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 I am coordinating the 'Urban Theme' at SRC with Dr. Åsa Gren.
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
Research news | 2016-06-21
Centre research featured in special issue on urban sustainability and resilience
Research news | 2016-05-10
How history is present in the management of urban biodiversity and cultural landscapes
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 - 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...
2016 - Journal / article
History matters, and can be an active and dynamic component in the present. We explore social-ecological memory as way to diagnose and engage with urban green space performance and resilience. Rapidly changing cities pose a threat and a challenge to the continuity that has helped to support biodiversity and ecological functions by upholding similar or only slowly changing adaptive cycles over time. Continuity is perpetuated th...
2015 - Journal / article
This article examines the role played by urban gardens during historical collapses in urban food supply lines and identifies the social processes required to protect two critical elements of urban food production during times of crisis—open green spaces and the collective memory of how to grow food. Advanced communication and transport technologies allow food sequestration from the farthest reaches of the planet, but have mark...