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Norway's most attractive city can inspire a whole world

Emil 3636

You don't need to live in New York, Beijing or London to participate in the fight for sustainability. We have the will, the competence and the execution needed here in our own small town. Here in Porsgrunn - the cradle of industry.

Before the weekend, the Ministry of Local Government and Modernization announced that Porsgrunn, as one of three cities, is a finalist in the competition to be named Norway's most attractive city. "The similarity between this year's finalists is that they are smaller cities that facilitate sustainable development and creating attractive cities with vibrant centers," the ministry writes in its statement.

Of course, this is a gratifying recognition, but everyone who lives and works here is hardly surprised. Porsgrunn is one of Norway's most attractive cities and has been for many years. Even though I lived in Oslo at the time, it was only natural for me to buy Porsgrunn Business Park and locate R8 Property's head office there. The city had many temptations: Great development potential - and politicians, administration, and people who were interested, curious, and willing to make changes to create an even better city. The location, between Oslo and Kristiansand, also provided outstanding opportunities to create an inviting and inclusive city for visitors.

Creates good neighborhoods

This willingness in the local community to create good communities gave us the energy and courage to start R8 Property and our other companies right here. We believe - similar to Porsgrunn city - that it is the community that binds us, humans, together. That is why our most important job is not to develop buildings, but to develop local communities - modern, sustainable neighborhoods that are pleasant to live in and inspiring to work in. This is how we make sustainability more than words. We practice sustainability.

As we did with Kammerherreløkka by transforming a gray bus station into a vibrant neighborhood with a new, beautiful hotel, an inspiring commercial building, and restaurants with sustainability in focus. Last but not least, we created an open "promenade" down to the river. If you come traveling by train, the first thing that greets you will be an exciting, inviting quarter with distinctive architecture. The first thing you see is the Comfort Hotel Porsgrunn, with its unique façade that changes with the sunlight at all times. Then you come to the lush park, which tempts to hour-long visits for small and large, thanks to the municipality's diligent efforts. The journey continues past the venerable Porsgrunn town hall before you can take a break in the beautiful Town Hall stairs and enjoy the view of the river. This would not have been possible without good partners such as Porsgrunn municipality and Bane NOR Eiendom. This transformation has received attention by the ministry: "Especially the cultural quarter between the station and the river has seen its renaissance," they write in the press release.

Porsgrunn is a pioneer city.

The world's cities are growing rapidly, and today's buildings use 25 percent of the world's water, at least 30 percent of the world's energy, and account for almost 40 percent of the world's climate emissions. Cities are, therefore, the front line of the climate fight. The fight for sustainability is won or lost in cities. In R8 we go further than both legislation and regulations impose on us. We are climate-conscious and have shown through Powerhouse Telemark that we can build sustainably. This is one of the world's most energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly buildings.

At the beginning of the year, American CNN named Powerhouse Telemark one of the world's ten most exciting buildings. The other buildings on the list are the new airport in Berlin and eight other groundbreaking buildings on other continents. This proves that you do not have to be big to be seen. You do not have to be located in a world metropolis to make a difference. We have the expertise, we have the will, and we have the execution needed - here in our own small town, the cradle of industry.

Porsgrunn can be an inspiring, sustainable pioneer city for the whole world if we want it strongly enough.

Emil Eriksrød, CEO

"The cities and towns that emphasize sustainability - both socially, environmentally and economically - will also be the most attractive," says Minister of Local Government and Modernization Nikolai Astrup in a press release. We could not agree more. In R8, we promise to do everything we can to help sustainability become a prerequisite for building good neighborhoods. We want to create green, vibrant communities and contribute to Porsgrunn becoming an inspiring environmental city outside the country's borders.

We wholeheartedly welcome Nikolai Astrup, mayor Robin Kåss and the jury to Powerhouse Telemark for inspiration and learning when they visit Norway's most attractive city in September!

For inquiries, please contact Torunn Johansen.
Phone: +47 932 46 626
E-mail: torunn.stavran.johansen@r8group.no