The year 2021 represents the first year of the next platform period stretching over 4 years, from 2021 - 2024. SLU Urban Futures (UF) moves from pioneering work, establishing structures and processes to realize platform goals, to concentrating efforts to efficiently direct resources, smoothly run activities, and better assist others to realize their UF supported projects and activities.
SLU UF engages in change processes that concern in particular the SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, which functions as gate to all sustainability goals of Agenda 2030. Transformation towards sustainable futures needs to touch upon all goals and understand their interconnectedness, possible conflicts or synergies. This global agenda clarifies the importance of sustainable urban development for humanity, ecosystems and biospheres on this planet.
The report “Urban Sustainability in the Global South – A review of projects connected to low and middle income countries at SLU” is based on a collaboration between SLU Urban Futures & SLU Global, which takes the agenda 2030 as a central lens and illustrates the relevance of urban research connected to the global south by drawing upon relevant literature and policy documents
Developing ENTRYWAYS to find, strengthen and grow SLU’s URBAN expertise
Establishing three UF hubs that physically anchor the platform at each of SLU’s main campuses (Alnarp, Ultuna and Umeå), creating opportunities for collaboration across faculties and with societal actors in each of the regions.
- Relevant for campus development undertaken at all locations and strengthening SLU’s strategy of ONE SLU
- Tapping into existing collaborative agreement between SLU and Uppsala municipality (SLU ID: SLU.ltv.2021.183-1) offering facilitation, and encouraging a similar agreement between SLU and Umeå municipality.
Digitally UrbanScapes offers access to SLU's urban palette of knowledge and networks:
- This interface was launched in 2021 as a complementary website to SLU.se, gathering transdisciplinary research projects and work at SLU that touch upon sustainable urban development.
- Hosting the film series Urban Take Aways and the text series Urban Voices.
UF’s Method Labs harvested learnings, developed and sharpened formats to offer them in new settings.
- UF’s Futures Lab (UF + Future Food): Engaged the researchers from the Futures Lab (2020) as ambassadors for Futures Studies and to plan the Futures Lab seminar series for 2022
- UF’s Criticality Lab: Continued development of the successful PhD criticality course series with a FUN-funded Fall 2021 course (postponed, due to Covid, to Spring 2022)
- UF’s Synthesis Lab: Fostered existing collaborations to harvest outcomes laying groundwork for a Strategic Synthesis white paper (under development for 2022)
Collaborating on urban themes
Webinar series’ such as Climate Conversations, Urban Forests and Urban Sustainability in the Global South were all well suited for a web-based format, run in various collaborations with the other future platforms and SLU Global.
- Climate Conversations: A seminar series arranged by the four future platforms and SLU Global. The series encompasses open seminars and internal dialogues on climate change, and takes its departure in the IPCC reports published during 2021 – 2023.
- Urban Forests: A seminar series arranged by the UF Hub in Umeå together with Future Forests. Cross-disciplinary research relating to urban forests is addressed via invited speakers and discussions with the audience.
- Urban Sustainability in the Global South: Webinar series arranged by UF and SLU Global. International speakers together with SLU researchers discuss issues of sustainable development in developing countries.
Food & Cities as one of the core themes for SLU and for today’s sustainability transitions towards sustainable, healthy and just societies.
- SLU UF and SLU Future Food are running Food & Cities as a collaborative project, aiming to facilitate the meeting between food systems and urban development research at SLU in order to encourage new research ideas and collaborations at this interdisciplinary cross-section.
- In 2021, a network of researchers was built up within this project, and a launch event for the Food & Cities network took place, which invited different researchers to present their research and discuss how we at the university can work to improve collaboration between disciplines. A webpage was also created to showcase these different research initiatives, projects and educational programmes.
Urban Transformations through a landscape perspective is taken up by SLU Think Tank Movium & SLU UF – joining forces for urban landscapes in and for transformation (powerhouse)
- During 2021, SLU Think Tank Movium and SLU Urban Futures signed an agreement Powerhouse on Urban Transformations through a landscape perspective (SLU ID SLU.ltv.2021.1.1.1-270) to join forces for urban landscapes in and for transformation.
- During the fall of 2021, a senior advisor was hired for a 6 months period to draft a work plan for the collaboration based upon workshops with Movium and UF staff and dialogue meetings with Movium and UF leadership.
A strong INTERNATIONAL reach
- Existing international networks, a so-called Community of Practice regarding Living Labs, consolidated with monthly network meetings, co-arrangement of conference input, and invitation to events; that strengthen platform knowledge regarding so-called RWL, Campus as Living Lab and place SLU in an international university network.
- Dialogue cross campuses and faculties reached beyond SLU into the world. This was particularly visible during the SLU Landscape Days 2021, where UF arranged an interactive workshop with the purpose of creating dialogue around conceptualization and the creation of Living Labs in campus environments. Here, international speakers from Delft, Montreal and Utrecht lectured together with speakers from Uppsala, Alnarp and Umeå.
- Urban Forum – Academia meets Practice, co-organized by SLU Urban Futures and Urban Arena at LU - where practitioners and academics meet to present their ongoing projects and discuss their most burning issues in a collegial environment, went online and projects from Germany, Austria, Sweden, the USA, Tanzania and Zambia were presented here.