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About Urban Studio

Urban Studio is one of the research programmes within Sustainable Urban Development, which is one of the university’s strategic research areas. The program is interdisciplinary and brings together several of the university's research subjects.

Urban Studio also strives to collaborate with actors outside the academe to directly make a positive contribution to sustainable urban development.

Urban Studio aims to contribute to a more sustainable urban development that also promotes people’s well-being. It involves developing cities with both the environment and people in mind, and that the planetary boundaries are not crossed.

A research environment to stimulate multi-disciplinary urban research

The research in Urban Studio is mainly funded by the University of Gävle, as well as through external research grants. The programme aims for research that involves knowledge from different disciplines. This is done by integrating theoretical perspectives and practical methods from the university's various research subjects, such as sustainability science, spatial planning, geography, environmental psychology, and natural resource management.

Research aims

Urban Studio develops new research frontiers with the vision to contribute to three interconnected goals: 1) ensuring people’s health and well-being; 2) limited environmental impacts of cities; and 3) resilient urban systems. These goals are built upon the context of: continued urbanisation in Sweden and the world at large; the increasingly serious situation of the global climate crisis that requires immediate reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the adaptability to the consequences of climate change; increased societal gaps; and, digitalisation that can lead to sustainable innovations and integrated solutions.

The basis of the research is the interplay between the built and natural environments and the human behaviour in cities. Urban Studio draws inspiration from the theory of social-ecological systems that describe how ecosystems and societies are deeply intertwined, and how the society’s well-being cannot exist without viable ecosystems. The theory highlights the importance of ecosystem services and of building social-ecological resilience, which has a direct connection to the programme's first and third goals.

This can further be integrated with the theory on socio-spatial systems that describes how spatial structures in cities possess an inherent social logic that organises interpersonal interactions. This sheds light on how urban design relates to movement patterns, which can create conditions for exposure to places that promote health and well-being, as well as sustainable habits that have direct implications to the programme's first and second goals. It also includes an aspect of social justice, as social segregation is linked to spatial segregation. Therefore, by integrating these two theories, the research aims to provide a holistic view of spatial conditions that can contribute to sustainable urban development.

Strategic research area

Urban Studio is one of the three research programmes within Sustainable Urban Development

Published by: Catarina Carlsson Page responsible: Gunilla Mårtensson Updated: 2022-06-16
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