Året som gått, SLU Urban Futures
SLU Urban Futures Strategy 2020-2024 calls for a landscape perspective on urban transformation and a critical and creative approach to transformative capacity building. In 2022 UF targeted efforts to support this strategy.
• UF has a landscape perspective on urban sustainability and transformation, being convinced that in today’s urban environments, researchers must re-imagine the urban question from scientific, sociological and humanistic vantage points, towards transformative change. UF targeted its focus and detected relevant SLU strategic urban themes, positioning SLU as an important partner for collaboration, offering expertise needed to affect desirable urban futures in the fields of urban health, food and forests.
• UF has focused on critical skills. The platform has fostered transformative capacity building, developed critical and creative encounters between practice and theory for curiosity-driven reflection and knowledge development, driven urban transformation from an inclusive perspective. For example the PhD Criticality Course series displays the important role of critical thinking in developing sustainable urban environments.
• UF has focused on synthesis work. The platform as supported method labs & collaboration, synthesized research outcomes to prioritize research demands and encourage re-integration of knowledge towards new understandings from a transdisciplinary perspective. This for example can help to position SLU’s engagement in Campus development in an international scope or it allows for relevant perspectives on potential new policy development in the field of regional planning.
• UF has developed organisational structures fostering transdisciplinary work by accessing SLU’s urban palette of expertise and networks through new engagements, knowledge sharing, Living Lab methodologies and collaboration through UF hubs. The platform has been working across SLU’s faculties, disciplines, and scales supporting the goal of ONE SLU. Through the UF hubs and the conference series UF mobilised its international and regional networks, connected those to local expertise and thus staged content and created more collaborative momentum.
Here’s a selection of collaborative projects and activities from 2022:
Getting Our Cities Right – a UF conference series
SLU Urban Futures devised two conferences in 2022. The Getting our cities right-conference series uses the ‘urban’ goal, SDG 11 as a portal to understanding the interconnected social, economic and environmental challenges we face at an international, regional and local level; and a docking station for connecting to the other SDG areas to envision how we facilitate transformative change.
- 14 June, Conference: Getting our cities right #1: From critical urbanities to sustainable foodscapes. Arranged by SLU Urban Futures at SLU campus Ultuna.
- 5 – 6 October, Conference: Getting our cities right #2: From living laboratories to urban healthscapes. Arranged by SLU Urban Futures & SLU Tankesmedjan Movium at SLU campus Alnarp.
Climate Conversations (CC) – a collaboration between all Future Platforms and SLU Global
CC is a seminar series that includes open seminars as well as internal SLU dialogues and takes its stance in the IPCC-reports published 2021–2023. This series is an opportunity to increase scientific conversation about climate change across disciplines at SLU.
- 10 March, Climate Conversation: Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability in a changing climate. Speakers: Debra Roberts (Co-Chair Working group II IPCC), Jennie Barron (SLU), Stephen M Mureithi (University of Nairobi, Harry Fischer (SLU). Arranged by SLU Global, SLU Future One Health, SLU Urban Futures, SLU Future Forests & SLU Future Food.
- 4 May, Climate Conversation: Mitigation – Challenges, opportunities and ways forward. Speakers: Daniel Lindvall (Uppsala University/Climate Change Leadership), Carlo Aall (Western Norway Research Institute, Riccardo Bommarco (SLU), Michaela Lindberg (SLU), Lisette van Beek (Utrecht University). Arranged by SLU Global, SLU Future One Health, SLU Urban Futures, SLU Future Forests & SLU Future Food.
- 31 August, Climate conversation: SLU+50 – A healthy planet for all. Internal dialogue. Arranged by SLU Global, SLU Future One Health, SLU Urban Futures, SLU Future Forests & SLU Future Food.
Strengthening the Urban SLU – collaborative agreement between SLU Urban Futures and SLU Movium Thinktank
SLU Urban Futures and SLU Movium Thinktank have agreed to collaborate on issues surrounding urban transformation and transition towards sustainable and robust communities during at least the time period 2021–2024 (SLU ID SLU.ltv.2021.1.1.1-270). In 2022, Professor Henrietta Palmer was employed to co-develop a cross-disciplinary foundation for closer collaboration between SLU Urban Futures and Movium through a series of workshops together with all staff members at the two platforms, as well as seminars with a smaller working group consisting of participants from both platforms. This resulted in a theoretical declaration of intent, a work plan and a communication plan. During the latter half of 2022, two UF-Movium pilot projects were launched: one focusing on transition studies from a youth perspective, one on campus development and criticality studies.
- 17 March, network meeting within collaborative project SLU Urban Futures and SLU Movium Thinktank with Urban Futures - Centrum för hållbar stadsutveckling, a meeting place and arena for collaboration and collective knowledge production for researchers and practitioners in Västra Götaland. This is a continuation on the Gothenburg platform Mistra Urban Futures (2010-2019). Arranged by SLU Urban Futures & SLU Movium Thinktank.
- Identifying relevant themes and questions for collaboration - 1st Workshop 1 December 2021; Further defining four themes (pilots) for Landscapes for transition/Transition landscapes - 2nd Workshop 19 January 2022
- 4 November, Introduction meeting for collaboration and kick-off for the 2023 workshop series on ‘transition + children + health’ as pilot within the collaborative project between SLU Urban Futures and SLU Movium Thinktank. Participants were researchers and teachers from LAPF and IMS (LTV faculty). Arranged by SLU Urban Futures & SLU Movium Thinktank.
Urban Forests webinar series – a collaboration between UF and Future Forest
Urban trees and forests contribute to making cities socio-economically and environmentally more sustainable. This is a transdisciplinary field where the two platforms SLU Urban Futures and Future Forests meet and collaborate to identify knowledge gaps and new research questions.
- 17 March, Urban Forests webinar: Urban forests for a welfare society: running and the forest ideal in Swedish recreational planning, Mattias Qviström (SLU). Arranged by SLU Urban Futures & SLU Future Forests.
- 27 April, Urban Forests webinar: Trees outside woodlands and their contribution to carbon sequestration, Cat Scott (University of Leeds). Arranged by SLU Urban Futures & SLU Futures Forests.
- 10 May, Urban Forests webinar: (Un)taming urban forests, wildlife, and Indigenous peoples: Mumbai’s Aarey, Purabi Bose (SLU). Arranged by SLU Urban Futures & SLU Future Forests.
- 20 October, Urban Forests webbinarium: Urban Forestry and Green Infrastructure – a historic perspective, Anders Lindhagen (SLU). Arranged by SLU Urban Futures & SLU Future Forests.
- 15 November, Urban Forests webbinarium: Adaptive governance of urban green spaces across Latin America – Insights amid COVID-19, Dr. Martinez Cruz (SLU). Arranged by SLU Urban Futures & SLU Future Forests.
- 8 December, Future analysis of the management of urban forests, Torgny Lind (SLU). Arranged by SLU Urban Futures & SLU Future Forests.
SLU’s Futures Lab – a collaboration between UF and Future Food
The Futures Lab is a forum for multidisciplinary elaboration on future research questions and societal challenges, run through a collaboration between SLU Urban Futures and SLU Future Food. In 2022, the Futures Lab was running as a webinar series on the theme of future studies, with internal and external speakers and with following webinars:
23 March, Futures Lab webinar: Futuring – concepts, practices, pedagogies, Peter Pelzer (Utrecht University). Arranged by SLU Urban Futures & SLU Future Food.
- 4 May, Futures Lab webinar: Visualising the future – adapting to a changing climate, Erik Kjellström (SMHI) & Helena Björn (Lomma Municipality). Arranged by SLU Urban Futures & SLU Future Food
- 21 September, Visualising the future, Garry Peterson (Stockholm Resilience Centre) & Susanna Barrineau (SLU). Arranged by SLU Urban Futures & SLU Future Food.
- 9 November, Visualising the future, Dagmar Haase (Humbolt Universität Berlin) & Ludwig Bengtsson Sonesson (Future Walks, Lund University). Arranged by SLU Urban Futures & SLU Future Food.
Capacity building and education
At the UF Criticality Lab we mobilise discursive formats in education and through events to strengthen SLU’s urban research and to profile SLU as a partner in tackling the challenges of the urbanising planet. Since 2018 SLU Urban Futures offers the PhD Criticality Course series that examines the phenomenon of critique, the place of criticism, and the role of critical thinking in developing sustainable urban environments. Below you find the course of 2022 that took place in Berlin:
- 1-4 April, Ph.D. course: Criticality in Research/ Criticality as Praxis – Knowledge tools for designing urban futures. Course leaders Lisa Diedrich and Andrea Kahn, with support from Sonia Curnier. Arranged by SLU Urban Futures & the Department for Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management, with a grant from SLU Fakultetsutbildningsnämnden (FUN) and co-financed by SLU Urban Futures.
Food & Cities – a collaboration project between UF and Future Food
Food & Cities is a collaboration between SLU Future Food and SLU Urban Futures. The project communicates SLU’s existing research and aims to create new encounters between different disciplines and sectors. The project seeks to identify knowledge gaps and cross-disciplinary research questions and investigates how a long-term thematic focus on food and cities could be established at SLU. The project has lifted multiple urban food perspectives, for example research investigating urban agriculture, cross-sectoral collaboration and food-systems innovation. In 2022 urban food planning emerged as an area of interest, looking at how and why food issues can be integrated into urban planning and policy through cross-sectoral collaboration.
- 27 April, Food&Cities webinar: Rethinking Urban Living Labs. Arranged by Food&Cities & TABLE.
- 25 – 26 October, conference and workshop: Uppsala Health Summit: workshop on Food Planning for Sustainable Consumption and Healthier Living. Arranged by SLU Urban Futures & SLU Future Food.
Various interdisciplinary networking events
SLU Urban Futures are part of selected international networks focusing on urban transition and sustainability. We also engage in initiatives and events that we see could lead to future collaborative
projects, and in activities together with the other future platforms at SLU. Below is a selection of such engagements during 2022.
13 September, presentation at seminar: Transforming Cities & Climate Transition - Swedish research on climate, ecosystem services and blue-green infrastructure, Dimitris Athanassiadis (SLU Urban Futures, SLU).
- 20 – 22 September, Researcher residency at Ekenäs. Arranged by SLU Urban Futures, SLU One Health, SLU Future Forests, SLU Future Food.
- 6 October, network meeting with Community of Practice (CoP) on Living Labs focusing on Campus as Living Lab. The aim was to give SLU’s new PhD-candidate within the topic campus as Living Lab an overview of the network, as well as to give the network insight to campus SLU Alnarp’s capacity and value. Arranged by SLU Urban Futures.
- 10 October, speed talk & moderation at the conference Mötesplats Biosfär - från forskning till innovation, från innovation till transformation: (Speedtalk) “Laboratories within Biosfärområde Vindelälven-Juhttátahkka”, (moderation at session) “Unga människors roll i biosfärområden som lärandeplattformar och samarbetsarenor för hållbarhet”, Dimitris Athanassiadis (SLU Urban Futures, SLU).