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Swedish city Helsingborg and IKEA announce groundbreaking partnership to create the sustainable city of the future

Named one of Europe’s most innovative cities in 2020 *, the City of Helsingborg, Sweden, joins forces with Swedish furniture giant IKEA to address global challenges in the co-creation of a sustainable city. The collaboration marks the first time IKEA has ever collaborated with an entire city over the course of several years and will culminate in the summer of 2022 at H22 City Expo, 30 May – 3 July.

In an effort to advance innovation and contribute to greater sustainability and quality of life, the entire city of Helsingborg is being transformed into an open test bed. The city invites businesses, residents, academia, and associations to co-create and develop solutions to our shared challenges.

“I am delighted to present IKEA as one of the city’s partners in H22 City Expo. Together we will explore innovative solutions as we co-create the sustainable city of the future. We know that IKEA has many exciting ideas in regards to this. Through our collaboration with IKEA, Helsingborg is looking to find solutions to challenges we share with so many other cities around the world,” says Peter Danielsson (Moderate Party), Mayor and Chairman of the Municipal Board of Helsingborg.

In the city’s Drottninghög neighbourhood, IKEA will be working with local residents to promote residents’ skills development and strengthen social inclusion. The goal for 2021 is to establish “The Garden”, “The Market”, and “The Kitchen”. “The Garden” is an urban farm that will supply organic produce for food production in “The Kitchen”, with both prepared food and produce then being sold at “The Market”. The ambition is sustainability in all aspects of the model – environmental, economic, and social.

Another collaboration will invite students from around the world to share their visions of what an alternative, fully sustainable community would look like and how it would function. Detailed solutions for aspects such as shelter and housing, energy, and water will be explored. The community will be built in the city’s Fredriksdal forest leading up to and during H22 City Expo. An abandoned warehouse in the harbour area, known locally as Oceanhamnen, will be used to showcase IKEA’s ideas for the sustainable home of tomorrow, with themes such as “The Future of Manufacturing” and “The Future of Retail”.

“We firmly believe that home is more than four walls – it’s also our neighbourhoods and communities – and so the opportunity to be a co-creator for H22 is hugely exciting. Over the next three years, we will use the full potential of the IKEA Business model and embrace radically different thinking. By 2022, we want to present real solutions for sustainable cities that are affordable and practical for people, planet, and society,” says Marcus Engman, Ingka Group Chief Creative Officer, who will lead the collaboration.

“We need to create new partnerships to secure a strong, resilient, and sustainable welfare society for the future. We look forward to working alongside IKEA and the residents of Helsingborg to achieve this,” says Jan Björklund, Opposition Leader (Swedish Social Democratic Party) in the City of Helsingborg.

* Helsingborg was awarded second place in the European Capital of Innovation Awards 2020, also known as iCapital. The European Commission awards this annual prize to the European city that is best able to demonstrate its ability to harness innovation to improve the lives of its residents.

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