Case Study: Bringing citizens closer to sustainability in creative ways

trianglePLACE: Stockholm, Sweden, the office dealing with Cultural Affairs

SITUATION:  Stockholm is a forward-thinking city when it comes to sustainability. Helene Mårtenson from the office of cultural development explains the challenge;

to inspire citizens to a sustainable life-style by communicating substantially in new, creative forms.

FRAMING QUESTION: How can cultural institutions like libraries and theatres engage citizens in sustainable development?

See the Video below of the follow-up at the end of this post.

SOLUTION:  Engaging Stephen Hinton as environmental “creative consultant” the suburb of Farsta, Stockholm installed in the lobby outside the library and theatre a “sustainability kiosk” and embarked on filling the kiosk with ideas, events and other creative approaches.

A first sketch of the sustainability kiosk


  • Suggestions box  for ideas and questions
  • Brochures from local organisations with environmental focus
  • A round Farsta environmental walk – get to know your suburb’s environmental assets and concerns first hand
  • A social network connected to the kiosk – sign in and join the debate
  • A environmental story telling  corner for the younger ones
  • A set of “what’s its all about” cards – with environmental information relevant to the suburb for groups to use to get discussions going
  • Planned sessions and activities include
    • “Doctor Environment” who will sit and listen to symptoms and dish out “prescriptions”
    • A giant plastic foot that represents fossil emissions of C=2 from the city
    • A request for  early retirement written in a letter from “Mr Oil”
  • A mini- lecture corner for local organisations to invite people in to present their environmental activities



EXPLAINER: The funnel concept of reduced available resources

The funnel concept, introduced by Karl-Henrik Robert  Founder of the Swedish Natural Step, explains how increasing pressure on resources reduces the options of future generations to maintain a standard of living. Stress like that on populations  radically increases conflict and undermines peaceful societies. In the diagram below,  the width of the funnel represents the opportunities to continue society’s per capita resource usage. The depth of the funnel represents time. Continue reading “EXPLAINER: The funnel concept of reduced available resources”

Case Study: Dealing with transition to fossil-free food provision and refugees at the same time

food-securityPLACE: Sweden. Municipal level
SITUATION: Swedish municipalities are facing several resilience challenges at once. They have to provide shelter and care to the highest influx of refugees and migrants per capita in Europe whilst preparing for the ambitious government-led transition to fossil fuel independence and carbon neutrality by 2050. Food security is at risk too, as Swedish food provision field to plate is fossil-fuel dependent and food waste is high. Sweden is also dependent on food and fodder imports;  farmers are struggling to compete with imports from countries that have lower food safety and animal welfare standards, better soil and growing seasons, and lower costs.
FRAMING QUESTION: How can municipalities work towards a de-fossilised food provision system that reduces waste, manages the influx of migrants and refugees whilst ensuring the farming community can live on what it produces? Continue reading “Case Study: Dealing with transition to fossil-free food provision and refugees at the same time”

Case Study: Economy Builder for a post-disaster economic recovery


SITUATION: Analysis of municipal risks by partner organisation reveal that preparedness for major disruptive events (like climate event or rapid economic decline) was in place to some extent. What was lacking however, was a mechanism to restore the local economy if access to the monetary system (often digitalised and reliant on internet) was restricted post-disaster.

FRAMING QUESTION: How can a community recover the local economy post-disaster in a situation where the digital monetary system is still not functional?

SOLUTION: Set up a temporary, non-digital currency system specifically designed to be provided by aid organisations in a limited geographic area.

Continue reading “Case Study: Economy Builder for a post-disaster economic recovery”

Case study: a carbon neutral legacy for an international sporting event


SITUATION: A  large international sporting event was  planned.

The investment by the host city needed to lead to a more environmental city including reduced waste and emissions, a better carbon profile and more jobs created in the circular economy.

FRAMING QUESTION: How can a sporting event make best use of the investment in the arrangements around the event to spark off the sustainable circular economy in the city and at the same time increase the number of jobs available for city residents?

SOLUTION: Create a complete biomass waste stream handling infrastructure around the event, inviting the attendees to invest by carbon compensating their journey to the event. Then use this infrastructure to spread to the other parts of the city.

Continue reading “Case study: a carbon neutral legacy for an international sporting event”

Case study: round-suburb walk starts to wake indigenuity

COVERPLACE: Stockholm, Sweden

SITUATION:  The local cultural center, with its youth theatre, music school and library is taking on a new challenge: to find creative ways to bring local citizens closer to sustainability.

Like charity, sustainability begins at home. Although for most people in a suburb, home functions as a place to sleep and be whilst away from work. Yet people need to engage as Stockholm is getting ready to embrace a fossil-free future. It intends to be fossil-independent already by 2030. Walking cities are surely in that vision.

FRAMING QUESTION: How can a suburb creatively engage residents in a way that fosters a sense of place, a sense of the challenges involved as the city moves away from fossil fuel dependence?

SOLUTION:  Create a round suburb walk, publish a map and connect the map to a web-based discussion forum.

Continue reading “Case study: round-suburb walk starts to wake indigenuity”

Case Study: bringing the power of corporations to water and food security

waflogoPLACE: Copenhagen, Denmark

SITUATION:  A group of successful entrepreneurs take up the challenge from NGOs working with hunger. These entrepreneurs have seen the power of human endeavor, innovation and inspiration. Can the power of entrepreneurship be harnessed to stop world hunger?

And yet hunger is like the elephant in the room: it is hard to talk about, hard to take in.

FRAMING QUESTION: How can entrepreneurs bring the water and food situation in the world to the attention of more in a way that stimulates entrepreneurial energy  and engages corporations and the broader public?

SOLUTION:  Create a Humanitarian Water and Food Award that celebrates initiatives that are bringing food security in sustainable, innovative ways.  Use the inspiration of these initiatives to inspire corporations to focus their CSR and humanitarian programs on not just avoiding creating food insecurity (for example by stopping  pollution) but by making it a central part of their mission.

Slowing growth, dwindling resources, changing environment, and increasing inequality. All these changes challenge corporations to get involved somehow. We need resilient communities. Resilient communities mean  continued prosperity . But food security is central. Weakened by hunger, entrepreneurship fades and  there is no  prosperity. Nearly one in seven of the Earths’s inhabitants are longing for their chance to thrive, for their chance to be entrepreneurs. But they want to do it sustainably, without destroying forests, soils or the climate.

The Water and Food Award has been looking into the challenge of creating water and food security in a sustainable way since 2009, seeking out initiatives that give us hope.

Read more  here: The Water and Food Award website

Learn more by joining the Water and Food Award’s webinar program. The first one is here.


Case Study: supporting resilient local economic development

LER_LOGO2PLACE: JAK Bank, Skövde, Sweden

SITUATION: Growing  awareness  of the need to transition from a fossil-fuel based economy to a sustainable, resilient economy, is driving demand for education and training to enable local action  groups to accelerate their activities. Continue reading “Case Study: supporting resilient local economic development”

Case Study: Envisioning the sustainable city

porenaPLACE: Stockholm, Sweden

SITUATION:  The think tank  AVBP took on the challenge of working with the narrative of the sustainable city. Instead of seeing how we live as  being a burden on the Earth, and  dire prospects of having to give up our comforts, AVBP explored how tell the story of how we  can create great places to live sustainably.

FRAMING QUESTION: how can we create a narrative that gives us  a positive, feasible view of a sustainable future in a city? Continue reading “Case Study: Envisioning the sustainable city”