During SLU's Agenda 2030 day on 14 November, a series of workshops were arranged, one of which focused on SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities. Here, five of SLU Urban Future's latest seed-funded projects presented their work and it was clear that new doors for interdisciplinary collaborations could be opened thanks to the inclusion of the eleventh Sustainable Development Goal.
On the 14th of November, SLU organized its first Agenda 2030 day. All staff and students were invited to reflect and discuss how far we have come and how we can accelerate SLU’s contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SLU Urban Futures took the opportunity to host one of the afternoon workshops. Here, we invited our latest seed-funded projects to a panel talk on how to work with ‘SDG11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities’ in research projects. Five projects from a wide array of disciplines such as forestry, veterinary science, and environmental psychology took part in the discussion.
Linking the project to SDG11 in some way is compulsory when applying for seed funding from SLU Urban Futures. Panelists agreed that keeping SDG11 in mind helped frame the research question. Adding an ‘SDG11 lens’ onto the project did, in some cases, also help researchers see new interdisciplinary interlinkages between their own research area and others.
In line with the morning sessions, discussions were raised around the fact that some SDGs sometimes conflict with one another. This becomes clearly visible in urbanizing areas where space is often contested by a variety of different interest groups, and conflict over space was a present factor in all project cases.
The panel discussion was appreciated by many of the researcher panelists themselves, as it provided an opportunity to hear about research funded within the same call, see possible interlinkages, and possibly shine a new light on aspects of one’s own research project.
The panel concluded that there is a broad spectrum of research found at SLU when looking at SDG11. This is a strength and a source of opportunities. Engaging with SDG 11, the applicants highlighted contemporary societal questions that display conflicts about space and necessary ethical considerations. Engaging in transdisciplinary collaborations and knowledge co-production transcends the ‘academic bubble’ and anchors SLU’s research in society.
With this said, SLU Urban Futures would like to thank the panelists as well as everyone who participated for a good discussion with interesting thoughts and perspectives!