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 | 2019-02-13
With a suite of benefits, participatory research has become increasingly popular. But there are many challenges too. Researchers examine the method and share their own experiences
Research news | 2019-02-01
Removal of vegetation and trees in cities can create areas with exceptionally high temperatures. Better use of satellite imagery can detect such areas quicker
Research news | 2019-01-30
When it comes to efforts to improve health and well-being of city-dwellers, same approach can have varying effects in different areas and with different groups of people
Research news | 2019-01-17
New Lancet report demonstrates why diet and food production must radically change to improve health and avoid potentially catastrophic damage to the planet
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
2019 - Journal / article
Participatory research approaches are increasingly advocated as an effective means to produce usable climate adaptation science, and increase the likelihood that it will be beneficially incorporated into decision-making processes. However, while the implementation of participatory research approaches, such as those associated with knowledge co-production, have become increasingly commonplace, to date there has been little cons...
2019 - Journal / article
Urban nature has the potential to improve air and water quality, mitigate flooding, enhance physical and mental health, and promote social and cultural well-being. However, the value of urban ecosystem services remains highly uncertain, especially across the diverse social, ecological and technological contexts represented in cities around the world. We review and synthesize research on the contextual factors that moderate the...
2019 - Journal / article
Rapid and extensive urbanization has adversely impacted humans and ecological entities in the recent decades through a decrease in surface permeability and the emergence of Urban Heat Islands (UHI). While detailed and continuous assessments of surface permeability and UHI are crucial for urban planning and management of landuse zones, they mostly involve time consuming and expensive field studies and single sensor derived larg...
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...
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