A Part of the Whole

Dec 2016 | Design for Democracy, Master's Projects

Marthe Christensen

Design for Democracy, Systems Oriented Design 2016

Oslo School of Architecture and Design

Collaborator: The Municipality of Tønsberg


Tønsberg is a municipality and a city in Norway. This city has been inhabited since the middle ages and is often considered to be Norways oldest city and has a rich cultural history with many archaeological findings. Today Tønsberg has a population of over 40 000 people. I was interested in the culture in Tønsberg. What made a good city? And what are det decision processes around public art.

Can art be part of a place Identity? It made me think of the planned Utøya memorial, in which the local inhabitants of Hole municipality is going to court to stop the process. Worst case scenario is that what was suppose to be a positive marking of the aftermath of a tragic event, is in risk of becoming a negative identity of the place. There was important to be aware of the different interests in a public space. I dividedthem into three categories:


The citizen

The municipality

The artist


Inspired by Nancy Duarte I established a Value Network and gave these three roles:


The Influencer

The Resourceful

The innovator


Focusing in this project on the influencer role, I created a toolkit for the municipality to gather valuable local insights from the citizens, to analyse and implement or to breach oneself to challenge the place identity in the city your are innovating and changing. This role I defined as being competent on art and innovation, but also the aware of the local identity.

My design is a new role in the municipality to manage the challenges and preservation of established place identity, but also being able to manage the importance of innovation and the municipal culture. The role comes with a toolkit to help gather insights and analyse to use local experiences to make knowledge based decisions.