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Is Aarhus a breakthrough city?

How to foster good conditions for creativity and social innovation

Aarhus was the second Danish city where we launched the Breakthrough Cities report, in partnership with the City Council of Aarhus and KaosPilots in Aarhus. What makes cities thrive? How is Aarhus doing compared to other Danish and European cities, and in which areas can Aarhus do better? We explored some of these questions through four short talks.

The fifty participants were welcomed by Århus Minister of Culture, Jacob Bundsgaard Johansen, who said in his speech: "The project Creative Cities, launched by the British Council, seeks to support this new generation; for example, by helping them to make new contacts, and to develop and share ideas across Europe. I am of course pleased, that Aarhus has become a part of this initiative. And I am sure that we will gain important insights from today’s discussion."

The welcome speech was followed by short presentations from two social innovators mentioned in the report, Alice Casey from NESTA, and Kathrine Overgaard Rasmussen from ActionTank, and also by Per Krull, a PhD scholar in social innovation, and Trevor Davies, who is heading the bid for Aarhus to become Europan Capital of Culture in 2017.                 

After the short presentations, our facilitator, Pete Sims, ran an insightful Q & A session, where the audience got a chance to ask more specific questions about social innovation and how Aarhus can use lessons learnt from other cities. There were also specific questions about the plans for the current bid to host the 2017 European Capital of Culture. Students from the KaosPilot School captured information from the participants that may be useful for partners in the coming months and years.