Federation for
Housing and

Hamilton Urban Open Innovation Lab

Thursday 13.09.2018 to Friday 14.09.2018
Hamilton, Ontario

IFHP and partners are organising an urban open innovation lab in Hamilton, Ontario, to exchange knowledge and experiences across geographies and forge new partnerships.
To accommodate new economic, environmental and social needs, cities across the world are faced with sustainability challenges associated with the transition from an industrial to a post-industrial age. Challenges are interconnected and complex. Therefore, governments, businesses and civil society need to work together on innovative solutions.
Against this backdrop, the city of Hamilton in Ontario is focused on expanding and assuring the availability of sustainable and affordable housing in the city. In doing so, the City of Hamilton is looking towards the Nordic countries for new solutions, creative ideas and international inspiration. With financial support from the Nordic Countries Prime Ministers’ initiative and Nordic Innovation’s Nordic Sustainable Cities program a selected group of Nordic cities, experts and companies are going to take part in a comprehensive Nordic-Canadian partnership event. Through an innovative process, city officials, local businesses, citizens and stakeholders will engage with the Nordic participants in order to tackle the challenge of ensuring affordable and sustainable housing in Hamilton.

The concept

The Urban Open Innovation Lab has two components and is based on proven concepts that the consortium of partners will deploy in Hamilton in collaboration with the City.
The first component is led by IFHP and the Swedish think tank Global Utmaning, and features a cross-sectorial constellation of leaders and experts from the Nordic countries within city government and civil society organizations and business. Together with Hamilton, these cities, public authorities and organizations from the Nordic region will explore, learn, analyze and develop ideas to the challenges regarding affordable and sustainable housing in Hamilton, and co-create ideas for whether experiences and best practices from the Nordic countries are applicable in the context in Hamilton.

The second component is led by the Danish consultancy Quercus Group, the EUs main climate innovation initiative Climate KIC and the Finish cleantech organization Solved. Together with the city of Hamilton they will conduct an open innovation process, where Nordic businesses and sustainability solutions within sustainable and affordable housing will be demonstrated and adapted on-site in Hamilton. Specifically, the companies will be working towards deep retrofitting for near zero-carbon emissions and exploring solar and green energy potential in the existing building stock. Throughout the process, the consulate generals of Denmark and Sweden in Toronto will be involved.
The two-day event will take place on the 13th and 14th of September 2018.

Nordic Delegation


At the Urban Open Innovation Lab, the Nordic delegation will consist of:

1) Private sector companies offering specific solutions to some of the predefined challenges defined in Hamilton, including deep retrofitting of existing housing;
2) Nordic cities facing similar challenges as Hamilton or cities which have created new and different solutions on how to create affordable and sustainable housing;

3) Experts in the field of engineering, architecture, urban planning and social sustainability;

4) Social housing agencies, organizations representing housing interests, and nonprofit civil society initiatives.

The purpose of the urban lab is to gather expertise from Nordic and Canadian stakeholders to discuss challenges and propose solutions to the government officials, local housing organizations, local community groups, and social or public housing agencies. The crux of the project is to connect Hamilton to inspiration and best practices from Nordic cities that have faced similar circumstances, as well as to private companies delivering innovative solutions within the area of affordable and sustainable housing. As such, the lab is both a knowledge-sharing and co-creation event.


The City of Hamilton is a medium-sized Canadian city located 60 kilometers southwest of Canada’s largest city - Toronto. Over the 20th century, Hamilton became a hub for heavy industry and blue-collar jobs, hosting large-scale production within coal, steel and the automotive industry. As Canada’s economy and energy mix are changing in the 21st century, so are the city of Hamilton’s priorities as it shifts to a post-industrial age. Simultaneously, the skyrocketing housing market in nearby Toronto has meant that many young people are looking towards Hamilton for an affordable future. As a result, the City of Hamilton is confronted by considerable challenges arising from: A) an influx of new residents B) rising real estate prices, and C) the sustainable re-development of industrial areas. This creates a critical need to increase the availability of affordable and sustainable housing in Hamilton. This real and present challenge presents an opportunity for bridging Nordic solutions with the needs in Hamilton.
The Urban Open Innovation Lab is part of the Nordic Prime Ministers’ Initiative and is funded by Nordic Innovation and the project partners, including the City of Hamilton.

Call for participants

We are searching for specialist organisations and experts whom we believe can bring value to this process through importing their ideas, products and services into Hamilton’s urban renewal.
We are looking for specialists within four key areas:
• New perspectives on the Deep Retrofit in existing building stocks

• Components, technologies, systems and circular economy solutions

• Stakeholder engagement

• Sustainable business models for Deep Retrofit processes across cities
By participating you will get a chance to demonstrate your insights through debates and discussions, a platform to gain knowledge about needs, necessities and priorities in Canada and an opportunity to build new networks through contacts with Canadian as well as Nordic stakeholders.
More information & sign-up can be found at this link:



For more information on the Hamilton Urban Open Innovation Lab, please contact Director of Projects, Ditte Amskov at