To explore and visualize how cities are transitioning

Bild på solenergi. Picture shows energy

Around the globe, local governments and municipal administrations are shouldering the challenges presented by climate change. This project explores different types of transformation and makes them more visible. As a source of inspiration, it will present good examples and best practices from cities that are forerunners in the urban transition

Contemporary cities needs to transform in a more climate-proof, low-carbon and sustainable direction. The transition process encompasses issues from storm water management to buildings and public transport. A myriad of activities are taking place in cities in Sweden and the world. In Swedish cities, the significance of climate change is growing and they are increasingly working to mitigate and adapt their cities to climate change. However, the cities have shouldered the climate challenge in different extents and in different ways. This project explores different types of transformation and makes them more visible. As a source of inspiration, it will present good examples and best practices from cities that are forerunners in the urban transition. Different modes of leadership and command and control measures will be identified. Based on these and other characteristics of the cities’ activities and approach to climate change, different types of climate transition will be distinguished, each with its respective strengths and weaknesses.


The project is run in by researchers and municipal officers and politicians in collaboration. Urban planners, managers, politicians, citizens and property developers are engaged in different stages of our work. This is essential for developing an in-depth understanding of three bottlenecks currently facing Swedish cities: how climate transitions are lead and governed, enhancing public-private collaboration, and maintaining a dialogue between citizens and planners. The project work in organized in: experiments in the Norrköping Decision Arena, observing and supporting real planning and policy development processes in Swedish cities, as well as learning outlooks consisting of revisits to cities we have previously worked in and outlooks to cities in other parts of the world that are forerunners in the urban transition.

One expected outcome is a series of web-based tools and methods intended to inspire and facilitate the climate transition in cities and local governments that we have labelled the Urban Transition Showroom. The objective is to visualize cities’ climate transition and provide examples on alternative ways forward.

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Sub-project 1: Leading and governing urban transitions

Researchers: Mattias Hjerpe, Sofie Storbjörk, Erik Glaas. Contact: Mattias Hjerpe

There are many good examples on how cities govern climate change. This sub-project will collect and systematize the knowledge about these efforts, test and reflect upon different modes of leadership, such as visionary versus problem-solving or collaborative leadership, as well as different control measures, such as economic versus regulatory incentives. It will also examine how conditions for change evolve over time. Leadership is studied through a case study in Norrköping and tests in Norrköping Decision Arena focusing on the city’s work with guidelines for climate adaptation, storm water management and comprehensive planning. WE will also study leadership in other cities within and outside of Sweden.

Sub-project 2: Models for public-private collaboration

Researchers: Sofie Storbjörk, Mattias Hjerpe, Erik Glaas. Contact: Sofie Storbjörk

Climate transitions require collaboration between private and public actors, not the least within the construction / building sector. In this project, collaboration between property developers and urban planners in the Inner Harbour (Inre Hamnen) area are observed. Comparisons with other models of public-private collaboration will also be done. One key research question is in what way this collaboration can be enhances in order to promote more climate-efficient solutions.


Sub-project 3: Maintaining a dialogue between citizens and planners

Researchers: Erik Glaas, Tina Neset. Contact: Erik Glaas

In the urban planning process, citizens have a right to be informed about and to submit proposals regarding new development plans. We neither know in what way citizens’ suggestions most efficiently are taken care nor how to provide feedback to citizens. In this project, methods for maintaining an effective dialogue between citizens, planners and politician are developed and tested based on an interactive planning platform already in operation. The objective is to be able to utilize the citizens’ comments and visions about an attractive, well-working, sustainable and livable city in the urban planning process.

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