- Ecosystem services
- Urban ecology
- Institutions and property rights
- Urban resilience building
- Urban planning and design
Johan Colding’s research focuses on ecosystem services in relation to urban planning and design
Colding 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).
Colding'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.
Colding 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.
Colding 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.
Colding 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.
Colding also is a:
- Member of the city planning group for Albano sustainable campus
- Member of the international working group within The Scandinavian Turfgrass Research Foundation for sustainable development of golf courses
- Founding member of research network ‘Hej Tätort!’ (‘Hello Urbanity!’), Stockholm Resilience Centre and Beijer Institute
- Member of Live Baltic Campus network group
Awards and achievements:
- Awarded for honorary achievements in research related to sustainability science and biodiversity conservation by King Carl XVI Gustaf (2002) for the PhD thesis: Local Institutions, Biological Conservation and Management of Ecosystem Dynamics
- Served as research coordinator for the Swedish Sub-Global assessment, The Stockholm Urban Assessment, within the UN-supported program The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2003-2005)
- Appointed as senior lecturer and associate professor in Sustainable Urban Development Stockholm, Department of Environmental Strategies Research (FMS), ABE School, KTH, Stockholm, October 2014
- Member in the LIVE BALTIC CAMPUS Network Group
- Member in the city planning group for Albano sustainable campus
- Member in the international working group within The Scandinavian Turfgrass Research Foundation for sustainable development of golf courses
- Has served in the editorial board in the internationally renowned scientific journals ECOSYSTEMS, Ecology and Society, and Landscape and Urban Planning
News articles with Colding, Johan
Research news | 2023-02-15
New report: Swedish parliament should decide on a fair carbon budget
Sweden is not on track to reaching its own national climate targets – and it is not even clear if the targets are sufficient, according to scientists of the research programme Fairtrans
Research news | 2021-03-25
Centre wins bid to host 40 MSEK research programme on transformation to fossil free future
The 4-year programme, Fair Transformations to a Fossil Free Future, is funded jointly by Mistra and Formas
Research news | 2020-08-10
Changes in ownership and short-term planning see urban green areas disappear
Parks, gardens and other greenspaces made available for everyone are increasingly diminishing. The change is often undetectable by the residents themselves
Research news | 2020-06-05
Seven resilience principles for the digital city
Cities resemble ecosystems in a number of ways, and urban planning has much to gain from applying resilience thinking
Publications by Colding, Johan
Urban climate resilience through hybrid infrastructure
Journal / article | 2022
Urban infrastructure will require transformative changes to adapt to changing disturbance patterns. We ask what new opportunities hybrid infrastructure—built environments coupled with landscape-scale biophysical structures and processes—offer for building different layers of resilience critical for dealing with increased variation in the frequency, magnitude and different phases of climate-related disturbances. With its more ...
Frontiers in social–ecological urbanism
Journal / article | 2022
This paper describes a new approach in urban ecological design, referred to as social–ecological urbanism (SEU). It draws from research in resilience thinking and space syntax in the analysis of relationships between urban processes and urban form at the microlevel of cities, where social and ecological services are directly experienced by urban dwellers. The paper elaborates on three types of media for urban designers to int...
Enabling Relationships with Nature in Cities
Journal / article | 2020
Limited exposure to direct nature experiences is a worrying sign of urbanization, particularly for children. Experiencing nature during childhood shapes aspects of a personal relationship with nature, crucial for sustainable decision-making processes in adulthood. Scholars often stress the need to ‘reconnect’ urban dwellers with nature; however, few elaborate on how this can be achieved. Here, we argue that nature reconnectio...
The smart city model: A new panacea for urban sustainability or unmanageable complexity?
Journal / article | 2020
Despite several calls in this journal of debating the rapid growth of the literature on “smart cities”, such a debate has in large been absent. Smart cities are often un-critically launched as a sustainable way of developing cities. When cities become increasingly complex as its features are wired into the Internet, theories for their understanding is lagging behind. As it is prospected that a greater number of people and thin...