Published 2017-10-31

This post is also available in Swedish

New Stockholm research hub on sustainable urban areas

Mistra Urban Futures is setting up a new research hub in Stockholm. This will promote the long-term task of transforming the research programme into a national and international centre of knowledge about sustainable urban development.

Mistra Urban Futures began its work in 2010, building on locally-based research collaboration. So far, such venues have existed in Gothenburg and Malmö (Sweden), Sheffield–Manchester (UK), Kisumu (Kenya) and Cape Town (South Africa). Stockholm will thus be the sixth urban area to join the global network.

‘We now have all three major cities in Sweden, which means we’re clearly getting to grips nationally. The Stockholm group are proficient in socioecological issues, and complement the programme’s research profile nicely,’ says Jenny Sjödin, Communications Manager at Mistra Urban Futures.

Backing the Stockholm hub is a consortium with seven members including Stockholm City, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute and Stockholm Resilience Centre. Today, several of these organisations are already collaborating in regional development projects. Now they are also part of Mistra Urban Futures, which will help to strengthen relationships and bring about clearer coordination of the Stockholm region’s sustainability efforts, thinks Sara Borgström, a researcher at KTH and coordinator of the consortium.

One task for the Stockholm group, jointly with the region’s stakeholders, will be practical implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, otherwise known as the ‘Global Goals’). More concrete plans for the work will emerge in the autumn.

‘We’ll start work this autumn with a workshop where all the stakeholders get together to identify crucial challenges in the Stockholm region. Based on that, we’re going to set up working groups and plan further inputs,’ says Sara Borgström.

Their base will be located at OpenLab, an interdisciplinary regional centre for collaboration at KTH. Here, researchers and practitioners — architects, engineers, systems ecologists, urban planners and geographers — will work together.

The Stockholm hub will strengthen Mistra Urban Futures regionally, nationally and internationally. The long-term strategy is to get this research programme established in new locations. Discussions are under way to bring in regions in South America and Asia too, according to Jenny Sjödin.

‘Mistra’s funding will end in 2019. Our goal is to establish ourselves as an international hub for sustainable urban development after 2019 too. The initiative in Stockholm is part of that strategy,’ she concludes.