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Oslo Territories

Type of project
Basic research

About the project

The project investigates the peri-urban landscape. It is a contentious zone where traditional land-uses meets industry, infrastructural expansion and urban development.

The growing Oslo Region with its administrative divisions and varying degrees of urbanization is the focus of the project. The region is characterized by the co-existence of urban and rural land-uses, and the presence of existing and future conflicts between stakeholders and a variety of private, public or industry interests. The peri-urban landscape is not only located at the perimeter of urban growth, but may also be found in between urban nodes and infrastructural corridors within the region.

Peri-urban landscapes areas often appear as transitional spaces comprised both of urban programs and traditional rural industries such as agriculture and forestry, at the same time as they provide important eco-systems functions for nearby urban settlements (such as water supply and recreational areas). They are in focus with regards to future urban growth and development in the region, and their programmatic and functional variation means that they are often in a transition between ‘untouched’ countryside and industrial, infrastructural and residential urban development. This transition is often characterized by conflicts between ‘old’ and ‘new’ uses, between different forms of aesthetic appreciation, and between urban functions, bio-diversity and other forms of eco-system services.

Peri-urban areas are often considered recipients of sprawl, which is negatively associated with car-dependence, climate gas emission heavy lifestyles, social segregation but also the occupation of land essential to provide eco-systems support for cities, with negative impact on health, water quality and loss of bio-diversity and eco-systems resilience.

While urbanization, including the loss of traditional landscapes and their associated lifestyles, is often seen as negative, peri-urban areas also function as important laboratories in which future forms of cities are emerging, including new patterns of city fabric and natural zones. In addition they are also urban settings in which emerging lifestyles can be identified and their landscapes and spaces studied.

To understand the ways cities expand in ways that may fall under the category of sprawl, the project studies the current state, limitations, processes and potential for change in the Oslo region. Studying and developing methods for conceptualizing these transitional spaces is key to managing change and growth, and the project works to develop integrated, multi-disciplinary understandings of challenges, potentials and conditions for urbanization processes, resilient ecosystems using a range of different approaches,

Managing change in the peri-urban landscape requires well-informed, knowledge-based spatial planning and design concepts, and the project seeks to develop this knowledge in order to read, analyse and conceptualize current conditions and developments, and propose regional concepts as well as local design strategies. One aspiration of the project is to interact — and build collaborative trans-disciplinary knowledge — with stakeholder and informants, including policy makers and industry representatives, in order to understand historic and current planning and development processes in order to be able to develop new insights that will contribute to finding better solutions for the future management of peri-urban areas

Making use of land-use data and developing of GIS-based analytical and projective planning tools is part of the project in order to provide precise knowledge of the relationship between urban policies, planning and actual development. Other approaches include experimental forms of mapping.


The three PhD students associated with the project are:

Marianne Skjulhaug: Urban dynamics in peri-urban areas – lost opportunities or land of potentiality?

Espen Hauglin: Use of GIS (Geographical Information Systems) in strategic planning in the Oslo Region.

Elisabeth Sjödahl: Productive Water Urbanism