Lonely Planet Writer

Driverless cars in a gigantic green city: the future of air travel is coming to Oslo

Imagine a gigantic, futuristic airport city, four million square metres in size, powered entirely by renewable energy and served by driverless electric vehicles. It’s not mere science fiction, but is in fact a brand new scheme by Norwegian development to create a dynamic travel hub called Oslo Airport City.

Oslo Airport City
The futuristic travel hub is expected to take 30 years to finish. Image by Haptic Architects and Nordic – Office of Architecture

Estimated to take 30 years to fully complete, the project saw a number of proposals being submitted, with the final winning design created by Haptic Architects and unveiled recently in association with Nordic – Office of Architecture. Backed by the Norwegian governments’ push to concentrate more on renewable energy, Oslo Airport City will embrace new green technology, and plans to incorporate driverless electric cars, automatic lighting and smart technology for services such as mobility, waste and security. Today, the government-owned Oslo Airport is one of the most digitalised in Europe, and is expected to be the first to operate a fleet of electric autonomous vehicles by 2025.

Oslo Airport City
The airport city will include a number of recreational areas across its massive site. Image by Forbes Massie / Haptic Architects and Nordic – Office of Architecture

The project aims to be the first energy-positive airport city with the capacity to sell surplus energy to surrounding buildings, communities and cities, and the power generated on site will also be able to provide crucial services, such as the de-icing of planes. OAC will also be a destination for leisure activities, and will be centred around a public park. The city will include a business hub aimed at professional travellers, and the car-free city centre has been designed so that visitors will never be more than five minutes away from public transport.

Oslo Airport City
The city will incorporate driverless electric cars, automatic lighting and smart technology for services such as mobility, waste and security. Image by Forbes Massie / Haptic Architects and Nordic – Office of Architecture

“This is a unique opportunity to design a new city from scratch. Using robust city planning strategies such as walkability, appropriate densities, active frontages and a car-free city centre, combined with the latest developments in technology, we will be able to create a green, sustainable city of the future. This is the most exciting type of project we can do as architects and I am very proud to be part of it,” said Tomas Stokke Director of Haptic Architects.

The city has been designed so that visitors will always be near public transportation. Image by Forbes Massie / Haptic Architects and Nordic – Office of Architecture

Oslo Airport City has received outline planning consent for development, and some of the other areas have already been given the green light for planning. Construction of the first stage is expected to start in 2019, with the first buildings expected to be completed by 2022.