Urban Social-Ecological Systems 2019-10-11

Research projects

Analyzing city-densification from an ecological resilience perspective

City-densification, or “Smart Growth”, is considered to be an environmentally friendly approach for building cities. But to what extent holds this proposition true and what is actually meant by “dense”? In this research project we explore the environmental rationales behind city densification through:

1) conducting a large-scale international literature review;

2) studying where and what type of land use city-densification is occurring in the Stockholm region; and

3) analyzing the potentials for improving resiliency of city-dense structures in Stockholm.

The purpose is to improve our environmental understanding of city-densification and to analyze to what extent it is possible to make such physical structures more ecologically resilient to meet an uncertain future of climate change and loss of ecosystem services.

Research involves reviewing the literature, and draws on a combination of methods used in urban morphology, GIS analyses, including studies related to resilience building of urban systems by way of Nature-Based Solutions and ecosystem services.

We envision project results to be of a high scientific value for improving knowledge about city-densification from an ecosystem resilience perspective, and to be of immediate relevance for the ongoing work of the Growth and Regional Planning Administration of the Stockholm County Council. The project is funded by a grant from the Swedish Research Council for Environment (FORMAS) for the years 2018-2020.

Contact: Johan Colding and Åsa Gren


Understanding Smart City-development from a resilience perspective

Cities are right now going through a boost and bust cycle of Information and Computer Technology, popularly known as Smart City (SC), which represents the latest buzzword in current debate on sustainable urban development.

This research project is carried out in collaboration with scholars at HIG Urban Studio at Gävle University, Sweden, the Stockholm Resilience Centre and seeks to shed new light on the pros and cons of the digitalization of cities.

An important research aspect is to improve understanding of how vulnerable a city may become by uncritically adopting SC as a new governance framework. Another study focus is to improve our understanding how the SC-framework may impact human cognition, pro-environmental behavior, and reconnecting city inhabitants to the biosphere.

Contact: Johan Colding