STRATEGY AND CULTURE
Reprogramming how the city center is used: For people, not cars.
When a progressive coalition won Oslo's municipal elections in 2015, it immediately sketched the strategic plan to make the city car-free by 2019. The decision was hailed internationally as another forward-looking Nordic policy to create a more desirable environment.
But it turns out that Oslo is not Copenhagen.
Oslo has long lacked the cycle culture of Copenhagen and getting people to give up their cars has been tough. Sometimes, the most ambitious plans require changing mindsets, rather than infrastructure.
Intended as a response to the city's growing population and high levels of air pollution, the initial scheme banned all cars from Oslo's center.
But backlash from conservative parties and the main trade association forced the government to scale back the plan.
Now the intervention is: instead of banning cars, the city has made it impossible for them to park. The assumption is it will make taking the car much less attractive. Last year, it repurposed 300 parking bays for benches, flower beds and art installations. This year, the remaining 400 will be similarly transformed.