Mån 22 apr / År 42 / Nr 1 2024

Umeå Municipality: “the knowledge to build sustainable cities is in great demand worldwide”

Investments to further develop the conventional concept of Technical Visits are important in sustainable Umeå. A greater flow of both domestic and international visitors generate more opportunities for local businesses, the municipality and academia when it comes to further developing and circulating knowledge and bringing innovations forward. Business, community and academia seem to operate on the same level – in order to create further growth all parties must act together as a triple helix organisation. In Umeå, representatives from all parts of the triple helix are acting together in order to create a good climate for environmental entrepreneurship.
Technical visits are included as a project of the municipal company Kompetensspridning i Umeå AB. Mayor Lennart Holmlund comments on the cooperation in Umeå’s triple helix organisation:
“We have formed the company in collaboration with our industry in an ambition to create a means of sharing of knowledge that has been built up over many years here in Umeå. I believe that based on a conscious and strategic effort to create good opportunities, further growth and new jobs within the trade and industry are to be expected. Umeå is a very good example of collaboration between the community, companies and academia, and the concept is not new to us. Through Technical Visits we have the chance to really focus on environmental issues and sustainable urban development”.
Seizing business opportunities generated by Technical Visits
The ambition of the project Technical Visits can be summarised as to jointly create conditions to make sustainable business and thereby also find new partnerships. The municipality has adopted a number of strategies to seize the business opportunities that Technical Visits generates.
“The foundation was formed as the City Council appointed a decision that we will become a so called Northern hub for environmental technology.Through this strategic decision, things really got busy in the town halls, and we began to interact in a clearer way to create a sustainable city that is also able to communicate and advertise its knowledge. The knowledge to build sustainable cities is in great demand and provides opportunities for us to export our technology and competence. I would therefore say that we are at the forefront of development here in Umeå”.
Lennart Holmlund illustrates his words further with an example: “Our local energy provider is planning to become completely climate neutral by 2018. Efforts like these make us prominent and keen to become even better. Now that we also formed the company Kompetensspridning i Umeå AB, we have the ability to export and do business based on our most valuable asset; knowledge”.
Shared knowledge is twice as valuable
Umeå intends to share knowledge to other municipalities and regions in Sweden and abroad. “The interest in what we do is continuously growing and we have visitors from many cities. The sustainable Ålidhem is attracting a lot of interest now that we have the initial results of our efforts. We also aim to cooperate with the municipalities that just as we are working to export Swedish environmental technology”.
The Network for sustainable construction and property management has enormous significance for Umeå as Sweden’s fastest growing municipality.
“If we are to build sustainable constructions, the entire industry must join up in the same team as us. We are trying to accomplish this by working with the dissemination of knowledge throughout the construction industry on all levels. Here one must be able to look around the world and take inspiration from other countries such as Austria with their long history of projects relating to energy efficiency”, Lennart Holmlund concludes.
In collaboration with Lågan (a project organisation for energy-efficient buildings) the municipality of Umeå is organising a trip for members of the Network to Austria and Germany in order to acquire additional knowledge for future innovations.