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ALICE - Attractive Living In Cold Environment

Published: 28 May 2013

ALICE is a strong research in sustainable community planning funded by the Research Council Formas and conducted in close collaboration with business stakeholders.


This project aims to study how socio-technical systems, i.e. systems that are both technical designs and at the same time is influenced by human choices and the structures around the systems, can be more durable in cold climates. The project addresses changes in the short term (seasonal variations), the medium term (changes within the city so that new residential areas) and long term (climate change) as well as across the different phases of the systems planning, design, management, operation and maintenance and decommissioning.

Usually, the concept of sustainability is divided into the three pillars ecological, economic and social sustainability. All three components are important for the system to be fully sustainable. In this project, a different approach has been made to further introduce an interdisciplinary aspect. Here sustainability is divided into "good life", "Sustainable use of resources" and "The customizable city" to jointly shape the concept of "An attractive levende in cold climates."

In order to capture the complex interactions that occur between and within these systems the project draws knowledge from seven research subjects: architecture, energy engineering, industrial work environment, political science, urban water engineering, timber structures and construction engineering. Together, the research group studies issues such as:

  • how can municipal authorities encourage and support a good business climate,
  • integration opportunities between traffic and building structures,
  • how can the planning process for socio-technical systems done differently to cope with the simultaneous requirement of promptness and legitimacy,
  • optimization opportunities of urban energy supply and demand systems,
  • how visualization and information modeling can used in the early phases of the construction process in order to facilitate the decision-making for sustainable constructions.

Ídeas are tested and studied in practice in mainstream socio-technical systems. Case studies are done in the two towns of Kiruna and Malmberget in ore fields north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden. These two cities have an ongoing transformation of the city due to mining activity in the area providing crack in the ground beneath the cities. There is a desire in these communities for development to be based on sustainability and with the involvement of citizens, businesses and organizations in the social transformation process. This presents a unique opportunity to study sustainable community with a focus on the socio-technical systems.

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