Nordic Best Practice Challenge

On the second day of the Conference of the Nordic Capitals, that took place in Reykjavik on May 7-8, the winners of the Nordic Best Practice Challenge were crowned. The City of Reykjavik, the City of Oslo, the City of Copenhagen and the City of Mariehamn won in one category each.

The Conference of the Nordic Capitals is a biannual meeting that was established in 2002. The first conference took place in Reykjavik in 2003. Thereafter the conference has been held in Stockholm, Helsinki, Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm. The other participating cities in this forum are Mariehamn, Nuuk and Torshavn.

The main purpose of the conference is for Mayors, politicians representing political parties in the City Councils and high city officials (depending on the topic) to share experiences and maintain good relations. This year’s conference had as its theme “Resilient Cities”.

At the conference in Stockholm in 2013, all the cities present agreed to take on a challenge in best practice - NBPC. The agreement states that the aim of the NBPC is the exchange of knowledge between the Nordic capitals. It was agreed that winning one of the four categories would just be a bonus as the main goal of the NBPC is the exchange of solutions for the common good.

The Nordic capitals have been invited to submit four innovative public sector solutions to the NBPC. One for each of the Challenge's four main areas:

Main areas                                         Examples

Public communication

  • Citizen dialogue
  • Open data


  • Public transport
  • Infrastructure for cars
  • Infrastructure for bicycles
  • Infrastructure for pedestrians


  • Urban environment
  • Air quality
  • Production of sustainable energy
  • Increased energy efficiency


  • Safety measures
  • Accident prevention
  • Care systems (preschools, schools & elderly care)

According to the agreement at the conference in Stockholm in 2013, the contributions could be innovative ideas ready to be applied in the near future, or projects that are already in operation or in the process of implementation. What were asked for were smaller-scale projects and solutions to everyday city problems rather than, for instance, large and complex city planning projects that might be difficult to implement in other cities. In other words, hidden gems; simple yet innovative solutions for public sector operations.

Each city mayor has selected a person from their city's university or other equivalent research facility or college of higher education for the jury. All the nominations to the Challenge have been assessed using the following criteria:

  • Reliability and cost effectiveness.
  • Sustainability.
  • The implementation of an innovative idea for an activity or practice.
  • The implementation of a new innovative approach to an existing activity or practice.
  • Clear practical benefits for the citizens.
  • Potential lasting impact on the everyday life of the city.
  • Transferability of the concept to other Nordic cities.

Seven of the cities - Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo, Mariehamn, Reykjavik, Stockholm and Torshavn - have nominated projects to the challenge. Here you will find a folder that comprises all the entries to the Nordic Best Practice Challenge, a number of interesting, inspiring and transferable projects for you to examine.

Here are the four winners with the jury's motivations:

Winner in category 1 Public Communications: "Better Districts: Prioritizing Projects (City of Reykjavik)".

Winner in category 2 Transport: "The Electric Vehicle Capital of the World – Making EVs the Right Choice" (City of Oslo).

Winner in category 3 Environment: "Tåsinge Plads – Copenhagen’s First Climate-Resilient Urban Space" (City of Copenhagen).

Winner in category 4 Safety: "Active Ageing Online – Äldreomsorg på Distans" (City of Mariehamn).

The jury of the NBPC also awarded four projects with a Special Mention award. The winning projects was “Chemical-Smart Preschool” (City of Stockholm), “ – A Totally New Form of Public Transport.” (City of Helsinki), “Personal Panels – Would You Like to Have a Piece of a Solar Power Plant? (City of Helsinki) and “Traffic Agent App – Road Safety on the Way to School” (City of Oslo).


Point of contact for all matters relating to the Challenge is:

Executive Office, Finance Department
City Hall, SE-105 35 Stockholm
Phone: +46 8-508 29 063