chapter
36 Pages

Introduction

Oslo: the capital of the Kingdom of Norway, a wealthy, social democratic country and home to approximately 5 million people. Of these, 613,000 live in Oslo, Norway’s largest and one of Europe’s most rapidly growing cities (Statistics Norway, n.d.). Situated at the northernmost end of the Oslo fjord, the city stretches out in a horseshoe formation, towards the rolling hills, lakes and forests behind it. Through the city runs the river Akerselva, the site of Oslo’s early industrialisation and a winding line that long marked the inner city border between the bourgeois west and the working-class east. On the east side, there are today three administrative districts. Furthest north is Sagene, in the middle Grünerløkka, and down by the sea Gamle Oslo – ‘Old Oslo’. Here, by the eastern shore of the river’s estuary, one finds the Bjørvika area. A harbour until very recently, it is now being transformed through the building of homes for upper-class residents, spectacular architecture and businesses encased in glass and steel facades.