Northern cities are not always seeing and using the opportunities of winter. As a way forward, one can think of small interventions and additional adaptations, one can promote winter as such, and all of that can be helpful. What would be more helpful, is a coordinated effort, a strategy which involves both planning and place branding. Planning for winter cities then has to give prime place to urban design, as slow users and spaces need to be emphasized and integrated, and as neighbourhood nodes need to become vibrant enough to be mini- destinations for winter walkers.
The branding side of the strategy has to be more than selling local assets, hyping winter as such or assimilating foreign influences -here new and localized stories of Northern qualities and lifestyles are needed, new Nordicities. Such new Nordicities have a better chance to coordinate action in the longer run, to convince residents of the value of winter strategy, and to position the city vis a vis others.
Edmonton, Alberta, came a long way, thanks to a winter city strategy which, ten years ago, already aimed to integrate planning and branding, and articulate the importance of design.
New paper in Geografiska Annaler, with Monica Gruezmacher, Robert Summers, Vanessa Zembal and Megan Strickfaden: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/04353684.2023.2167664