Johan’s research focuses on how people collaborate to reach their goals, and what role local people play in relation to public agencies and other actors in an urban context, specifically cities. He studies this by looking at two cases in two parts of the world:
In Bangalore, India, Johan’s research analyzes how local resident groups and networks try to reduce negative impacts of rapid urbanization on the environment in general, and also on urban lakes in particular. This work focuses on the emergence and spread of such initiatives, as well as how they scale up and influence formal governance structures.
In New York City, USA, Johan studies local community groups working to preserve, restore, or other forms of stewardship activities in relation to urban waterways, waterfronts, and bodies of water. This work focuses on how these places are accessed and used, what people value about them, and how this influences environmental engagement.
Johan also co-supervises two MSc students at SRC, and works with Erik Andersson on the MSc-level course “Urban Social-Ecological Systems” (15 ECTS).
Johan has a MSc. in Ecosystems, Governance, and Resilience from Stockholm University, and a BSc. in Environment and Development from Södertörn University. Both programmes included transdisciplinary approaches to environmental problems. This helped Johan become experienced in both quantitative and qualitative methods.
Throughout his training, Johan has focused on people's efforts to collaborate, manage, and protect green (and blue) areas close to where they live. He has conducted field work in: New York, USA (2016); Bangalore, India (2011-2012 and in 2013); Zanzibar, Tanzania (2011); and Babati, Tanzania (2010). Previously, Johan has worked as a project coordinator at an engineering consultancy.
Johan plays a central role in SRC’s collaboration with researchers at the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University, and at the NYC Urban Field Station of the US Forest Service.
Research news | 2017-05-30
Emerging research on people’s attachment to places can unlock capacity to better deal with change
Educational news | 2017-01-19
Centre offers students opportunity to go to New York and the east coast to conduct field work
Research news | 2014-09-05
Citizen networks important for ensuring successful management of urban ecosystems in growing cities
Research news | 2013-11-28
How civic initiatives help restore degraded lakes in Bangalore
2017 - Dissertation
What can a responsible relationship to nature look like in a world where humanity is disrupting fundamental ecological processes at a planetary scale? Achieving sustainability is increasingly argued to require a shift towards ‘stewardship’, but often without clearly defining what the concept means or exactly how it is might address the unprecedented challenges of our time. In his doctoral thesis, Johan Enqvist addresses this k...
2017 - Journal / article
To develop and apply goals for future sustainability, we must consider what people care about and what motivates them to engage in solving sustainability issues. Sense of place theory and methods provide a rich source of insights that, like the social-ecological systems perspective, assume an interconnected social and biophysical reality. However, these fields of research are only recently beginning to converge, and we see gr...
2016 - Journal / article
This paper investigates how the agency of local residents can affect persistent and unsustainable practices in urban water supply governance. Using a case study from Bangalore, India, we analyze a social–ecological trap which developed after a shift to external water provision paired with rapid urbanization. The reluctance of forsaking initial investments in infrastructure and competence, and the subsequent loss of the local n...
2014 - Journal / article
Citizen groups can be important actors in urban environmental stewardship, and network structure often influences function and performance. However, most previous studies focus on cities in "developed" countries, thereby overlooking conditions relevant for the parts of the planet where most people live and most urban growth is expected. This paper describes a citizen network engaged in environmental issues in Bangalore, Indi...