Challenge / Goal
Picture this: a complex web of climate and sustainability plans, a myriad of objectives and focus areas and a world where the average individual's carbon footprint is a staggering 11 tons of CO2 per year. The path to a sustainable future is obscured by confusion, apathy, uncertainty and bad news.
This is where Bydel Frogner (a borough in the West End of Oslo) steps in, as it grapples with the daunting challenges we face. The community faces a pressing question: Will Oslo's residents alter their lifestyles and consumption patterns to meet our 2030 climate goals? This is the issue the District of Frogner is determined to address. As the first district in Norway, Frogner aspires to offer its residents a straightforward solution to tackle this enormous problem.
The dream is simple, yet transformative: The district aims to lead the way in supporting a shift towards a more socially and environmentally sustainable society. The vision is a world where individuals live with the lowest possible carbon footprint while enjoying the highest quality of life. The goal is audacious—to reduce the average carbon footprint from an alarming 11 tons to a sustainable 3 tons per capita.
To achieve this ambitious vision, Frogner must mobilise residents, engage businesses and enlist the public sector. The challenge is unmistakable: while a desire for change exists among most people, they often lack the necessary knowledge and tools to initiate meaningful action. Habitual patterns further compound this inertia, making transformative shifts seem daunting. Bydel Frogner aims to shatter these barriers.
The district of Frogner sought to create a lasting solution that empowers residents to make a tangible difference, fostering enduring cooperation and information exchange instead of relying solely on short-term campaigns and initiatives. The approach involves harnessing the power of the pioneering district app to nudge, inform and inspire users over time, cultivating a sustained relationship.
However, the key to success lies in fostering community-wide involvement. There is a critical need to nurture a sense of collective responsibility, uniting residents, businesses and public entities in a collaborative effort towards a shared goal. A significant obstacle encountered was the necessity to simplify intricate sustainability practices and streamline information, thereby establishing a platform that not only educates but also stimulates concrete, impactful action.
What we measure, we can influence and what we understand becomes tangible:
Bydel Frogner has already taken substantial steps to integrate innovative solutions through Innocode's dynamic citizen app. This platform has successfully fostered consistent interaction between the district and thousands of engaged residents every week. Leveraging this existing foundation, the ongoing efforts are geared towards a comprehensive and sustained strategy.
Building upon this established groundwork, the initial phase focused on discerning and testing the utilisation of non-personal data to measure the impact of various community-driven initiatives. This involved understanding the effectiveness of different measures, communications and activities initiated by the district's residents. The data is hyperlocal and residents can compare data from their own neighbourhood to the city as a whole.
In a proactive next step, the project expanded to invite a select test group. This group enthusiastically consented to the collection of diverse data sources, ranging from movement data to financial transactions, water consumption and electricity usage. This augmentation has allowed the effort to refine its data collection for more precise insights.
Collaborating with partners like Innocode and Ducky, the district of Frogner has harnessed the power of data-driven insights to enable a nuanced understanding of sustainability across five key sectors:
- Goods and Services
- Public Services
The district app has played a pivotal role in streamlining communication, visualisation and engagement efforts. It has been tailored to facilitate seamless interaction through the incorporation of dedicated pages, personalized interest 'tags' and a comprehensive 'What's Happening' section encouraging resident participation. Push messaging with sustainability ideas and tips, information and news will drive continuous participation and engagement and help residents to make more informed everyday choices.
The project's phased approach has demonstrated significant progress through three pillars:
- Inform: From the start, the team provided comprehensive information about the project's purpose, current status and our collective objectives to ensure community-wide awareness and understanding.
- Motivate: Through various educational tools and engaging activities, the project team has strived to motivate and encourage sustainable practices within the community. Residents have been guided with practical tips and step-by-step instructions on adopting eco-friendly behaviours. This focus is on positive change and local results as opposed to fearmongering and gloomy predictions.
- Engage: The inclusive approach has encouraged active resident participation, enabling them to contribute through surveys, ideas and tip submissions shared with all residents. This fosters a sense of ownership and collaboration within the community.
In the preparatory phase, the team engaged with groups of residents to delve into their perspectives on sustainability and the factors that would drive their engagement towards altering their behaviours and choices. A discernible pattern emerged, revealing a sense of despondency and the perception that the challenges were insurmountable. Many expressed skepticism about the impact of their individual actions, compounded by the overwhelming nature of the multifaceted issues and the deluge of negative news inundating them almost daily. Nevertheless, there was a palpable willingness or desire to effect change, and many were making conscientious efforts to make thoughtful choices. However, there was a clear yearning for more knowledge on what truly makes a difference and the specific measures that could contribute meaningfully to effecting change.
Amidst these sentiments, it was evident that people were not advocating for radical overhauls but were open to incremental changes that wouldn't significantly disrupt their lives. Moreover, the team observed a growing recognition that sustainable everyday choices could indeed yield personal benefits, such as improved health, reduced consumption and increased physical activity.
A pivotal and foundational concept in the project has been user involvement. The project has sought to inspire change, believing that the residents' own ideas and tips for making positive everyday choices are fundamentally more effective than those from experts. As a result, while the project commenced with expert guidance, upon its launch, residents were encouraged to share their own insights on activities, choices and solutions that could contribute positively to the initiative.
Bydel Frogner's project is merely in its infancy. Now, it aims to learn from what works well and what could be improved. The residents' responses and feedback will be integral to refining and advancing the solution. The app provides a dedicated space for residents to offer feedback and suggest new functionalities, content and methods, thereby ensuring their active participation in the continual enhancement and evolution of the project.
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