4.1   Infrastructure platform

Performance
Perception

Oslo inherits a spatial form that can enable it to more quickly pivot to a ‘15 minute’ city model.

Summary

Oslo inherits a spatial form that can enable it to more quickly pivot to a ‘15 minute’ city model, which evidence suggests is becoming more sought after among prospective entrepreneurs, residents and investors. In Oslo, more people live within easy walking distance of key education and healthcare facilities and access to public transport is higher. Resident satisfaction with the public transport system remains very high by global standards, which is partly due to the high frequency and perceived safety of services.

Despite this, other regions completing big system improvements to coverage and efficiency mean that Oslo’s overall infrastructure system scores have fallen back slightly. New datasets also highlight emerging perceptions that the reliability of public transport services could be better.

Highlights

Performance

  • A walkable region. 78% of people in Oslo live within walking distance of education and healthcare services, compared to an average of 52% among peers.84
  • Easily accessible public transport. 61% of residents live within 500m of a frequent public transport connection in Oslo, putting the city region 3rd among 31 peers.85

Perception

  • High satisfaction with transport. 89% of people in Oslo are happy with the public transport system.86
  • Safe and frequent transport. 93% of residents agree that public transport is safe and 90% believe it comes often, which puts Oslo 6th in Europe for both measures.87
  • Less reliable transport. A lower proportion - 82% - of residents agree that public transport often comes when it says it will, which puts Oslo outside the top 25 city regions in Europe.88

Oslo is one of the best placed city regions in Europe to pivot to the ‘15 minute city’

Figure 17: Public transport accessibility and walkability in Oslo and peer city regions

Source: ITDP Pedestrians First. Size of bubble proportional to weighted population density.

Residents rate Oslo’s public transport system highly, but there are some concerns about reliability

Figure 18: Resident perceptions of Oslo’s public transport system compared to European peers

Source: EU Barometer Quality of Life in European Cities. 

Influential all-round indexes

  • Other regions are making big strides. Oslo has slipped 15 places to 35th for all-round strength of regions’ mobility systems, as other regions have improved.89

Implications for Oslo

In the next cycle, it will
be important for Oslo to:

  • Look for opportunities to use new infrastructure as a chance to test new technologies (e.g. self driving, systems integration) and build the on the ground innovation identity of Oslo.
  • Explore ways in which the future Fornebu line can unlock other changes for the region, and demonstrate to global audiences that efficient, safe and affordable public transport can help to underpin a recovery from Covid-19.
  • Ensure the balance of road and rail revenue tools enhance the long-term resilience of the public transport system and show that Oslo’s public transport revenue and investment model will be in tact in the longer term.

4.2   Places and spaces

Performance
Perception

Summary

The recent cycle of culture-led improvements in the urban character and fabric of the city has paid off in the minds of locals and can help to underpin a recovery to the current crisis. The region’s residents are now highly satisfied with cultural facilities - more so than in larger cultural capitals such as Stockholm and Barcelona.

On the other hand, online platforms suggest that the region’s cultural momentum has not yet been reflected as strongly in perceptions of visitors and tourists. Perceptions of cleanliness and quality across all Oslo’s public spaces are not as strong as in other regions. Some evidence suggests the region may need to work harder to bridge the gap between home and workplace post-Covid, due to a relative lack of high quality co-working spaces outside of the city centre.

Highlights

Performance

  • Strong track record of car-free development. 76% of residents in Oslo live within 500m of a car-free zone, putting Oslo 8th among 46 measured peers.90
  • Less suited to demands of co-working. Oslo is 27th out of 30 regions in a new study of the number of desks, private offices and meeting rooms suitable for co-working.91

Perception

  • High resident satisfaction with cultural amenities. At 92%, Oslo ranks 12th in Europe for the % of residents who are happy with the city region’s cultural facilities.92
  • Lower satisfaction with public spaces and the quality of the environment. Only 82% of residents are happy with the quality of public spaces and streetscapes, putting the region in the bottom half of all measured European regions. Oslo also ranks outside the top 30 cities in Europe for happiness with environmental quality and cleanliness.93

Influential all-round indexes

  • Cultural scene not as highly regarded among external audiences. Visitor, student and local review scores of the region's cultural, culinary and entertainment venues have seen Oslo fall 24 places to 150th globally.94
  • Falling behind for cultural product. Oslo ranks 9th among its 13 smaller peer regions for the size and accessibility of the region’s cultural hardware.95

Oslo’s approaches to mobility have made it one of the most walkable regions in Europe

Figure 19: Percentage of residents living close to a car-free zone

Source: ITDP Pedestrians First. 

Oslo’s cultural facilities are more highly regarded among residents than among tourists

Figure 20: Oslo’s rank among European peers for resident and all-audience satisfaction with cultural amenities

Source: Resonance World’s Best Cities, EU Barometer Quality of Life in European Cities.

Implications for Oslo

After Covid, Oslo can:

  • Protect the existing leisure, culture and innovation mix, and build a sharper proposition about them so that external audiences are more aware of what the city has to offer in a post-pandemic world.
  • Work with real estate investors and the business community to prioritise working environments that are genuinely innovative and inclusive and show off new locations around the region.
  • Preserve Oslo’s place edge and work harder to orchestrate meaningful and authentic cultural experiences for locals and visitors in both the city centre and other suburban locations.
  • Make the most of the upcoming Architecture Triennale as an opportunity to show leadership and practical demonstration of how local neighbourhoods, especially outside the city centre, can become more diverse, inspiring and equal after the pandemic.