Bodø is about to undergo Norway’s largest urban and community development project with the relocation of Bodø Airport and planning of a completely new borough the size of approximately 800 football pitches! The project creates unique opportunities for the region.
New Bodø – on the terms of the citizena and planet
When the Norwegian Parliament decided to close Bodø’s main airport and move it to Ørlandet and Elvenes, it paved the way for new and ambitious ideas that will provide exciting jobs, sustainable tourism and green urban development.
Bodø is the largest town and municipality in Nordland. The town is located at the end of a peninsula facing Vestfjorden, and is now an intermodal hub connecting roads, the railway, airport and port. The airport is an import hub for eleven small airports in Nordland, and when the decision was made to close the main airport in Bodø, the community in Bodø was forced to think innovatively.
“The airport was one of the largest workplaces in Bodø with around one thousand defence personnel and soldiers. When the notice of closure was announced, it was a shock. Nonetheless, we now see that the resulting opportunities are unique,” says Irene Skiri, Project Manager at New Town – New Airport. “Through this project, we will create new models showing how the towns of tomorrow should be built.»
When the airport moves approximately one kilometre south-west it paves the way for Norway’s largest urban and community development project since World War II. The area that is being opened up lies in close proximity to the current town centre, new airport and future port section. Bodø has great ambitions within climate, energy and the environment.
In order to realise the above, widespread involvement and dialogue were carried out. This was possible because an area is being developed from scratch rather than being transformed.
“As such, we can take the important and correct steps. This is a pilot project for a zero-emission neighbourhood, and we are facilitating the testing of new technologies and solutions within several areas. Future-oriented energy systems and circular business models are fundamental. Bodø has a harsh climate – what works here also works in other places,” says Rakel Hunstad, Project Manager, Business Development, and R&D and Innovation.
“In relation to industry and commerce there’s huge potential within urban industry, green aviation, sustainable tourism and the marine sector,” Skiri adds. “This project has widespread political support both locally and nationally, which demonstrates how important this project is.”
Targeted and extensive work is being carried out with a long-term perspective to facilitate the businesses of the future. Bodø and the region have defined advantages for business establishment within, for example, energy, minerals, maritime industries and logistics.
“Bodø will play a key role in the development of green businesses. The important opportunity that Bodø has now received through research and innovation, and the development of solutions and technologies for the towns and cities of the future, will make Bodø a more attractive town for business development and the establishment of businesses,” says Karoline Nilssen, Project Manager at Invest in Bodø Region.
Bodø will however face challenges when creating a world-class green town for the future.
“One major challenge is that important national regulations governing energy planning are not adapted to the rapid developments in society,” says Rakel Hunstad.
Positivity and pride
Bodø is a medium-size town with urban qualities. The town has developed considerably during the last ten years. It has been crowned the most attractive town of the year, the town centre of the year, the cultural town of the year and it has been named the European Capital of Culture for 2024. This is the result of long-term work in the community in Bodø and optimism through the New Town – New Airport Project.
“During the course of this summer 400 new hotel rooms were built and 150 are under construction. This is an example of how national actors also recognise the potential in Bodø. There is considerable positivity and such belief in the future is infectious,” Irene Skiri adds at the end.
The building of the new airport will start in 2022 with the planned completion being around 2027. The municipal sub-plan for the new borough will be adopted in 2022, after which the work on the first zoning plan for the first development areas will start.
- Bodø Airport will be relocated further south-west on the Bodø peninsula with completion in 2027.
- 2,900 acres will be opened up in 2027 for the development of the town centre, i.e., the area of the town will be increased by approx. 40%.
- The development has been planned with a 50-100-year perspective focusing on future growth in the new borough. The new borough will be tightly linked and integrated with the rest of the urban area.
- There will be room for 20,000 new jobs, 15,000 housing units, approx. 470 acres for industry and warehouses in close proximity to the port section and airport, and approx. 1,600 acres for urban development accommodating mixed usage of the area to include everything a town provides. For example, dwellings, offices, stores, industries, services, sport facilities and hotels.
- The living environment shall be varied with a range of different dwellings. All daily chores shall be at a walking distance.
- Zero-emission goals are fundamental: walking, cycling and public transport shall be the preferred modes of transport instead of a private car.
- In addition, there will be approx. 930 acres of blue-green recreational areas that will be connected to a network.
- The ambitions for climate, energy and environment are high, for example, through recycling masses and buildings; open stormwater management; future-oriented energy systems; zero emissions within specific areas; neighbourhoods; buildings and mobility; as well as an innovative area in which it is attractive for people to establish themselves.
- In order to achieve its ambitions, the Municipality of Bodø wishes to cooperate with the business community, R&D and Innovation institutions, and citizens. Research and development work shall contribute to increased knowledge, learning and competence.