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.

Bild som förklarar hur forskningsinriktningarna hänger ihop

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
  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.

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.

Strategic research area

The BIG Project

Syftet med projektet är att utveckla en ny digital metodik och innovativ kunskap för framtida stadslösningar som samtidigt främjar individuell, social och ekologisk hälsa.

More information about the BIG Project External link.


Urban Studio’s interdisciplinary research programmes collaborate with different actors both within and outside the university.

Research school Future-Proof Cities

Urban Studio works with the research school Future Proof Cities, which focuses on sustainable urban development and creates a public dialogue around the challenges that mid-sized Swedish cities face.

Urban Studio samarbetar med företagsforskarskolan Future-Proof cities som har fokus på hållbar stadsutveckling och bygger på en samhällsdialog om de utmaningar medelstora svenska städer står inför.

Smart sustainable cities and communities

Urban Studio collaborates with Region Gävleborg through the regional focus area Smart and sustainable cities and communities. It is one of the four areas that the Gävleborg Region has designated as promising for growth, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Below is the list of earlier and current collaborative partners

Director for Urban Studio

Nancy Joy Lim, profilbild

Nancy Joy Lim

Senior lecturer geospatial information science

Please contact Nancy Joy Lim if you have any questions about the research programme or read more about her research and see her publications in the researcher presentation.

Research Coordinator

Stephan Barthel, profilbild

Stephan Barthel

Docent in geospatial information science

Please contact Stephan Barthel if you have any questions about the research project or read more about his research and see his publications in the research presentation.

This page was last updated 2024-05-13