Mistra Urban Futures

An international consortium for transdisciplinary research on sustainable and inclusive cities


AREA of socio-ecological sustainability transformations

Sustainable and inclusive urban development

TOOLS for Knowledge co-production between scientists and practitioners

Co-design of pilot research projects

scientific METHODS for transdisciplinary knowledge integration

Comparative analysis between co-produced research in five cities

Tools for knowledge co-production
Presentation of the methodology of the 10 years project

Mistra Urban Futures was established in January 2010. Sited in Gothenburg, Sweden, Mistra Urban Futures was set-up to better understand the challenges and possibilities facing urban areas and to establish a world centre for sustainable urban development. It is funded by Mistra, the Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), and the consortium partners. The centre itself is hosted by Chalmers University of Technology.

 The centre has a two year build-up phase to develop and establish the centre. The objective of the buildup phase is to make the Centre fully operational by January 2012. This has both intellectual and practical aspects. Developing the priorities in terms of substantive content and methodological approaches must go hand in hand with building up a solid organizational, managerial and administrative structure, recruiting staff, finding a location for the Centre and developing an efficient communication strategy.

 The Centre is now half-way through the build-up phase and has developed a solid structural base for operation. The focus in the next twelve months will be to further position the centre in the area of knowledge and capacity building for urban futures, in terms of the scientific profile as well as global and local relevance, and to recruit staff that will form the core team at the Centre.


Tools for knowledge integration

Calculation of Carbon impact of life style changes for various income profiles of Gothenburg households

 The report ‘Klimatomställning Göteborg. Tekniska möjligheter och livsstilsförändringar’ (Low-carbon Gothenburg. Technological potentials and lifestyle changes), which was published in September 2013, generated much interest among both experts and the public as a whole. The English summary (Low-carbon Gothenburg) also generated interest at international level. This led the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (through Eva Ahlner) to fund an English version of the report.

 Rather than simply translating the original report, we decided to develop the analysis further, partly because we ourselves had identified a number of potential improvements and partly to take account of the many useful comments we had received in response to the report. For this reason, we entitled the report Low-carbon Gothenburg 2.0 (the report is also available in Swedish with the title: Klimatomställning Göteborg 2.0. Tekniska möjligheter och livsstilsförändringar).

Jörgen Larsson (Chalmers) and Lisa Bolin (SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden) are the main authors of the report and are responsible for the majority of the work associated with it. The further analysis was, however, carried out in close consultation with Pernilla Hellström, Inger-Lise Svensson, Kristofer Palmestål at the City of Gothenburg, Berit Mattsson at Region Västra Götaland and Robin Sinclair at Chalmers


WISE – Well-being in sustainable cities
Description of the project

Can a low carbon society be achieved with maintained or increasing levels of human well-being? The societal discussion on the transition towards ecological sustainability is dominated by the view that technological improvements will have to do the job in order to avoid lifestyle changes that would imply sacrifices. But what if a stronger focus on well-being could even be a driver for sustainable development?

Results from the emerging field of well-being research suggest, for example, that the link between the level of private consumption and well-being is weak in affluent societies, whereas factors such as time pressure and certain practices like commuting may have negative effects. This may open for new opportunities for pathways that combine a high level of well-being with decreasing emissions.

The overall aim of the Well-being in Sustainable Cities (WISE) project was to facilitate joint knowledge production between scientists and expert civil servants in order to support the transition towards sustainable cities. WISE was carried out in cooperation between Chalmers University of Technology, City of Gothenburg, The Swedish Transport Administration and Region Västra Götaland

Project websites