Oslo Plans for an Intercultural Future

Oslo's once-homogenous population has changed dramatically in the past few decades: immigrants and their descendants are predicted to account for 50% of all residents by 2030. Sarah Wesseler looks at the spatial implications of this transition.

Like other Norwegians of his generation, Oslo architect Geir Haaversen has watched his country's demographic makeup change profoundly during his adult life. "In the late eighties and nineties, when I went to college, there was one Pakistani guy and that was it. Where I lived, outside Oslo, that was the only family. Now it's very multicultural. Change for Norway has come quite quickly."

As the city's non-native population continues to grow both in size and proportion-by 2030, immigrants and their descendants are projected to account for 50 percent of all residents-it remains to be seen how Oslo will evolve. In spatial terms, it has fared better than a number of its European counterparts, avoiding the poor conditions and isolation that blight many of the continent's immigrant neighborhoods. As government officials and designers such as Haaversen try to build a healthy foundation for the future, however, the pressing need for more housing, and the increasing tendency for ethnic divisions to echo traditional tensions between the city's east and west sides, pose significant challenges.

Full Story: The New Norwegians

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