An increasing population and historically unprecedented urbanisation characterise the 21st century. When resource-scarcity, climate change and growing demands for liveability are added into this mix, thinking of innovation and sustainability in the built environment becomes critical. The Nordic countries are in a strong position to address many of these challenges.
Many rural councils are in favour of dispersed low density housing as it takes advantage of a country location. They are likely however to increasingly come into conflict with the planning system and with governmental planning policies which favour a planned and dense development. We discuss the degree to which six rural councils on the urban edge have developed dispersed housing as a strategy and how this is addressed in their planning. Five of them have strategies for dispersed housing and used local planning as a means of realizing this goal. Nevertheless, only two had proactive plans to address this strategy. Despite governmental policy to ban dispersed housing, such areas are identified in negotiations between local and regional authorities who then subvert institutional barriers. We conclude that while central planning policy does not seem to constrain dispersed housing, local planning does. Local authorities do however set limits on dispersed housing through sector interests.
This publication has been prepared in connection with the 48th IFHP World Congress in Oslo 2004. Its purpose is to provide a general impression of the planning and building situation in Norway, and describe some of the important challenges facing us in the first years of the 21st century. In it, we present descriptions and analysis of issues confronting local and central authorities, property developers and the building industry, as well as the planning community and the public in general.