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Josefin Wangel

Josefin Wangel
I'm an undisciplined researcher and educator driven by a combination of curiosity and frustration over the state of the world. Project leader for SLU Futures Lab - a novel initative designed to support interdisciplinary exploration of future challenges.


I'm an undisciplined researcher and educator driven by a combination of curiosity and frustration over the state of the world. My research focus on exploring drivers and barriers for the transition to a more sustainable and just society, typically with focus on lifestyles, urban development and energy systems. I am very fond of transdisciplinary and popular science meetings, workshops, lectures and writing.

I'm associate editor for Futures and senior advisor for the thinktank Global Utmaning. During 2020 I'm leading the SLU Futures Lab - a novel initative designed to support interdisciplinary exploration of future challenges.

My background includes Earth Sciences (MSc from Stockholm University) and the multi- and interdisciplinary field of Planning and Decision Analysis, in which I did my PhD on Making Futures. I'm Associate Professor (sv. docent) in Landscape Architecture (SLU).


I'm currently developing a course on futures studies that will be given at SLU during the autumn 2020. I give lectures and workshops to a variety of courses, mainly at SLU, KTH, Cemus. 


Current palette of research projects includes:

- Greening Urban Lifestyles through Nudging and Participation, in which we look into the potential of urban planning, in a wide sense, to support sustainable lifestyles.

- Beyond Efficiency, in which we critically and creatively explore sustainable cities as discourse and practice (check out our project blog!)

- Gendered sustainability, in which we examine alternative narratives of sustainable everyday life, using an eco-feminist lens.


PhD students

Main supervisor to Malin Bäckman, whose thesis explores sustainable lifestyles through narrative inquiry; Daniel Valentini, who examines the governance of urban biking; and Kani Ava Lind, who explores the relation between body and space in and through landscape architecture.

Assistant supervisor to Jonas Lind (KTH, Sweden) whose thesis explores certification schemes for sustainable urban development; Jakob Grandin (Bergen University, Norway) who looks into the politics of rapid urban transitions; Fredrik Envall (Linköping University, Sweden) who explores smart grid experiments. 

Selected publications

Futures studies (backcasting, design fiction, contrafactual history)

Wangel, J., Hesselgren, M., Eriksson, E., Broms, L., Kanulf, G., Ljunggren, A. 2019.
Vitiden: Transforming a policy-orienting scenario to a practice-oriented energy fiction, Futures 112.

Hesselgren, M. Eriksson, E. Wangel, J., Broms, L. 2018. Exploring Lost and Found in Future Images of Energy Transitions: Towards a Bridging Practice of Provoking and Affirming Design. DRS 2018, Limerick, Ireland.

Broms, L., Wangel, J., Andersson, C. 2017. Sensing Energy: Forming Stories through Speculative Design Artefacts. Energy Research & Social Science, 31C: 194-204.

Pargman, D., Eriksson, E., Höök, M., Tanenbaum, J., Pufal, M., Wangel, J. 2017. What if there had only been half the oil? Rewriting history to envision the consequences of peak oil. Energy Research & Social Science, 31C: 170-178.

Mazé, R., Wangel, J. 2016. "Future (Im)Perfect: Exploring time, becoming and difference in design and futures studies." In: Schalk, M., Kristiansson, T., Mazé, R. (ed.) Feminist Futures: Pedagogies for a critical spatial practice practice. Spurbuchverlag.

Ilstedt, S., Wangel, J. 2014. Altering expectations: how design fictions and backcasting can leverage sustainable lifestyles. pp. 243-254. In: Proceedings from DRS (Design Research Society) 2014: Design's Big Debates - Pushing the Boundaries of Design Research. Umeå, Sweden, June 16-19 2014. 

Wangel, J. 2011. Exploring social structures and agency in backcasting studies for sustainable development. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 78(5): 872-882

Sustainable urban development (climate targets, certification schemes, governance)

Lind, J., Malmqvist, T., Wangel, J. 2019. Key Considerations When Designing Certification Systems for Urban Sustainability and Implications for The Swedish Post-Construction System Citylab, sustainability 11.

Wangel, J., Wallhagen, M., Malmqvist, T., Finnveden, G. 2016. Certification systems for sustainable neighbourhoods: What do they really certify? Environmental Impact Assessment Review 56: 200-213.

Kramers, A., Wangel, J., Johansson, S., Höjer, M., Finnveden, G., Brandt, N. 2013. Towards a comprehensive system of methodological considerations for cities' climate targets. Energy Policy 62: 1276–1287.

Svane, Ö., Wangel, J., Engberg, L., Palm, J. 2011. Compromise and learning when negotiating sustainabilities: the brownfield development of Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm. International Journal of Sustainable Urban Development 3(2): 141-155.

Popular scientific & debate

Wangel, J. 2015. "Den sunda skulden" ("The sound guilt") . Essay for the Swedish climate magazine Effekt special issue (3/2015) of climate change and emotions. 

Wangel, J. 2015. "Den orimliga staden" ("The unreasonable city"). Chapter in: Avner et al. (Eds.) Att slakta en guldkalv: Visioner för ett hållbar samhälle. Carlsson bokförlag.

Wangel J. 2014. Konsumenter kan inte skapa hållbara konsumtionsmönster. (”Consumers cannot create sustainable consumption patterns”) Debate article for Formas EXTRAKT, published 2014-01-28.

Wangel, J. 2013. "Hur hållbara är Hammarby sjöstad och Norra Djurgårdsstaden?" (”How sustainable are Hammarby sjöstad and the Royal Seaport?” Chapter in: Teleman, H., Caldenby, C., Ullstad, E., von Platen, F. (Eds.) Hållbarhetens villkor. Arena: Malmö, Sweden.

Researcher at the Department of Urban and Rural Development; Division of Landscape Architecture
Telephone: +4618672518
Work description: Un-disciplined researcher and teacher on sustainable urban development with a passion for socio-material systems thinking, critical theory and speculative approaches, particularly to explore and address the paradox/oxymoron of sustainable + urban. Joined SLU in August 2017 as researcher and Vice Program Director for SLU Urban Futures platform. Current research projects include BEYONCEY which explores sustainable urban development beyond the efficiency paradigm; CIPI in which we develop performance indicators for sustainable cities for the Swedish certification system Citylab Action; and Mo-Bo in which design at multiple scales is explored as a tool for more integrated and sustainable mobility and housing practices. Very fond of popular science writing, talking and meeting. Serves at the editorial boards for Futures and Sustainable Development, respectively. MSc in Environmental Science (Stockholm University) and PhD in Planning and Decision Analysis (KTH Royal Institute of Technology).
Postal address:
Inst för stad och land, Box 7012
Visiting address: Ulls väg 27, Uppsala