslo argued that: “In many ways they are trying to do the same in the Grorud Valley as in Bjørvika, but on their terms.” This illustrates how the geographies of transport and cultural heritage are influenced by the physical, political and social realities and the conceived prospects for the future.
The project serves as a base for transport planning policy.