NT 5th element

The future of our cities - Challenges and solutions in the Nordic region and internationally

Session 2/3: "How can culture / artists contribute to the social resilience of the city?"

In 2005, in an article titled “What the Warming World Needs Now Is Art, Sweet Art,” 350.org founder Bill McKibben wrote that although we knew about climate change, we didn’t really know about it; it wasn’t part of the culture yet. “Where are the books? The plays? The goddamn operas?” he asked. An intellectual understanding of the scientific facts was not enough – if we wanted to move forward and effect meaningful change, we needed to engage the other side of our brains. We needed to approach the problem with our imagination. And the people best suited to help us do that, he believed, were the artists.

While the economic and social value of art and culture is increasingly recognized in cities – especially in the Nordic countries –, it is much less known how they can contribute to the creation of environmentally sustainable cities. Social resilience is the ability of human communities to withstand and recover from stresses, such as environmental change or social, economic or political upheaval. According to many observers, the climate issue is a cultural challenge. Creativity and art generate economic and social capital: they are important for the economy, as well as for health and well-being, social integration, renewal and perhaps most importantly, shape urban identity. Now we realize that culture is also crucial for creating socially cohesive cities that are resilient, future-proof and much more fun places to live.


The event will take place in Stockholm, as a physical event, but will also be recorded and live streamed.