NMBU Sustainability Arena: Green and smart cities - GreenSmart

NMBU Sustainability Arena: Green and smart cities - GreenSmart

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The GreenSmart arena hosts activities and projects focusing on sustainable urban development. We target overlaps in social, economic, and environmental sustainability and explore the opportunities ahead for tomorrow’s green and smart cities.



GreenSmart is one of the five NMBU Sustainability Arenas (2021- 2024).

We will use resources on development and coordination of the various disciplines from the faculties at NMBU, through collaborative projects related to research and development, as well as the development of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary courses and study programs (including university extended education courses). The project is anchored within all seven faculties as well as the NMBU Learning Center and the dissemination and learning arena Vitenparken. GreenSmart consists of a wide professional diversity, while still keeping a clear focus on recycling valuable resources, often called “waste”. External partners are also engaged through the sustainability partnership Pådriv, and we encourage other external partners with an interest in collaboration to reach out.

The arena has developed and established meeting places and seminar series, both physically and digitally, nationally, and internationally, while also hosting as an arena and space for employees, students and external parties that seek to engage in specific projects of mutual collaborative learning opportunities on any topics related to green and smart cities for future sustainability.


The arena will focus on specific projects, such as the establishment of a school garden, where the Department of Teacher Education (ILU) and Vitenparken collaborate. The arena will also design guides for the municipalities on how they can use the Planning and Building Act to facilitate UA in the planning work, as the government wants in the National Strategy for Urban Agriculture. And amongst many other projects we will further investigate the topic of sustainable building operations, with the use of renewable and recycled materials of building sites.

GreenSmart is also developing a "digital twin" for the arena and the arena's activities. We aim to provide an open arena - both nationally and globally, but also to minimize the arena's footprint by reducing the necessity of travelling to meet. The Learning Center will actively contribute to the arena's transdisciplinary knowledge production and dissemination internally and externally. The arena's activities and projects will be based on a broad sustainability approach with a focus on social, environmental, and economic sustainability. This includes a special focus on people, both individually and in a societal perspective.

Additionally, GreenSmart will be comprehensively integrated into circular economics and urban agriculture by using biology, technology, planning, economics and the social sciences as a basis for research and development related to green and smart cities. Through the new master’s course in urban agriculture, student active learning is developed with the help of transdisciplinary collaboration groups, and this is intended to be transferred to other subject areas, courses, master's programs, and university extended education courses. GreenSmart will also actively utilize the case-study in SiEUGreen Campus with recycling of household waste, black and grey water, together with an innovative greenhouse technology as a centre for student activity and a demonstration site for professionals and the general public.

More about the project

NMBU - The Sustainability University - has a unique academic synthesis of environmental and life sciences, bioproduction, veterinary medicine, technology, spatial planning, and economics that enables NMBU to contribute in solving complex challenges and enable a sustainable future towards UN's 17 sustainability goals and 169 sub-goals. The project originates from the National Center for Urban Agriculture (NCUA) and is well founded in NMBU's current strategy. GreenSmart will therefore contribute to realizing NMBU's overall commitment: "Joint efforts for a sustainable future". NMBU has four focus areas in this joint effort which will support the overall investment: (1) interdisciplinary research, education, and innovation, (2) the digital society, (3) learning for life and (4) the human being as a resource.

The arena's origin, the National Centre for Urban Agriculture (NCUA), opened in February 2019. Under the auspices of NCUA, the DIKU project TRANSTIKK has developed and established an interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary master's program in urban agriculture (UA) where the first students were enrolled from August 2021. Keywords are transdisciplinarity in close collaboration with external actors and coordination of academic resources from alle seven faculties at NMBU. NCUA has also been a great platform for applying for projects; NCUA is now a co-applicant or a supporter for several projects in the field of circular economy. NCUA is further developed and expanded through GreenSmart and will still have ecological cycles and sustainability as key elements with inspiration from the EU Horizon2020 project SiEUGreen.

We also include our international partners in the EU, UK, Minnesota, California, China and Australia to contribute on digital teaching platforms within our subjects, in an international education market based on NMBU's uniqueness. GreenSmart also expands its partnership with Vitenparken, Læringssenteret and several initiatives at NMBU. Additionally, we link to the SFI earthresQue and their focus on cycles for soil and water resources.

Stay tuned with the news/ events-tab and do not hesitate to reach out with questions!

Best regards,

- The GreenSmart Team