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. Such urbanization, coupled with increasing inequalities, changing migration patterns, shifting diets and a growing urban middle class pose increasing demand for resources generated by the biosphere. People in cities, as elsewhere, must deal with an uncertain future due to globalization, climate change and loss of biological diversity. As part of biosphere stewardship, cities need to provide better governance of social-ecological systems both inside and outside their borders, paving new and resilient ways for reconnecting urban dwellers with the biosphere. Such reconnections should, among other things, draw on institutional and spatial designs that support self-organizing, psychological processes towards broad based environmental learning, human wellbeing, and the fostering of wiser governance of social-ecological diversity and equity.
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 ecology, sociology and institutional theory, environmental history, anthropology, ecological economics, spatial theory, environmental psychology and historical ecology. We also collaborate closely with the Urban Studio at the the University of Gävle, Sweden.
The theoretical premises behind our research are based on studies of how to build resilience in linked 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 with both known and uncertain future outcomes. Urban resilience building in this sense should be understood as the outcome of a recursive process that includes a more proactive anticipation, learning, and adaptation to changing circumstances and novel events.
Research news | 2018-11-25
Not enough city dwellers are exposed to nature in cities. That could have serious impacts on their health
Research news | 2018-11-16
New report projects area of habitat larger than New Zealand could be lost to urbanization over next 20 years
Research news | 2018-10-18
Popular concept for building sustainable cities stands on fragile scientific grounds
Research news | 2018-10-04
Future sustainability of cities requires policies and interventions based on a complexity approach inspired by evolutionary theory
Research news | 2018-06-14
Swedish school project shows how children saving salamanders grow a stronger connection to nature afterwards
Research news | 2018-05-21
Four cases of participatory foresight exercises show impact is not a given. Here’s how to fix it
2018 - Book chapter
The rapid urbanization associated with the Anthropocene provides an imperative for humans to think diff erently about the future. The “seeds” approach describes how niche experiments can, over time, coalesce to shift the dominant regime onto a more sustainable trajectory. Urban transformations are complex phenomena; the seeds approach is a tool that can help us understand how transformations occur and how to nudge them towards...
2018 - Policy brief or report
This Report provides a critical assessment of the full range of issues facing decision-makers, including the importance, status, trends and threats to biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people, as well as policy and management response options. Establishing the underlying causes of the loss of biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people provides policymakers with the information needed to develop appropriate re...
2018 - Journal / article
Water bodies in the urban landscape are omnipresent, with many being small, lentic waters such as ponds and lakes. Because of high anthropogenic forcing, these systems have poor water quality, with large consequences for the provisioning of ecosystem services. Understanding of the main pressures on urban water quality is key to successful management. We identify six pressures that we hypothesize to have strong links to anthrop...
The ARTS project is an EU-funded project that assess the role and impact of local sustainability initiatives in Brighton, Budapest, Dresden, Flanders and Stockholm. Read more here