In 2050, almost 70 percent of the world’s population is expected to live in cities, and Sweden, too, has a growing population and strong urbanization. This situation poses new demands on urban development: cities must be built in ecologically, economically and socially sustainable manners.
The business research school “Future-Proof Cities” is the manifestation of a unique venture in which three higher education institutions pool their professional knowledge about sustainable urban development with the goal to develop our cities into climate-resilient, living, healthy and safe places.
“At the University of Gävle, we conduct cutting-edge research on sustainable urban development and the research school will be of great importance in the creation and dissemination of new knowledge in collaborations with business sectors,” says Stephan Barthel, research director at University of Gävle.
Mid-sized cities a priority
What is unique with this research school is that it builds on a societal dialogue in which the academic community collaborates with business sectors. This means that those involved in social planning will be able to implements solutions for a sustainable urban development directly.
“We will prioritise urban development in mid-sized cities like Gävle, Eskilstuna and Borlänge. Urbanization is very strong here as well, but research as such has tended to focus on big cities,” Stephan Barthel points out.
Ylva Fältholm, vice-chancellor at the University of Gävle, would like to see a change: cities in the future must develop without harming the environment.
“For me, it is a great reward that we will now be able to provide new knowledge and inspiration in building the city of the future,” Ylva Fältholm says.
With the efforts of the business community, the corporate research school comprises just over SEK 50 million.