Explorative studies has focused on social-ecological relations (human-environmental interactive relations) for learning, memory and meaning. Of late collaborations with PhD student Matteo Giusti has focused on the role of 'nature' in the physical environment for fostering a cognitive and emotional "connection with nature".
A recent publication focused on nature routines in urban landscapes and concluded that children who spend more time in nature environments hold more knowledge and are more strongly affiliated with nature. Hence it seems safe to raise the hypothesis whether where people dwell will affect their connection with nature.
He uses methods and theories form the natural and the social sciences, as well as from the humanities. He has been part of developing the discourse on urban social-ecological systems over the years. In collaboration with Mistra Urban Futures Stockholm he co-creates a new paradigm in urban sustainability: Social-Ecological Urbanism!
Pervious work includes comparative studies on common property rights to urban nature with studies in Cape Town, Stockholm, Berlin, and the Randstand region in the Netherlands. Stephan has also worked with with archeologists and historians in have using a resilience lens on urban environmental food histories on Constantinople and Cities of The Maya.
Future research will revolve around two main themes. 1) The first will look at the role physical and institutional factors in urban landscapes have for the development of "connection with nature" among urban populations. 2) The other will continue on developing thinking on social-ecological urbanism.
Concepts that Stephan has co-created over the years are:
Social-Ecological Memory (Published-2010)
Urban Green Commons (Published-2013)
Bio-cultural refugia (Published-2013)
Social-Ecological Urbanism (2013)
Since 2012, he coordinates the 'Urban Theme' at SRC with Åsa Gren.
Research news | 2017-09-27
Better understanding of human-nature connections can provide a powerful window into how to drive sustainable behaviour
Research news | 2017-05-28
Researchers call for a new ”embodied scientific realism” where connections between mind, body and nature are better accounted for
Research news | 2016-12-26
Urban expansion will result in a 1.8-2.4% loss of global croplands by 2030, says paper in PNAS
Research news | 2016-11-01
Why future urban design must include cognitive and emotional experiences from inhabitants, not just focus on functionality
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 ...
2017 - Journal / article
Despite arguments justifying the need to consider how cultural ecosystem services are co-produced by humans and nature, there are currently few approaches for explaining the relationships between humans and ecosystems through embodied scientific realism. This realism recognises that human-environment connections are not solely produced in the mind, but through relations among mind, body, culture and environment in time. Using ...
2016 - Book chapter
Historical ecological approaches to settlement aggregation and complexity reject modernist and post-modernist reliance on linear neo-evolutionary categorization of cities in relation to earlier farming communities. Instead, urban centres and multi-urban systems are viewed as components of complex heterarchically and hierarchically organized landscapes. Resilience theory has been applied in several archaeological efforts to cha...
2016 - Journal / article
Post-industrial societies impose new ecological challenges on urbanism. However, it is argued here that most approaches to sustainable urbanism still share the conception of the humans-environment relations that characterized modernism. The paper finds support in recent knowledge developments in social-ecological sustainability, spatial analysis and cognitive science to initiate a dialogue for an alternative framework. Urban f...