Published 2020-09-18

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Goal 11 Week: global targets at local level

For Agenda 2030 and the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved, much of the work needs to take place at local level. Goal 11 Week, to be held in October, will feature knowledge, discussions and workshops that provide impetus for a transition towards sustainable cities and communities. The Week is arranged jointly by 18 organisations, including Mistra, Mistra Urban Futures and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

Goal 11 Week comprises several digital sessions with differing perspectives on the UN’s global Development Goal for Sustainable Cities and Communities. The aim is, through case studies, workshops and discussions, to strengthen the link between research and practice and generate change in cities, municipalities and regions.

Mistra’s sessions, to be arranged in cooperation with Sida and the Mistra Urban Futures research centre (2010–19), will highlight results and best practice for sustainable and equitable urban development (‘Realising Just Cities’).


From 9:00 to 10:30 on Monday 19 October, a session will be held about difficult problems in society, and how practice and research can be developed to enable us to solve them jointly. This programme session is based on target 11.3 (‘By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanisation and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries’). But challenges arise when stakeholders with differing knowledge, backgrounds and ethical frameworks work together to co-create new knowledge. Merritt Polk, Professor and Head of Department at the University of Gothenburg, and Henrietta Palmer, former Deputy Scientific Director of Mistra Urban Futures, will share their experience of working on a cross-border study programme. In it, participants from the public, private and civil sectors, along with doctoral students, explore problems and challenges, and methods of dealing with them. During the session, there will also be scope to discuss challenges and compare notes in small discussion forums.

From 13:00 to 14:00 on the same day, a session on how other cities are implementing Agenda 2030 at local level is scheduled. During 2014–2019, Mistra Urban Futures led several comparative studies on how seven cities around the world are working to achieve the global goals. Five factors emerged as particularly important: management and political governance, relevant stakeholders, demarcation of urban areas, and prioritisation of targets and measures of progress. This session will impart understanding of how the global goals can be adapted locally and how other cities’ experience can be used in our own work. The importance of co-creating this knowledge with other stakeholders, to make the work more relevant and effective, will also be highlighted. Sandra Valencia, a researcher at the Gothenburg Centre for Sustainable Development (GMV), Barry Ness, Associate Professor and Senior Lecturer at Lund University, and Sara Pettersson, Urban Development Officer at the Climate and Environment planning unit of the City of Gothenburg, will moderate the session.

Between 2010 and 2019, Mistra Urban Futures was an international research and knowledge centre for sustainable urban development. Following the completion of funding by Mistra, the centre was transformed into two initiatives — first, the Centre for Sustainable Urban Futures (GMV), part of both Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, and, second, GMV’s network Global Sustainable Futures (GSF), a new platform for collaboration to integrate international efforts.

Goal 11 Week for urban planners

Goal 11 Week is to be held by 18 organisations, including Sweden’s national Sustainable Spatial Planning research programme and Council for Sustainable Cities. The conference is geared mainly to researchers and people working in spatial and urban planning, development and sustainability at municipal and regional levels.

Get the full programme and register for the sessions that interest you.