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Europan 14: Productive Cities


City: Narvik
Title: Need for Speed

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Narvik’s demographic problem

Narvik is loosing its young population to larger cities. The reasons for this movement are far more complicated than a single factor as «jobs», «culture» or «fun». The attraction of a place for contemporary young people is easier to think as a constellation of facts and attributes. The way of looking at cities and societies is slightly changing to adapt new demands. According to the «Nomad List», a popular website among young professionals that evaluates cities according to «millennial urban attributes», cities like Richmond and Dallas in the USA, Plovdiv in Bulgaria, Groningen in the Netherlands or Kitchener in Canada appear in the world’s top ranking for cities to move to. What are these new attributes? How can we take advantage of Narvik’s values to attract youth?

So, what do young people demand? What do they need? Young people essentially demand future.
This concept brings several values and requirements. According to the “Global Millennial Urban Survey” and their annual «Youthful Cities Ranking» or the previously mentioned “Nomad List”, young urban values differ from the traditional city values. Connectivity, diversity, air quality, environmental consciousness, Internet bandwidth and digital access are some of these new ways of considering cities as a worthy places to live in.

Traditional values such as affordability and professional opportunities are obviously still the most determining factors, although they are also to be redefined. We are used to hear about young professionals collapsing big capitals to foster their careers, but new typologies of workers are appearing. Remote workers and freelancers start to deal with the possibility of working all around the globe without leaving home. This new social group is know as Digital Nomads. They «use wireless Internet, smartphones and cloud-based applications to work remotely wherever they live or travel.» The website Remote.ok is one the better known web portals to «find a job you can do anywhere». May the digital infrastructure play a determining role in the coming young population’s distribution?

A digital society could «offshore» its workers allowing them to live anywhere they’d wish to, because they could remotely work wherever they are. A physical connection between different settlements requires lots of money to be invested in infrastructure and time to travel.