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.