Urban Sustainability

  • focus on widely understood ethics and political philosophy

The group researches sustainability-relevant impacts of the spatial development and planning of cities and urban regions (e.g. consequences in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity, soil for food production, health, social equity, livability).

Urban Sustainability

Focus of the group

The research group focuses on the following themes:

  • Influences of urban built environment on travel and transportation
  • Livability and the design of supportive human environments
  • Socio-spatial inequalities in contemporary cities
  • Driving forces, structures, power dynamics, discourses and actors influencing the kind of urban development taking place
  • The role of urban planning in fostering or hampering sustainability
  • Normative aspects of the concept of sustainable development (including environmental justice) and how these are articulated and given priority
  • Sustainability paradigms (e.g. eco-modernization vs. degrowth) and their implications for urban development and planning

Within these themes, the focus is on environmental, social as well as economic aspects of sustainable development and its implications for urban and regional planning.

Group activities

The group organizes 4 half-day seminars each semester, focusing on academic topics (as distinct from administrative issues), with internal or external presenters. Seminars are open for members of other research groups of the faculty as well.

Seminars 2020

13.02.2020: Hans Adam (NIVA), Synne Movik (BYREG), Espen Sjaastad (Noragric) “Climate Change, Transformation and the new Double Movement(s)”

05.05.2020: Ellen de Vibe ‘Housing development, sustainability and social welfare in the city of Oslo”

17.06.2020: Timothy Richardson (BYREG), Bricocoli Massino (Politecnico di Milano) “Urban research Agenda during-after COVID19”

16.09.2020: Katrine Soma (Wageningen University) “Food system value-chain adaptability - Linking aquaculture to urban food systems in Kibera”

14.10.2020: Beata Sirowy (BYREG) “Urban gardening and social inclusion in cities”

18.11.2020: Marius Grønning (BYREG) “Territorial innovation – a methodology for handling transitions through spatial planning”’

16.12.2020: TBD

Current research projects (externally funded)

ECASS-European Cities Against School Segregation. ERASMUS+ Strategic partnership- Horizon 2020. Project period: 2019-2022 http://www.ecass.eu/

sEEnergies - Quantification of synergies between Energy Efficiency first principle and renewable energy systems. EU Horizon 2020. Project period: 2019-2022

SURROUND - Sustainable urbanization requirements of small and medium sized urban settlements and their surroundings. Research Council of Norway, Miljøforsk program. Project period: 2018-2021.

SOSLOKAL - Social sustainability as a new driving force in local community development https://www.sunnekommuner.no/kunnskapslaboratoriet/sosial-baerekraft

WALKMORE - Making people walk more in small cities https://www.toi.no/walkmore/

App Cities: New Urban Technologies, Daily Travel, and Quality of Life https://www.nmbu.no/en/projects/node/4039

FOG - Field of goals: Co-production and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in regional and local planning. Research Council of Norway. Project period: 2020-2022

PhD projects

  • Densification and socio-spatial Justice - The case of Oslo. (Rebecca Cavicchia).
  • Housing standards under environmental constraints. (Silvia Mete).

Last publications (from 2019)


Czepkiewicz, M.; Heinonen, J.; Næss, P. & Stefansdóttir, H. (2020). Who travels more, and why? A mixed-method study of urban dwellers’ leisure travel. Travel Behaviour and Society, 19, pp. 67-81.

Cavicchia R., Cucca R. (2020) “Densification and school segregation. The case of Oslo” in Urban Planning, Volume 5, Issue 3, DOI: 10.17645/up.v5i3.

Cucca R., (2020) “Quality of urban environment and spatial segregation in Contemporary cities”, in Musterd S. (Ed.) Handbook of Urban Segregation , Chapter 11, Edward Elgar Publishing, 185-199 https://www.elgaronline.com/view /edcoll/9781788115599/9781788115599.00019.xml

Ihlebæk, C.; Næss, P. & Stefansdottir, H. (2020). Are compact cities a threat to public health? European Planning Studies. Published online June 2020 at https://doi.org/10.1080/09654313.2020.1775790

Mete, S., & Xue, J. (2020). Integrating environmental sustainability and social justice in housing development: two contrasting scenarios. Progress in Planning. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.progress.2020.100504

Mouratidis, K. (2020). Commute satisfaction, neighborhood satisfaction, and housing satisfaction as predictors of subjective well-being and indicators of urban livability. Travel Behaviour and Society, 21265-278https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tbs.2020.07.006

Mouratidis, K. (2020). Neighborhood characteristics, neighborhood satisfaction, and well-being: The links with neighborhood deprivation. Land Use Policy99, 104886. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2020.104886

Mouratidis, K. (2020). Book review: Gendering Smart Mobilities, Tanu Priya Uteng, Hilda Rømer Christensen, Lena Levin (Eds.), Routledge, London (2020). Journal of Transport Geography, 87, 102801. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2020.102801

Mouratidis, K., & Hassan, R. (2020). Contemporary versus traditional styles in architecture and public space: A virtual reality study with 360-degree videos. Cities, 97, 102499.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2019.102499

Næss, P.; Saglie, I.-L. & Richardson, T. (2020). Urban sustainability: is densification sufficient? European Planning Studies, 28(1), pp. 146-165, DOI 10.1080/09654313.2019.1604633.

Næss, P. (2020). Project appraisal methods: tools for optimizing or for informed political debate? Forthcoming in Mouter. N. (ed.) Appraisal methods. Series: Advances in transport policy and planning, Vol. 6. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Næss P. (2020) Sustainable development: A question of ‘modernization’ or ‘degrowth’?. In Hagen A. & Higdem U. (eds) Innovation in Public Planning, pp. 91-109. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-46136-2_6.

Næss, P. (2020). Sustainable mobility. Chapter 40 in Jensen, O. B.; Lassen, C.; Kaufmann, V.; Freudendahl-Pedersen, M. & Lange, I. S. G. (eds). Handbook of urban mobilities. London and New York: Routledge.

Tiitu, M.; Næss, P. & Ristimäki, M. (2020). The urban density in two Nordic capitals – comparing the development of Oslo and Helsinki metropolitan regions. Forthcoming in European Planning Studies.

Xue, J.; Næss, P.; Stefansdottir, H.; Steffansen, R. & Richardson, T. (2020). The hidden side of Norwegian cabin fairytale: Climate implications of multi-dwelling lifestyle. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, DOI: 10.1080/15022250.2020.1787862


Beretta I., Cucca R. (2019) (Eds)  “Ecological gentrification. A European Perspective” . In Sociologia Urbana e Rurale, n. 119, https://www.francoangeli.it/riviste/Sommario.aspx?IDRivista=54

Cao, J.; Næss, P. & Wolday, F. (2019). Examining the effects of the built environment on auto ownership in two Norwegian urban regions. Transportation Research Part D, 67, pp. 464-474.

Cucca R. (2019) “Taking contextual differences into account in green gentrification research. The case of Vienna”. In Sociologia Urbana e Rurale n. 119, 2019: 46-62

Kazepov Y., Cucca R.  (2019) with “European Cities”, in Orum A (Ed), The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Urban and Regional Studies , Wiley Blackwell Oxford UK,   https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/book/10.1002 / 9781118568446

Mouratidis, K.; Ettema, D. & Næss, P. (2019). Urban form, travel behavior, and travel satisfaction. Transportation Research Part A, 129, pp. 306-320. 

Mouratidis, K., Ettema, D., & Næss, P. (2019). Urban form, travel behavior, and travel satisfaction. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 129, 306-320 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tra.2019.09.002  

Mouratidis, K. (2019). Built environment and leisure satisfaction: The role of commute time, social interaction, and active travel. Journal of Transport Geography, 80, 102491.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2019.102491  

Mouratidis, K. (2019). The impact of urban tree cover on perceived safety. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 44, 126434.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2019.126434   

Mouratidis, K. (2019). Compact city, urban sprawl, and subjective well-being. Cities, 92,  261-272. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2019.04.013

Næss, P. & Saglie, I.-L. (2019). Ecological modernisation: Achievements and limitations of densification. In Davoudi, C.; Blanco, H.; Cowell, R. & Wite, I. (eds). The Routledge Companion to Environmental Planning and Sustainability, pp. 63-72. London: Routledge.

Næss, P.; Xue, J.; Stefansdottir, H.; Steffansen, R. & Richardson; T. (2019). Second home mobility, climate impacts and travel modes: Can sustainability obstacles be overcome? Journal of Transport Geography, 79, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2019.102468.

Næss, P. (2019). ‘Demi-regs’, probabilism and partly closed systems. Journal of Critical Realism, 18(5), pp. 475-486.

Næss, P. (2019). Meta-analyses of built environment effects on travel: No new platinum standard. Journal of Planning Education and Research, https://doi.org/10.1177/0739456X19856425.

Næss, P.; Tønnesen, A. & Wolday, F. (2019). How and why does intra-metropolitan workplace location affect car commuting? Sustainability, 11, 1196; doi:10.3390/su11041196.

Næss, P.; Strand, A.; Wolday, F. & Stefansdottir, H. (2019). Residential location, commuting and non-work travel in two urban areas of different size and with different center structures. Progress in Planning, 128, pp. 1-36.

Stefansdottir, H.; Næss, P. & Ihlebæk, C. (2019). Built environment, non-motorized travel and overall physical activity. Travel Behaviour and Society, 16, pp. 201-213.

Wolday, F.; Næss, P. & Tønnesen, A. (2019). Workplace location, polycentricism and car commuting. Journal of Transport and Land Use, 12(1), pp. 785-810.

Wolday, F.; Næss, P. & Cao, J. (2019). Travel-based residential self-selection: A qualitatively improved understanding from Norway. Cities, 87, pp. 87-102.

Published 20. September 2017 - 14:35 - Updated 13. October 2020 - 13:54