‘We will see a drastic change in how we use city centers and retail space’ – Q&A with Karl Fjelde Nevland

A quick Q&A with Karl Fjelde Nevland, Head of Nordic Edge Innoasis 

What is your most surprising prediction about cities?

Karl Fjelde Nevland

Not sure if it is super surprising, but here it goes. In practical and political discussions about the future of our cities, we often tend to put viable cities equal to profitable shops in the city. As if shopping and consumption should be the main driver of life and activity in our urban areas. Over the next 10 years I believe we will see a drastic change in how we use city centers and retail space. Traditional consumer culture will drop off. The income models and uses of commercial real estate will be altered to fit new services that are better in line with the issues we are facing. I predict we will see all kinds of new business models orbiting circular economy, social interactions and adventurous experiences. Imagine streets filled with meeting places, high tech repair shops, virtual fitting rooms and all kinds of circus.

Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think about cities and technology?

I feel obligated to say Gunnar Crawford – the smart city chief of Stavanger, my home town.

What 2-3 books / podcasts would you recommend?

I guess Animal Farm by George Orwell is a fun read if you want to learn about how to build a (not so) good community.

Also, The Feminist City by Leslie Kern is a good book if you want to explore questions about who cities are built by and for.

I also enjoy listening to Philosophize this and Freakonomics to challenge my ideas about the world we live in.

Where’s the best place for new ideas?

I believe the best ideas come from interaction with other people. Especially people different from yourself. In Nordic Edge Innoasis we believe that the best solutions for a smart and sustainable society are developed through the collaboration of diverse people. From different sectors, different backgrounds and different mindsets. We work to establish an inclusive innovation arena that enables swift development of tomorrows solutions.

Who inspires you?

When it comes to cities, I am really fascinated by the work of Col·lectiu Punt 6, and their relentless approach to put the inhabitants at the center of city development.

What are the skills we’ll need in 10 years?

The societal challenges we are facing are far more complex than we can imagine and will require a broad range of skills. I believe a skill we will see an immense need for is collaboration expertise. The skill to get people to collaborate across disciplines to create something concrete and useful.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Experiment more. Put small and big ideas into practice and see what happens!

What is your call to action?

To make sure the solutions of tomorrow’s society are for everyone.


Connect with Karl on LinkedIn