The world is urbanizing at an unprecedented rate. In the near future it is prospected that urban landscapes converted for approximately 2.7 billion more people will be built. This is equivalent to the size of South Africa. The ‘urban’, both our cities and its manifestations in new life styles and worldviews, is now a global factor pushing at and interacting with the biosphere at all scales. As necessary parts of biosphere stewardship, cities need to provide better governance of social-ecological systems both inside and outside their physical and administrative boundaries. Linkages -between cities, cities and their support systems, actors and sectors - are central both for new, emerging vulnerabilities and strategies for building resilience.
People in cities, as elsewhere, must deal with an uncertain future shaped by globalization, climate change and loss of biological diversity. ‘Dealing ‘with’ requires strategies, and one important aspect of these is to make use of or actively trying to harness the potential of green infrastructure for providing solutions to various problems and challenges. For this to really work, such nature based solutions must include multiple dimensions, including for example on institutional and spatial designs that support self-organizing, learning processes and equal opportunities to become involved, psychological processes towards broad based environmental learning, and alignment of the scales and dimensionality of problems and management solutions.
The research on urban social-ecological systems generate knowledge in relation to above challenges and draws on methods and theories from a wide span of fields in sustainability science that, among others, include systems and landscape ecology, sociology and institutional theory, environmental history, transformation theory, actor-network approaches. We also have close collaborations with many international partners, universities as well as non-academic, and we are actively engaged in international networks like Future Earth. In Sweden, we collaborate closely with the Urban Studio at the University of Gävle, Sweden.
The theoretical premises behind our research are based on studies of how to build resilience in multidimensional and seamlessly interlinked social-ecological systems. We aim to advance urban resilience science by improving understanding of how we can design urban systems with an ability to more proactively deal, across scales, with both known and uncertain future outcomes. Urban resilience building in this sense should be understood as the outcome of a process that includes a more proactive anticipation, experimentation, learning, and adaptation to changing circumstances and novel events.
Research news | 2020-05-29
If the coronavirus has taught urban planners anything, it is that public access to green areas is more important than ever
Research news | 2020-05-27
How green areas reduce the urban heat island effect
Research news | 2020-04-29
Project to analyze how Swedes have changed their outdoor social activities during the coronavirus pandemic
Research news | 2020-04-21
In times of social distancing, green areas are more important than ever
Research news | 2020-03-16
In Warsaw, residents determined to avoid spatial chaos of the past mobilize to avoid environmental chaos in the future
Research news | 2020-02-21
Despite rapid urban growth, agriculture in a wetland area in the south of Mexico City soldiers on, more than a millennium after its birth
2020 - Journal / article
In the midst of the epoch of the Urban Anthropocene, citizen engagement is an important step on the path of creating local and global sustainability. However, the factors that motivate civic urban dwellers to become voluntary stewards of nature environments inside cities need research. This is an empirical study based on deep interviews and a grounded theory approach focused on the “inner world” of people in Warsaw, Poland, th...
2020 - Journal / article
The 2020 coronavirus pandemic caused countries across the world to implement measures of social distancing to curb spreading of COVID-19. The large and sudden disruptions to everyday life that result from this are likely to impact well-being, particularly among urban populations that live in dense settings with limited public space. In this paper, we argue that during these extraordinary circumstances, urban nature offers res...
2019 - Journal / article
By 2030, an additional 1.2 billion people are forecast in urban areas globally. We review the scientific literature ( n = 922 studies) to assess direct and indirect impacts of urban growth on habitat and biodiversity. Direct impacts are cumulatively substantial, with 290,000 km 2 of natural habitat forecast to be converted to urban land uses between 2000 and 2030. Studies of direct impact are disproportionately from high-i...
2019 - Journal / article
It is often uncritically assumed that, when digital technologies are integrated into the operation of city functions, they inevitably contribute to sustainable urban development. Such a notion rests largely on the belief that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solutions pave the way for more democratic forms of planning, and that ‘smart’ technological devices result in a range of environmental benefits, e.g., energ...
The project explores how urban planning and design in the Central Baltic region can generate more resilient, sustainable urban areas. Of particular interest is Extended Reality (XR) technologies, which includes Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality (VR, AR, and MR, respectively). Read more here