'Towards sustainable cities and communities (TOWARDS)' explores local transformations in the face of global challenges.
Part of NMBU's Sustainability Arenas 2021- 2024.
TOWARDS supports the transformation of cities and communities towards socially just and sustainable futures. Complex global challenges like climate change, COVID-19 and rapid urbanisation bring into stark relief the deeper health and well-being dimensions of sustainable development, including social belonging, everyday interactions, and the environmental quality of local surroundings.
However, rising polarization, crises of legitimacy and social inequalities highlight the ethical and equity dilemmas inherent in any practical solutions aimed at sustainability transformations.
TOWARDS fosters interdisciplinary co-learning regarding transformations towards sustainable development in cities and settlements, through:
Through these experiments and analyses, we bring into dialogue the development contradictions and dilemmas inherent in sustainability transformations. Innovating to support local transformations also requires transforming how we conduct research and teach, including a closer integration between research, education and public engagement. For this purpose, TOWARDS serves as a thinktank that opens up space for deliberation between researchers, students, civil society and public and private sectors actors. Activities are empirically grounded in 5 illustrative cases provided by existing research and education projects. These develop interdisciplinary research questions in the interface between locally lived experiences and global complex challenges. Experimentation with blue-green infrastructure (redesign and management of outdoor areas) is carried out by the Landscape Lab at the NMBU campus site and extended to a site in Viken fylkeskommune; in addition, comparative and global perspectives are provided by an arctic site (Nikel, Russia), an Asia site (Kathmandu, Nepal), and an Africa site (Kitui, Kenya). Field visits and meetings centered on the illustrative cases form a knowledge base and dialog platform for innovating interdisciplinary research and education.
Research Institutes in Norway Oslo Met University, Urban climate governance group (Hofstad, Millstein), expertise in local climate governance, civil society engagement, and health inequalities.
Research Institutes abroad Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford (Schipper), expertise in climate change adaptation and development interventions, societal transformation towards climate resilient development, science-policy engagement. Institute of Sustainability Governance, Germany (Heinrichs), professor in sustainability and politics, expertise in urban sustainability transitions in Europe, engaged in science-policy partnerships in promoting artful and sensory-informed policymaking to support municipal sustainable development in Lower-Saxony. STEPS Centre, University of Sussex (Smith), expertise in critical analysis of environmental policy processes, and research into relationships between technology, society and sustainable developmentGovernment actors Lillestrøm municipality (Berit Irmgard Hessel, Seniorarchitec, Byplan, byutviklingsavdelingen) Viken Fylkeskommune Private sector Snøhetta (Tor Olav Mørseth, Managing Director and Thea Kvamme Hartmann, landscape architect) Boasson landscaper (Sigurd Lerum Boasson, CEO) cCHANGE Oslo (Linda Sygna, co-founder with Karen O’Brien), collaborates with government, research, education, corporate, and civil society organisations to carry out practical actions to support sustainability transformations Civil society organizations FAGUS, network organization for the landscape sector (Mari Myhrene, CEO) Handikapforbundets ungdomsorganisasjon (Nikita Abbas) Save the Children Fund (Marius Rohdin Karlsen, Senior Advisor, inclusion of persons with disabilities)
Funded as part of NMBUs sustainability arenas
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