Urban Social-Ecological Systems

Urban Social-Ecological Systems

As a sign of the fast transformation of the Anthropocene, the world is urbanizing at an unprecedented rate. If current trends continue urban land-cover will soon be three times larger than the global urban land area of 2000, with the highest rates of urban growth in regions that presently are relatively undisturbed by urban development. 
 
The planning and developing of cities that provides basic human services and healthy ecosystems, put governments and civil society to the test. For one thing, cities need to be better prepared to deal with climate-change, new migration patterns, biodiversity loss and increased digitalization. 
 
At a theoretical level, urban systems are complex, adaptive systems that are socially and ecologically interconnected in such a way that they have properties that cannot solely be understood by each part in itself. To manage such systems requires a focus on the properties and processes that nurture resilience, the capacity to survive disturbance and adapt to change in ways that do not disrupt critical system functions. 
 
In this research program, we study how cities could become more closely reconnected to the biosphere. This involves research on urban resilience building, with special focus on the interplay among ecosystems; the built environment, governance institutions and cognitive resilience building, as well as the underlying world views and policies that shape and frame urban development.  
 

Programme director: Johan Colding

Current research projects of this programme

Finished research of this programme