SLU Urban Futures is one of four future platforms at SLU. The aim of the platforms is to foster transdisciplinary and multidisciplinary ways of working as well as future-oriented teaching and research. The platform operates across all faculties at SLU and stimulates collaboration with relevant societal actors.
The thematic focus of SLU's Platform Urban Futures includes spatial and socio-ecological sustainability perspectives on urban landscapes as habitat for various groups of humans as well as other-than-human actors, and on urban-rural and urban-hinterland dependencies and interactions.
By being a living, interactive interface between academia and society, SLU Urban Futures operations aim to:
- identify needs for knowledge, through projects based on synthesis and analysis, and generate academic decision support for issues relevant to society;
- Identify and develop new research issues as support for solving future problems through collaboration with relevant societal partners.
- develop interdisciplinary working methods by initiating and coordinating cooperation across academic disciplines.
The mission of the platform is to inspire and support researchers and teachers of SLU to initiate, develop and strengthen transdisciplinary research, education and collaboration within the field of sustainable urban development.
The overall vision for SLU Urban Futures is to make SLU more urban than ever before.
Supporting transformative capacities
SLU Urban Futures supports transformative capacity building by planting seeds of the future through:
- Long-term transdisciplinary relations and collaborations
- Offering tools that support new practices
- Stimulate change through powerful stories
- Offer forums for testing ideas and critical dialogue
- Allow learning from experiments and failure
Sustainable urban development today encompasses more than studying big cities, urban cores and the densely built-up. Researchers are starting to re-imagine the 'urban' from scientific, sociological and humanistic vantage points. The relationships between the built-up and the not built-up include complex spatial and socio-ecological systems, impacted by processes of urbanisation.
SLU’s urban Research Platform is anchored in the LTV faculty (Faculty of Landscape Architecture, Horticulture and Crop Production Science) where various areas of knowledge in the landscape field are gathered under the label of SLU Landscape. This is why the platform engages to study urban questions from a landscape perspective, offering a spatial and socio-ecological approach to urban studies, as well as transdisciplinary work modes to the whole of SLU.
The landscape perspective forwards a relational and society-oriented understanding of urban issues. It relies on the definition of ‘landscape’ as offered by the European Landscape Convention (ELC); ‘Landscape is part of the land, as perceived by local people or visitors, and which evolves through time as a result of being acted upon by natural forces and human beings.’ Here the term landscape is linked to society and suggests it as a concept to reach public audiences and policymakers. This resonates with the Sustainable Development Goals of the Agenda 2030.