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Urban Planning for the unknowns

Welcome to the first International Symposium on Urban Sustainability. The overarching topic of the symposium will be urban planning for climate neutral cities while building resilience for the unknowns of the future.

“This series of symposium provide researchers, practitioners and the public to present and share insights, network and co-create new ideas.”

The first International Symposium on Urban Sustainability will take place in Gävle, Sweden. The overarching topic of the symposium will be urban planning for climate neutral cities while building resilience for the unknowns of the future.

Come and join us in dialogue and discussions about recent innovations, concerns, challenges, and solutions related to urban climate transition while accounting for the uncertainties related to yet unknown future changes. The symposium is organized by the University of Gävle, a pioneer in sustainable development with top-ranked experts in the field and will be hosted in a city recognized as one of the best sustainable cities in Sweden.

Datum: November 16
Tid: 09.00-17.40
Plats: Onsite at Clarion Hotel Winn or digital at Zoom.

Onsite registration is now closed but you can follow the symposium virtually via Zoom: https://hig-se.zoom.us/j/61720412993

For those interested in discussing projects in the field of Urban Transition a workshop will be held on 17 November at the University of Gävle.

Program Thursday 16th of November


Drop-in and registration

Morning Session


Opening remarks by the lead of University of Gävle

Ylva Fältholm, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gävle


Introduction to ISUS

Stephan Bartel, Professor, Director of Urban Sustainability, University of Gävle


Evelina Loberg

Exploring the pathways to a net zero Gävle in 2030

Evelina Loberg, Environmental strategist, Gävle Municipality, Sweden.

More about the presentation

Gävle has decided to become climate neutral until 2030 to be in line with the Paris agreement. However, the pathways to climate neutrality might seem quite straight forward but there are many choices and hurdles to deal with on the way. There are many interdependencies with regional, national, and international level that has a great influence on our ability to become climate neutral. As well as political, institutional, and economical contradictions and above that new knowledge that needs to be gained and implemented. It’s about fundamental change and that is both exciting and difficult. The presentation will explore these discussion points.

About the speaker

Evelina Loberg is coordinating the climate neutrality goal in Gävle on an overall strategic level. She has been working for the County Administrative Board for eight years with sustainable transportation and regional climate change strategies before starting at Gävle municipality in 2020. She started her career working for the department of economic affairs in the Netherlands, before she moved back to Sweden in 2012, working with economic development in different sectors like energy, banking and logistics but longed to work with more sustainability issues.


Coffee break


Enrico S. Mazzucchelli

Design of resilient buildings for extreme weather events: challenges and future perspectives

Enrico S. Mazzucchelli, Associate Professor, Politecnico di Milano, Italy.

More about the presentation

The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events have increased in the last years. Building resiliency against different natural hazards (hurricanes, floodings, wildfires, etc.) is fundamental for the adaptation to climate change, even if it is hardly included in their design process. In this scenario, the presentation aims to provide an overview of strategies and challenges for the design of resilient buildings, able to meet users’ needs in terms of safety and environmental comfort, and in response to the current changing climatic conditions, highlighting the synergy between "mitigation" and "adaptation" strategies.

About the speaker

Enrico S. Mazzucchelli is an Associate Professor of Building Engineering at the Department of Architecture, Built environment and Construction engineering (DABC), Politecnico di Milano. His research activities mainly focus on design and performance analysis of innovative building façades components and systems, resilient buildings design, timber constructions, integration of building services and renewable energy systems, buildings retrofit strategies. He is member of associations, conference committees, and research groups, including “European Façade Network” (EFN) and “CIBW098 – Intelligent and responsive buildings” – International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction. He is author of books, journal articles and international conference papers.


Nancy Joy Lim, lektor.

Modelling and predicting extreme events: How reliable are they for preparing for an uncertain future?

Nancy Joy Lim, Senior lecturer, University of Gävle

More about the presentation

Prediction and modelling are needed to be able to foresee what can happen if natural hazards take place. We perform modelling to get scenarios that can help determine the impacts of extreme events, and to identify the geographic location and extent of areas that can possibly be affected if a hazard actualizes. Hence, modelling results are used as bases for early warning information. They are valuable for spatial planning, particularly in managing areas that can be of immediate risk, through implementation of mitigation measures. However, how reliable are they in providing the information we need to prepare for extreme events? Are they accurate enough to justify spatial planning decisions? How do we interpret these model results?

More about the speaker

Nancy Joy Lim is a senior lecturer at the Department of Computer and Geospatial Information Science, University of Gävle, Sweden. Her background is in Geography, Geomatics and Geospatial Information Science. Her research work and interests focus on environmental and natural hazard modelling, geodata processing and usage, remote sensing applications in environmental monitoring and modelling, spatial analyses, and risk and uncertainty mapping, geovisualisation and communication. Nancy is also the programme coordinator for the two-year master's programme in Geospatial Information Science and the one-year master's programme in GIS and Applied Geography (earlier Geomatics).



Afternoon session


Kazuhide Ito

Ventilation Efficiency and Infection Control – in silico Human Modelling Study

Kazuhide Ito, Professor, Kyushu University, Japan.

More about the presentation

In a modern society where people spend most of their time indoors, the indoor air quality (IAQ) of buildings has the potential to significantly affect the quality of life. Accordingly, the importance of IAQ issues in terms of public health is also increasing. Therefore, the development of a comprehensive prediction method that integrates indoor air quality and exposure assessment is crucial for the creation of a healthy indoor environment. The overall objective of this presentation is to present a comprehensive and universal computer simulated human (i.e. in silico human model), integrating computational fluid dynamics (CFD), for use in ventilation and indoor environmental design and exposure assessment/infection control which in most cases is unpredicted.

More about the speaker

Kazuhide Ito is a Professor of Faculty of Engineering Sciences at Kyushu University. Dr. Ito earned his B.Eng. (1995) from Nagoya University and M.Eng. (1997) and PhD. (2000) from The University of Tokyo. Before he joined Kyushu University, he was a faculty member at Tokyo Polytechnic University. Current research topics include in silico human modeling, indoor environment, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), public health Engineering, energy-efficient and sustainable building design and analysis. He has published over 400 journal and conference papers and serves as Editor-in-Chief of “Japan Architectural Review”, and Editor of “Building and Environment” and “Indoor and Built Environment”.


Dusan Licina

The present and future of IEQ in green building certifications amidst climate variability.

Dusan Licina, assistant professor at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

More about the presentation

Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and human health have been on the agenda of the green building industry, with new directions focusing on building features that explicitly promote the experience of occupants. However, the performance of green-certified buildings from the occupant perspective remains inconsistent, with numerous questions arising both from the user experience and building performance more so now since there is uncertainty on future climate. Understanding this is important towards effective design, assessment and promotion of “healthy buildings”. This talk attempts to synthesize emerging knowledge related to IEQ and health; and to identify research and practical challenges that may impede the performance of green-rated buildings. It also sets the foundation for researchers and green rating system developers to capture immediate and long-term opportunities that can help to form an integrated vision for future directions in green buildings with particular emphasis on human health and well-being. The talk envisions the future of green buildings based on integrated management of human (subjective and objective IEQ, health and human experience) and environmental objectives (circularity, resources and energy use), while demonstrating adaptability to climate change. The envisioned future of green buildings will need to be based on a thorough knowledge of the building and its users, their inter- and intra-individual variability, their spatiotemporal localization, their activities, their history of exposures, together with a capacity of anticipation of the likelihood of future events and preparedness for them.

More about the speaker

Dusan Licina, is an assistant professor at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and serves as the director of the Human-Oriented Built Environment Laboratory. He conducts fundamental and applied research in the field of sustainable and healthy built environment, with a specific focus on indoor air pollutant dynamics, exposure science and building ventilation. Prior to joining EPFL, he served as the director of the Standard Development team at the International WELL Building Institute. Dusan is a recipient of several honors and awards, including Yaglou award by the International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate (ISIAQ) for significant research accomplishments on sustainable healthy buildings, and Ralph G. Nevin’s award by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) given in recognition of significant accomplishment in the study of human response to the environment. He is editorial board member of the highly acclaimed Indoor Air journal. He is passionate about raising awareness about the air quality issues worldwide and developing buildings that are not only energy efficient, but that also contribute to “Michelin Star” indoor air quality.


Accounting for resilience in urban energy systems

Mathias Cehlin, Associate Professor, University of Gävle, Sweden.

More about the presentation

The energy systems are playing a critical role in enabling climate neutral cities and a high energy system resilience is of utmost importance to modern societies that are highly dependent on continued access to energy services. Today’s energy systems are facing more threats and challenges than ever from fuel deliverability, conflicts, natural disasters, cyber-attacks, higher share of renewables, electrification, and so forth. The energy system needs to be robust but also resilient against disruptive events. For example, the reliance on diverse sources is a cornerstone for energy security and resilience. This presentation will discuss various approaches to improve robustness, flexibility and resilience of energy systems.

More about the speaker

Mathias Cehlin is an associate Professor in Energy Systems at University of Gävle. He is a driven researcher in energy systems, appointed regional manager for the national competence center Resilient Energy Systems where academia, business and public sector co-create critical research and practice-based knowledge for the transition to resilient energy systems. He was co-director for the strategic research area Urban Sustainability at University of Gävle between 2019-2022, which aims to contribute to an urban sustainable development that improves people's living environment and health. Mathias current research projects include resilient energy systems, indoor and outdoor air quality, and energy-efficient buildings.


Coffee break


Cross-sectoral symbiosis for a fossil free society

Ola Eriksson, Professor, University of Gävle and Karl Hillman, Associate Professor

Ola Eriksson

Karl Hillman

More about the presentation

The transition to a fossil-free society is a global challenge that requires long term efforts affecting almost everyone and combines various impact on society in terms of environmental, economic and social issues. In an urban context, changes in energy and transport systems are expected, industries are switching to fossil-free processes, and new industrial capacity is needed. In the multifaced transition of transport, energy supply and industry, the various sectors can combine ideas and solutions to be more profitable and efficient. The talk will revolve around cross-sectoral collaboration that provides benefits, while also addressing the implications of a fair transition.

More about the speakers
Ola Eriksson

Ola Eriksson is a Professor in Environmental Engineering at the University of Gävle. He holds an MSc degree in Mechanical Engineering and a PhD in Industrial Ecology. Ola Eriksson has specialized in environmental assessment of technology with a focus on Life Cycle Assessment. He is mostly working with case studies but also with methodology development. The case studies involve waste management, buildings, energy systems and transports. He is member of several editorial boards, principal advisor to 2 PhD students, has published appr. 50 scientific journal papers and is frequently cited.

Karl Hillman

Associate professor in Sustainability Science with Specialization in Environmental Engineering. He holds an MSc in Engineering Physics and a PhD in Energy and Environment. His research primarily revolves around environmental systems analysis and environmental assessment of socio-technical systems aiming towards transition to a fossil-free society. In recent years, he has taken on projects within energy and transport, hydrogen and material recycling, as well as supervision of several doctoral students. Karl Hillman is head of education in Sustainability Science at the University of Gävle, organizing study programmes on basic and advanced levels.


Moderated panel discussion

Moderator: Åsa Gren, Associate Professor and Nancy Joy Lim, Assistant professor, University of Gävle


Closing remarks

Gunilla Mårtensson, Faculty Manager,
Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development

Program Friday 17th of November

For those interested in discussing projects in the field of Urban Transition


Lab Tour at University of Gävle in Building 45 and Fika


Workshop/Urban lab - Identifying Challenges and Opportunities in Sustainable Urban Transition




The symposium is free of charge. The number of attendees is limited, first come is first served! Lunch and coffee are included. The symposium will be held in English.

Please, register in the form below. When registering, please specify if you have dietary requirements. Last day for registration November 1.

The event is organised by the research program Urban Transition, University of Gävle.


Program Officers Urban Transition

Marita Wallhagen
E-mail: marita.wallhagen@hig.se

Alan Kabanshi
E-mail: alan.kabanshi@hig.se

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Published by: Catarina Carlsson Page responsible: Veronica Liljeroth Updated: 2023-11-15
Högskolan i Gävle
Box 801 76 GÄVLE
026-64 85 00 (växel)