SLU news

Workshop on green cities in Brussels

Published: 08 March 2018

On 5 March, a workshop was organised at the Stockholm Region EU Office in Brussels. The theme of the day was to draft research agendas for urban ecosystem services and sustainable urbanisation. The workshop was led by the Platform on Urban Ecosystem Services, based at SLU/the Movium think tank.

The overarching objective was to identify synergies and partnerships between Sweden's new Sustainable Cities Agenda and the EU Sustainable Urbanisation Agenda 2018–2022.

SLU's proposed research and innovation themes:

  • Carbon-neutral, green and liveable cities
  • Arts-based science approaches to sustainable urbanisation
  • Urban agriculture as a means for promoting social cohesion and livelihood
  • The contribution of public and semi-public space to social cohesion and well-being
  • Co-creating nature-inspired and smart cities
  • Redefining the urban – connectivity between the rural and the urban
Summary of the workshop

Synergies between Sweden and the EU are already evident. For example, both follow an action-research/learning-by-doing approach. However, more knowledge can be shared, e.g. the European Commission could consider the Vinnova 3-stage model for project evaluation when funding collaboration projects, a model that is based on evaluating each phase separately .

These days, everyone supports the idea of co-design and co-production of knowledge, but it is not simple: new models and methods are needed.

The challenges facing sustainable urbanisation are linked, as are the many possible solutions. A holistic approach is needed, going beyond cities to recognise that the urban and non-urban environments are linked, rather negatively now, but hopefully more positively in the future.

The implementation of the Liveable and Green Cities initiatives requires solid science to support the monitoring and performance evaluation of nature-based solutions (NBS). Recent studies have revealed the potential for co-benefits and costs of NBS which need to be carefully considered during design and implementation of green city initiatives.

The workshop was followed by a reception with the Minister for the Environment Karolina Skog; Ylva Hillbur, SLU Pro Vice-Chancellor for international relations; David Simon, Director of Mistra Urban Futures and Humberto Delgado Rosa, the European Commission.

Workshop speakers

Christos Fragakis, European Commission; Maria Ulfvarson Dahlman, Ministry for the Environment and Energy; Christopher Raymond, SLU and Erik Andersson, Stockholm Resilience Centre.


Representatives of the Swedish Government; Stockholm Resilience Centre; the Environmental Protection Agency; the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning; Vinnova; the Ministry for the Environment and Energy; Mistra Urban Futures; Skåne Regional Council; the Swedish Representation to the EU; the European Commission's Directorates-General Environment - Natural Capital and Research and Innovation – Sustainable Management of Natural Resources; IUCN, the City of Gothenburg; the City of Malmö; the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology; ThinkNature; the Stockholm Region EU Office; ICLEI; BiodivERsA; Region of Crete; Housing Europe; JPI Urban Europe; Central Denmark; European Partners for the Environment.

SLU was represented by the Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management; the Movium think tank; Urban Futures and the Department of Ecology.

Titti Olsson
SLU/Tankesmedjan Movium


The Platform on Urban Ecosystem Services is a project run jointly by SLU/Movium, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sustainable Business Hub and Albaeco on urban ecosystem services. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning are taking part in the project as reference partners. The platform is funded by Vinnova, and the objective is to influence future calls within the EU framework programme for research and innovation, as well as to increase Swedish participation at EU level.

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