Federation for
Housing and

IFHP Nordic Housing Lab

Thursday 24.09.2015
Frederiksholms Kanal 30, 1220 Copenhagen, DK

Nordic Liveable Cities. For whom? Exploring spatial segregation and housing policies in the Nordic countries

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The Nordic Housing Lab explores spatial segregation and housing policies in the Nordic countries. Key experts are invited to join the conversation and exchange knowledge and learnings from the five Nordic countries.
The lab takes place in collaboration with the Danish Architecture Centre DAC and is part of a series of labs. The first lab was in New York City in June 2015 that focused on progressive ways to tackle housing affordability in a city that is becoming more and more exclusive and global. The Nordic Housing Lab is the second in this investigation and will be followed by a third step that will take place in Berlin on November 11th in conjunction with The IFHP Summit. The Summit conference day is November 12th where we share learnings from the labs and other IFHP activities throughout 2015. 


The Nordic Housing Lab  

Nordic Liveable Cities. For whom?
Nordic cities cluster at the top of league tables of everything from urban sustainability to economic efficiency, from effective public transport to green spaces quality. The “Economist” has even introduced the concept of “Supermodel” to describe the unicity and progressivism of this geographical area. Housing has traditionally occupied a central position in this model. The socially oriented housing policy aimed to provide good quality housing for all, regardless of income.
Most larger cities in the Nordic Countries have gone through a quite spectacular development during the last decades. Today, the Nordic cities are among the most liveable cities in the world, hence becoming very popular and expensive to live in. The question at this point is whether the Nordic cities can maintain the high standards in terms of liveability and equality that have been reached. The welfare system is challenged by the need of a reinvention of itself, thus responding to emerging needs and inevitable changes of our societies.
Currently, the Nordic welfare model is under great pressure from immigration, population ageing, global economic crisis and rising youth unemployment. At the same time, there is an increase in the distance of the wealthier population from the average income. Moreover, the current political debate in the Nordic countries concerning immigration-related issues is intense: the issues of refugee reception systems, citizenship and minority rights, the financial costs and benefits of immigration, and ethnic residential segregation are extremely topical. This has a direct bearing on the housing market, and affordability has become an issue.
The Nordic Housing Lab will touch upon some of the following questions:
  •  Are the Nordic cities liveable for all groups of people or are marginalised groups excluded?
  • What is the city we want to create in the future?
  • How are the Nordic welfare states shaping the conditions for residential segregation and de-segregation, and how are the patterns and processes of segregation affecting the wider social and spatial developments in the different host societies? 

Conference programme

Conference programme

List of Speakers


Aim of the lab

With perspectives and learnings from the recently held Housing Lab in New York, the event in Copenhagen looks at dimensions of segregation in the wealthy Nordic Cities. The aim of the lab is to share knowledge and experience about tools and strategies dealing with segregation, compare instruments from different Nordic countries and offer contributors and attendees insights into new approaches. The debate will question policy makers and urban practitioners on how to transfer solutions across the borders.


An ongoing research program

IFHP and DAC have engaged in a series of events exploring the dimension and the size of urban segregation in relation to housing affordability and integration policies in different cities across the world. The research is enriched by the results of the local practical laboratories that involve multidisciplinary teams looking at current specific questions from different perspectives. This research will compare the investigations in different cities, identifying in particular local solutions and responses that can be transferred to the different contexts.

Activities related to this event:

IFHP NYC lab (


For more information please contact: 

Giulia Maci, IFHP Project Manager
Viviana Rubbo, IFHP Project Manager