While several innovation strategies are evident in the Nordic countries, the strong performance in Stockholm appears to be linked to the development of several eco-districts, including Hammarby Sjöstad and Stockholm Royal Seaport. These developments have certainly served to heighten the city’s green profile, which was evident when Stockholm was recognised as the European Green Capital in 2010. Yet the results, also suggest that beyond local environmental sustainability and branding, these eco-districts are having significant positive impacts on the development of environmental technologies.
Eco-districts as test beds
Nordregio research for the Interreg REGREEN project, along with a 2013 OECD report, indicate that Stockholm’s eco-districts have done well to act as test beds for the clean tech sector to test and develop new technologies. Benefitting from the high international profile that these urban developments have garnered, Stockholm’s clean tech sector is subsequently able to market and export its technology around the world.
Message to other cities
For other cities, a key message from Stockholm’s experiences is that the benefits of developing eco-districts can go beyond established urban benefits, including producing a more resource efficient built environment, integrating buildings and public transport, and engraining resource efficient consumption behaviours. The high performance of Stockholm’s green innovation in a Nordic context underlines the value of integrating local innovation and economic development strategies into new eco-district development plans. There are considerable opportunities to strengthen links between urban development and economic innovation and growth.
Green growth in focus
Since 2010, green growth has been a core focus of Nordic cooperation. It is one of ten themes covered in Nordregio’s newly released State of the Nordic Region 2013 report. The full report is available here. For more information about the ongoing Interreg REGREEN project, see here and here.