NMBU Sustainability Arena: TOWARDS sustainable cities and communities

NMBU Sustainability Arena: TOWARDS sustainable cities and communities

Västre Hamnen, Malmö, Sweden

'Towards sustainable cities and communities (TOWARDS)' explores local transformations in the face of global challenges.



Part of NMBU's Sustainability Arenas 2021- 2024

Click here for more information in Norwegian

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:

  • Piloting experiments with green technologies and nature based solutions in people’s lived environments
  • Examining equity and ethical dilemmas in best practices for promoting health, well-being and environmental qualities of local communities
  • Exploring new modes of policy and planning required to govern sustainability transformations

Through these experiments and analyses, we bring into dialogue the development contradictions and dilemmas inherent in sustainability transformations across disciplines. 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.

More about the project

Outputs include:

Master Theses Scholarship

TOWARDS announces six scholarships each year up to NOK 8 000 for students that are writing their MSc thesis about transformation towards sustainable local communities, relating to green technologies, social justice and health, or lived environments. The scholarship covers travel expenses, accommodation expenses, course and conference fees, publishing etc. The funds are distributed twice a year with application deadlines on March 1st and October 1st.

See more on nmbu.no. Queries should be sent to pauline.rutten@nmbu.no

Masterclass Lillestrøm

TOWARDS organizes an interdisciplinary master class in 2023 to gain greater insight into the breadth of sustainability challenges across disciplines. The masterclass explores transformation in Lillestrøm, covering master theses (individual or in group) that adress sustainability challenges in Lillestrøm within the themes green technologies, social justice and health and lived environments.  

For more information, contact ingrid.odegard@nmbu.no


TOWARDS functions as a think tank to open up space for deliberation between researcher, students, civil society and public or private sector. Seminars serve as a foundation to facilitate discussion across sectors and disciplins and allow for innovative thinking relating to local transformations.

Want to join a seminar? Check out our news and findings page or contact pauline.rutten@nmbu.no