'The main purpose is to produce knowledge that is academically first-rate, practically effective and relevant to society. We will have practitioners and researchers work closely together,' says Merritt Polk, PhD in Human Ecology and developer of methods and processes for this collaboration.
The goal is to coordinate practical experience and research in order to achieve sustainable urban development. The purpose of sustainable urban development, in turn, is to benefit the environment and improve people's lives in cities around the world. Cooperation between practitioners and researchers is one of the main strengths of the consortium behind the centre.
Transfer of knowledge
Mistra Urban Futures is also the start of an international network with operations in Gothenburg, Manchester, Shanghai, Cape Town, and Kisumu in Kenya. The centre will serve as an arena for development and transfer of knowledge, and the plan is to develop cooperation with the business sector, interest organisations and the public.
The centre is funded by MISTRA and the members of a consortium consisting of Chalmers University of Technology, the University of Gothenburg, the City of Gothenburg, the Göteborg Region Association of Local Authorities (GR), the Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL), the County Administrative Board of Västra Götaland, and Region Västra Götaland. Funding is also provided by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), which enables the African Centre for Cities (ACC) in Cape Town to be part of the network.
The centre is to receive 15 million SEK in 2010-2011. Starting in 2012, the yearly budget will amount to 50 million SEK.
Five pilot projects starting in 2010:
- Multi-level governance for sustainable urban development
This project addresses how decision makers, citizens and organisations relate to each other, based on experiences gained in the work with GR's consultation process and shared vision for the public transport (K2020), the shared vision for Västra Götaland County called 'The good life', and S2020, which is the City of Gothenburg's assignment to promote socially sustainable development.
- Building for climate change
More exactly, this project deals with both how to build to minimise climate change and how to build to adapt to climate change. The study is concentrated to the central parts of Gothenburg with Kvillebäcken as a first study area. The City of Gothenburg, ILV and Älvstranden Utveckling, a city-owned company involved in city planning are three of the participants in the project.
- Urban empowerment
How can participation and learning be developed, especially in the northeastern parts of Gothenburg? This project is linked to the City of Gothenburg's 'Vision Angered' and S2020, as well as to the plans of the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology to open a branch in the Gothenburg suburb of Hammarkullen.
- Business-driven sustainable development
This project studies how businesses, researchers and authorities can work together to identify, assess and realise business ideas that may contribute to sustainable development. In the course of the project, Mistra Urban Futures will develop contacts with the business sector. The project involves the Västra Götaland network for social responsibility (CSR), among others.
- Urban games: mutual learning for sustainable development
This project focuses on the use of games and visualisation to understand the city as a complex system. The Centre of Visualization, City of Gothenburg and GRUL, which is GR's project on experience-based learning, are some of the participants in this project.