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About “We Are Oslo”

Norway is widely considered the homeland of equality. Furthermore it's on top of the list in the UN supported World Happiness Report 2017. At the same time research and statistics show that differences between wealthy neighbourhoods on the west-end of Oslo, and more disadvantaged neighbourhoods on the east-end, are increasing.

If you live in the neighbourhood Røa on Oslo's west side, according to the statistics you will live six years longer than if you live in Grønland on the east side. The journey with the subway from Røa to Gønland takes 17 minutes. If you live at Furuset in the east-end Groruddalen valley, 47% of your neighbours are low education citizens, while at Smestad, half an hour westwards with the metro, the same index is at 9%. And perhaps most worrying, the number of children growing up in families who are poor is 63,7% in the center east neighbourhood Tøyen. The same indicator for the western suburb Holmen is 2,4%.

In 2015 we started searching for fundings for a multimedia project about diversity and identity in Oslo by following the metro Line 2, which gives you a glimpse of the many realities in the city. From Ellingsrudåsen in the east to Østerås in the west, starting from 2016, we have met one inhabitant from each subway stop, who has talked about himself, shared his thoughts about Oslo and about life in general, and who has given us an insight into their everyday lives in the neighbourhood where they live.

In addition, we have asked two urban and social researchers to share their knowledge about Oslo by writing one text on each neighbourhood with facts about history, population and architecture. As an introduction to the seven boroughs touched by Line 2, we have invited seven writers to write a short story from their borough (currently only available in Norwegian).

The result of the project is a virtual journey on this website and a photo exhibition on the platforms along Line 2 (14/9 - 14/10 2017), where the two photos from each neighbourhood were displayed on the subway station on the opposite side of the city.

"We are Oslo" is a project by photographers Francesca Casciarri and Eirik Linder Aspelund / Calias Photo.

About us

Calias Photo consists of the Italian photographer Francesca Casciarri and the Norwegian photographer Eirik Linder Aspelund. They first met in 2001 as interns at the Magnum Photos agency in Paris, and since 2004 they have signed their joint photographic works with the acronym Calias.

They work mainly in the field of reportage and documentary photography, but recently they have also been working on set as still photographers and backstage video makers for Italian film productions.

One of their main long-term projects, “DamAge”, is about the consequences of big dams on people and environment, and has been exhibited worldwide including Museo d'Arte Contemporanea (MACRO) in Rome, Bassin de la Villette in Paris, Museu Marítim in Barcelona, RÍO+20 (Cúpula dos Povos) in Río de Janeiro and Palacio Nacional de Cultura in Guatemala City.


About our contributors


Bengt Andersen is an urban and social anthropologist at the Work Research Institute, HiOA. He is particularly interested in segregation, urban mobility, youth, urban planning, architecture and the relation between physical form and social practices. Andersen has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Oslo and Kentlands, USA. He is currently conducting a transdisciplinary research project funded by the Norwegian Research Council: "Invisible Infrastructures: Assessing socioecological transformations in the postindustrial metropolis" - with the urban District of Gamle Oslo as a case study. Together with Ingar Brattbakk, he has written the texts from all the neighbourhoods along Line 2 for “We are Oslo”.

Ingar Brattbakk is an urban and social geographer at the Work Research Institute, HiOA. He applies both quantitative and qualitative research methods and is particularly interested in urban social geography, segregation, the role of the neighbourhood, urban mobility, youth, urban planning and development, living conditions and social housing. Brattbakk has studied urban challenges in Norway's largest cities, transformation processes in Norwegian suburban and downtown areas, neighbourhood effects for children and adolescents in Oslo and residential mobility in the Nordic metropolitan regions. Together with Bengt Andersen, he has written the texts from all the neighbourhoods along Line 2 for “We are Oslo”.


NB: The writers' short stories are currently only available on the Norwegian version of the website.

Rune Christiansen (b. 1963) is a Norwegian author. He has written nine critically acclaimed novels and several volumes of poetry since he made his literary debut in 1986 with “Where the Train Leaves the Sea”. In 1996 he was awarded the Halldis Moren Vesaas prize. In its grounds the jury said that Christiansen’s body of work holds a unique position because it exposes a new phase in modernity in Norway with its «tough but sensual masculine urbanity, not alienated from, but integrated with the elements, the shiftings in nature, transience and permanence». Christiansen has stated that “literature borrows its authority from wanting”. He characterizes his books as “transient rooms where oblivion and recognition illuminate and amplify each other as equal and simultaneous events”. For "We are Oslo" he has written the text from Bærum Municipality.

Mette Karlsvik (b. 1978) grew up on a small, slightly desolate island on the west coast of Norway and was, when moving to Oslo, drawn to the more sparsely populated side of “Line 2”, the hills of Vestre Aker. She has educated herself as a fine artist, but earned her money as a writer since 2005, when she won the Tarjei Vesaas Debut prize for a novel. Since she has been awarded prizes like the Bookseller’s stipendium, Stig Sæterbakkens minnepris and Skien Kommunes Kunstnerstipend, and writes fiction, non-fiction, drama and librettos. For "We are Oslo" she has written the text from Vestre Aker borough.

Sverre Henmo (b. 1968) is a trained sociologist who writes smooth, engaging and tender books. His first book was published in 1999. He has written a number of books for children, adolescents and adults. In 2009, “Frognerbadet After Dark” was awarded the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs’ Book Prize for best novel. For "We are Oslo" he has written the text from Ullern borough.

Roskva Koritzinsky (b. 1989) grew up in Fredrikstad. For the last ten years she has been living in Oslo, and she's got a Bachelors degree in Social Anthropology. Her first book, “Her inne et sted” (“Somewhere in here”), was published in 2013, and ensured her a nomination for Tarjei Vesaas' First Book Prize. She also received Aschehougs First Book Prize for it. The novel “Flammen og mørket” (“The flame and the darkness”) was published in 2015, and in fall 2017 Koritzinsky was back with her second collection of short stories: “Jeg har ennå ikke sett verden” (“I have not yet seen the world”). In addition to writing books, Koritzinsky is something of a film enthusiast. She has been contributing to publications such as Montages and Z, and from time to time she can be heard as one of the participants in the podcast Filmfrelst. For "We are Oslo" she has written the text from Frogner borough.

Aslak Borgersrud (b.1978) is a columnist in the Norwegian newspaper Dagsavisen. He basically sits in the back seat of political meetings mocking the politicians in front. He is also a musician, with a long career in accomplished rap-group Gatas Parlament and also has released also extremely good records with groups «Samvirkelaget» and «Aslak & Igor», and has a solo singing thing working out rather ok. Aslak has written one book, starred in one hit movie, and is far too often used as an expert commentator on subjects he only knows medium well, on national TV and radio. He is born and raised in the old town of Oslo, now living with his rather big familiy in Vålerenga. For "We are Oslo" he has written the text from downtown Oslo.

Heidi Marie Kriznik (b. 1970) lives in Oslo. She made her debut with the novel “Applause” in 2002, for which she received the Tarjei Vesaas’ First Book Prize. Her second novel “Gone One Winter” was shortlisted for the Young Readers’ Critics’ Prize and the national radio NRK P2 Listeners’ Novel Prize, as well as bringing her the Booksellers’ Authors’ Grant. In 2009 Kriznik received the Unified Language Literature Prize. Her third novel, “You Can Sleep Here”, was published in 2012. For "We are Oslo" she has written the text from Gamle Oslo borough.

Øyvind Holen (b. 1973) is a journalist, author and creator of comics from Oslo. He was raised in the suburb of Lindeberg, and wrote the book "Groruddalen: En reiseskildring" in 2005 (“Groruddalen: A travelogue”) about the history of the Eastern part of Oslo, which was rereleased in updated form in 2016. He's also written many books about hip-hop and comics, and is currently working on his third graphic novel in the series "Drabant" with artist Mikael Noguchi, a coming-of-age story about sex, drugs, and graffiti in Groruddalen in the 90's. For "We are Oslo" he has written the text from Alna borough.

Thanks to:

our wonderful 26 participants in the project, our seven writers and two researchers, our supporters, financers and partners, Agnes Nærland Viljugrein, Anders Røberg-Larsen, Arild Mehn-Andersen, Barbara Casciarri, Cinzia Bolognini, Christina Rolfheim Bye, Ding Xu, Ebru Tuzel, Eva Ulla Bjørnsjø, Monika and Lars from Ellingsrudåsen Volunteer Center, Charlotte and Helene from FUBIAK, Geir Røer, Giuseppe Laruccia, Gudrun Loennecken, Guro Voss Gabrielsen, Haugerud Seniorsenter, Vegard from Hovseter Mek & Prep, Ivanka Gasbarrini, Jan Frantzen, Jorid Bodin, Karianne Hjallen, Leif-Arne Kristiansen, Linda Sandvik, Lone from Lindeberg Ombrukstasjon, Morten Andersen, Ole Jacob Bull, Ole Jørgen Pettersen, Marco Puppini, Mariella Boccadoro, Monica Larsson, Nina Faye Fjeldberg, Rina Mariann Hansen, Sam Merchant, Stian Berger, Sture Bye, Sylvi Furnes, Tommy Klemp, Torunn from Raus Yoga, Virginia Benvenuti, Wid Al-Saedy, Yngve Kveine, Ørjan Aspelund and all of you others that we might have forgotten.

Statistics sources and definitions:


Life expectancy, explanation of numbers: The number of years a newborn can be expected to live under current mortality rates.

Ethnic minorities, definition: Percentage of persons with two foreign-born parents and four foreign-born grandparents registered in Norway as of 1 January (total and by country of origin), as a percentage of the population.

Percentage of children in families who are poor over time, precise definition: Percentage of children 0-17 years in households with persistent low income (3 years, EU-60). Oslo, districts. 2013-2015. Life expectancy is calculated on the basis of age, sex and district dependent mortality probabilities during the period. Life expectancy is a measure of mortality in a population and the indicator can be useful for showing inequality in health. By using this indicator you can compare the districts and show any differences in mortality, as well as analyze the development.

Oslo municipality, Fact sheet on population, living conditions and housing conditions

Oslo municipality statisticsbank


Life expectancy: 2001-2015, calculation based on age-specific mortality. Life expectancy at birth, calculated using mortality table. The statistics show 15 years average (ie average for 15-year periods).

Percentage of children in families with income below the EU poverty line, definition: children living in households with income below 60% of the national average. Income means occupational income, capital income, taxable and tax-free transfers in a household during the calendar year. Students are not included.

Public Health Institute

Municipal Health Statistics Bank

Housing conditions SSB / Statistics Norway

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