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URBAN QUEST 2017
Future of the Nordic Model

Finland has undergone a phenomenal transformation, described best by its ”from farms to cities” social transformation, driven by the values of its Nordic Model. But as the context changes, what worked so well yesterday may not work moving forward. Today Finland’s Model is already showing strains and changing economic context, values, and demographics are putting pressure on rethinking our models of urbanization & growth. Finland has to urgently redesign its model; so does the world.

The theme for the MFA Urban Quest in 2017 is The Future of the Nordic Model. The aim is to understand the Nordic model in a broader global context of urbanization and to identify its potential value and the challenges it is faced with today and in the future.

What is it?
Urban Quest is a neutral convening platform for influencers & stakeholders to explore alternative models of urbanization. It brings together a very broad range of voices, bridging the long and slow perspective of history with the fast an agile perspective of technology. Its focus is to help accelerate a balanced discussion between questions of finance, urbanization, social equity, well being, and sustainable development. Its objective is to help reframe the forward-moving narrative of urbanization in pursuit of solutions that are more equitable and suitable. The uniqueness of Urban Quest is in this mix of convening, framing, and activating.

Why?
In order to tackle the challenges posed by the increasingly rapid urbanization of the world’s population, it is essential that we look for solutions together – already today.

The world is becoming more and more urban at an increasingly rapid rate, and Finland is no exception. At the moment, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities and in roughly 15 years as many as 75% is predicted to live in urban areas. The change has significant implications for societies, land use, economy and climate. Even now, cities produce 80% of all the CO2 emissions and consume 75% of global energy. Cities have a big impact on the environment and the way in which life is organized in cities has an ever-increasing effect on the way our planet is headed. Therefore, cities are also a key to a more sustainable future.

 Everywhere in the world, the majority of new apartments are built in the largest cities and their surroundings. Population growth in large metropolitan areas transforms the experience of life cities in multiple ways. It opens up new opportunities and poses new challenges to be tackled. In order to facilitate the future social, ecological, structural and economical sustainability of our cities, it is essential that we look for solutions together. In order to allow for new insights to emerge, we need to bring together the multiplicity of areas of expert knowledge on the various aspects that are at play in shaping our cities.

What is unique about Urban Quest?
MFA Urban Quest is an open and interdisciplinary platform for influencers and experts from a wide range of fields.

  • Discussions on city development are usually driven by the incumbent interests of the parties involved (municipalities, developers, architects, etc.); the Museum provides a neutral platform for this important debate. This opens an opportunity for a discussion that allows for multiple perspectives to coexist and inform each other in one shared debate.
  • The Museum brings a different context to discussion: the long perspective of history. Cities are not built overnight. The future of our societies can only be envisioned with an understanding of the presence of multiple temporal layers in a city.
  • Given its long tradition of international work, the Museum is able to provide an international context to a globally relevant question.
  • Architecture provides the tangible framework in which we live our lives. It is the concrete physical manifestation that brings together all the different aspects that influence the development of our cities.

Who organizes Urban Quest?
The organizer behind Urban Quest is the Museum of Finnish Architecture (MFA), that is in the frontlines of architectural expertise, urban culture as well as our built environment and heritage. As an independent and objective agent in the field, MFA is the natural organizer for such an open discussion platform, providing insight into the role of architecture and the means to truly find solutions to the urban challenges of today.

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