The Oslo/Akershus metropolitan region comprises some 1.1 million inhabitants, while Norway has 4.8 million inhabitants.
Mobility is high in Oslo/Akershus. Two thirds of the population is travelling to work outside of the immediate living areas. The region is experiencing a strong growth (2 %), which is expected to continue. Forecasts indicate a growth for the region of 400,000 persons until 2030. This will further increase the interdependency between region and city and offer challenges in land use and transport.
While politically independent from each other, Akershus County and the City of Oslo work jointly on many key areas. These include:
• Joint public transport company established in 2007 (not including trains),
• The Oslo toll ring, raising revenue for transport investments and running of public transport,
• Joint regional planning cooperation on land use and transport,
• Industrial development.
City of Oslo
The City of Oslo is the capital of Norway and is situated at the northern end of the Oslo Fjord, in the centre of the Metropolitan region. The City is surrounded by forests to the north and east. The City has 587,000 inhabitants, and its population is growing fast.
Important business and industry in the Oslo area include shipping, information technology, offshore and engineering, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, and financial services and national administrative authorities. Oslo has a surplus of 120,000 workplaces, which causes high commuting.
The Oslo Municipality area is 454 km², of which 2/3 is covered by forest and lakes. The City has a parliamentary political system, and is ruled by a City Commission and a City Council. Oslo has a low level of greenhouse gas emissions, mainly due to abundant hydroelectric power, district heating based mostly on renewable energy, and a developed electric rail based public transport system. Road transport contributes 55 % of overall direct emissions.
Akershus County covers 4,915 square kilometres. The County surrounds both sides of Oslo fjord and borders the five counties of Østfold, Hedmark, Oppland, Buskerudand and Oslo. Akershus also has a rather short border to Sweden, thereby giving access to participate in INTERREG A. The 22 municipalities of Akershus range in size from 2,600 to 107,000 inhabitants. The total population of the County is 537,000, and is growing fast.
Akershus is Norway’s largest grain basket. The County has a modern business community, high-tech research environments and financial services. Due to hydroelectric heating emissions are low.
Land use planning is primarily the responsibility of local municipalities, who are expected - but not obliged - to follow the regional guidance set up by the County Council.