Susanne Balslev Nielsen (left) and Ann-Elise Gustavsen enjoying a good day’s work

Nordic Case Competition – prize to CCSD student

Ann-Elise Gustavsen, a CCSD student, won 2. prize in the Nordic Case Competition in sustainable university campus development. The competition was the grand finale of a multidisciplinary urban planning course focused on a socio-ecological approach to real case development. Ann-Elise, an Urban planning and construction management student, was invited to the competition by associate professor Susanne Balslev Nielsen, who is doing research in sustainable university campus development. Ann-Elise participated in the CCSD course “Urban planning and Sustainable Development” in spring 2015 and intends to graduate in sustainable urban planning.

Here are some of Ann-Elise’s thoughts on the competition:

Along with 24 other students from different universities in Scandinavia, I was invited to Finland to participate in the Nordic Case Competition, where the objective was to connect Otaniemi with the rest of Finland in a sustainable and socio-ecologial manner.

For 3 days my team worked on the Otaniemi waterway, which is the path along Otaniemi, mostly in the forest and by the water. We wanted to connect the students and their living situations with the residents around the area. Conversations on the first day showed that there is no feeling of community between students and residents. It’s challenging to navigate along the path and there are also unpleasant crossings of major highways making it difficult to reach services in neighborhood areas, Tapiola and towards Helsinki.

“Unbreak the heart”, which we called our team, is about restoring the feeling of community and cohesion. We wanted to design a process for bridging the macro and micro scales, with the help of meso-scaling, to facilitate communication and improve socio-ecological outcomes.

During the competition it was good to see that each group consisted of students with different backgrounds. Since I have a bachelor in civil engineering with focus on urban planning and am currently doing my master in management, I found my skills very useful when discussing the implementation of various solutions. We discussed the challenges and used different types of management analysis. This, along with meeting new, interesting people, made this experience very valuable.

I believe that urban sustainable development will play a major role in the future. It will become more and more important to people and their surroundings. The world is getting smaller, space is limited and we are starting to build up. There is already action taken towards car-free cities and everyone should contribute if we want our cities and municipalities to be livable for future generations.