Johan is currently employed as one of the leaders for the theme urban social-ecological systems, and is also an affiliated associate professor at the Beijer Institute (KVA).
Johan's main interests cover urban planning and design from a resilience perspective. He is currently involved in the development of the new research frontier known as social-ecological urbanism, where interlinking of urban services and ecosystem services is a key mission, and where institutions (norms and rules) and the city's built form are regarded as key tools to build resilience.
Johan also works a senior researcher within Live Baltic Campus (LBC), a new research project aimed at developing campuses as innovation hubs by creating better urban environments for businesses and residents. It brings together city planners, government representatives, campus developers, and stakeholders to utilise university campuses as laboratories for achieving sustainable development in the central Baltic region. The project aims to create a network of practitioners that will enhance knowledge transfer in the region and create a working method for participative urban planning.
Johan holds a PhD in Natural Resource Management from the Department of Systems Ecology at Stockholm University. He also has a background as a cultural scientist. He served as a research coordinator in the Swedish sub-global Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) that focused on the greater Stockholm region.
In 2003, he co-edited a book titled Navigating Social-Ecological Systems: Building Resilience for Complexity and Change, which explores governance questions for social-ecological systems informed by complexity and resilience theories. He has been on the editorial board of ECOSYSTEMS, Nature & Society, and Landscape and Urban Planning. He is especially interested in research related to ‘social-ecological’ designs that better account for ecosystem processes and a wider participation of stakeholders in urban systems. Within the SRC, he is leading Stockholm urban research that sets out to merge recent streams in ecology and urban spatial planning.
Johan has conducted a series of development projects with public actors in society, resulting in both scientific publications and more policy-orientated outcomes. Among others this includes collaborative work with the Stockholm County Council and Office of Regional Planning, The Swedish Golf Association, and the Stockholm University. His ambition is to deepen and consolidate this collaboration within an academically stronger urban network that will cooperate with EAT, GRAID and the Future Earth research initiative.
Johan also is a:
Awards and achievements:
Research news | 2016-11-22
Centre researchers Johan Colding and Åsa Gren receive 1,5 million SEK from Stockholm County Council
Research news | 2014-12-03
Centre researchers launch new films linking the science and practice of common property initiatives in cities
Research news | 2014-06-17
New paper summarises 15 years of centre research in the Stockholm urban region
Research news | 2013-08-11
Urban green areas managed by citizens can reduce ecosystem management costs and help people reconnect to nature
2017 - Journal / article
The aim of this letter is to raise some critical concerns and gaps in the booming literature on Smart Cities; concerns that we think deserve greater attention from scientists, policy makers and urban planners. Using an urban ecology lens, we provide some reflections that need to forgo any wider-scale implementation of the Smart City-model with the goal to enhance urban sustainability. We discuss that the Smart City literature ...
2015 - Other publication
Detta pm fokuserar till stora delar på resiliensbegreppet i en socialekologisk kontext. En allt större del av forskarsamhället i dag inser att de sociala och naturliga systemen är intimt sammankopplade i tid och rum (Norgaard 1994; Vitousek 1997; Adger 2000), och att människan i en allt högre grad påverkar biosfären, varför man kan betrakta de sociala, ekonomiska och ekologiska delsystemen som ett enda socialekologiskt system ...
2014 - Journal / article
This study seeks to contribute to a more complete understanding of how urban form influences biodiversity by investigating the effects of green area distribution and that of built form. We investigated breeding bird diversity in three types of housing development with approximately the same amount of tree cover. No significant differences in terms of bird communities were found between housing types in any of the survey perio...
2014 - Journal / article
Within-city green infrastructure can offer opportunities and new contexts for people to become stewards of ecosystem services. We analyze cities as social–ecological systems, synthesize the literature, and provide examples from more than 15 years of research in the Stockholm urban region, Sweden. The social–ecological approach spans from investigating ecosystem properties to the social frameworks and personal values that driv...