‘People will leave the big cities and move to smaller towns’ – Q&A with Pia Thomsen

A quick Q&A with Pia Thomsen, Partner at ArkiTours.

What is your most surprising prediction about cities and sustainability?

Pia Thomsen

Pia Thomsen

We believe that the importance of nature for our well-being will be enhanced. More people will leave the big cities and move to smaller towns, perhaps in flexible ways, just for 4-6 months of the year. By 2030 will see a demand for high-speed trains, easy accessible transportation throughout many countries and a transformation of the land surrounding the smaller cities. Also, we believe in an interesting revitalization of the smaller cities, that is, with higher education (as until the 1980s), an improved private business and retail industry and a blooming cultural scene, from theatre to skate parks, outdoor harbor pools etc.

How do you wish your field of expertise would look like in 10 years?

In 2030 we have developed specialized areas for our clients, such as mobility & landscape, industrial design, most of it probably digital, sustainable housing & recreational surroundings. Finally, we believe we will present our clients for a variety of mixed-use projects (kindergarten in private office building, youth housing mixed with elderly home etc.) in order to use any kind of building more efficiently – in line with a sustainable way of living. Also, the tendency that many people prefer to share and to be part of a community will spark a pool of diverse and creative designs. Gosh! Suddenly, I cannot wait till we reach 2030!

Tell me more about the work you’re doing to get there

I work as Partner in ArkiTours, a consulting company designing visiting programs abroad and in Denmark for the building industry. It is small scale business, that is, I work closely together with my Partner, who founded the company, Dorte Augustenborg. About 14.000 employees from architectural companies to municipalities have been traveling with ArkiTours over the years. First and foremost, I develop our future programs and I am organizing programs for e.g Hamburg, Zürich, Oslo – or Ålborg (when the borders are not closed due to COVID-19)

What is your source of inspiration and why?

We discover new projects on various architectural and design sites, such as Dezeen and Realdania and on Instagram. Also, LinkedIn is a good source. We of course also learn from reading newspapers on daily basis. Here, we learn about future projects which Scandinavian developers are engaged in. Also, we gain insight into topics that are on top of mind, for example for a new client group of ours: pension funds. One important topic for them is wooden architecture / CLT (cross laminated timber) following the sustainability agenda since they are investing billions in housing and business buildings made of wood/CLT.

Also, how to work with more focus and how to navigate between work and spare time means more and more to me. For the past 3 years I have been using the meditation app CALM. I believe I would jump out of the window if I lost that app! You must really give this a try. I mediate 10 minutes a day when I get home from work. The combination of rest and personal development has truly made me more balanced and resourceful – in my own opinion 🙂 In addition, sources of inspiration can come from anywhere; from speaking with an unknown person at the coffee machine at BLOXHUB, talking with friends, etc.

What 2-3 books / podcasts would you recommend?

I particularly like these two Danish podcasts: KampagnesporetFinnsk Terapi – and I enjoy reading Knausgaard – he’s available in almost any language these days.

Share with us the secret of your success

Dare to be personal. Both my colleague and I are the key contact person for our customers. Regardless if we are on the phone, e-mail or traveling with them I have learned that our product is best, when we act both professional and personal. Automatically, most of us are professional. It is a risk to be personal. When taking that risk, I have learned that the relationship lasts longer and is more fruitful. In fact, it works in general.


Connect with Pia on LinkedIn