Speakers & Facilitators

Hans Abrahamsson Global Studies

Hans Abrahamsson is Associate Professor of Peace and
Development Studies at the School of Global Studies, University of
Gothenburg and former Guest Professor in Global Political Studies at
Malmö University. His research interests include the global political
economy and its implication for local social sustainability. At present
he is co-leader of a transdisciplinary research project on fair and
socially sustainable cities (KAIROS) within the framework of Mistra
Urban Futures.

Stephen G Agong

Prof. Stephen G Agong is Director of Kisumu Local Interaction
Platform (klip) and Vice-Chancellor, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga
University of Science and Technology (jooust), Kisumu. Stephen
is a horticulturalist and leader with over thirty years of university
teaching, research and community outreach. His wide experience in
sustainable urban development, management and leadership arises
from his chairmanship of Kisumu Action Team (kat) that evolved into
klip. He has initiated and supervised projects at community level
towards socio-economic development and livelihood improvement.
He has long experience in research and policy with exposure to
national, regional and international research programmes.

Mark Atherton Mistra Urban Futures

Mark Atherton. Mark joined the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities in May 2012 as Director of Environment for Greater Manchester.  In this role, Mark provides strategic support to the Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub by leading the development and delivery of strategies, policies, research and demonstration projects for environment and low carbon work areas. Current projects include the initiation of a `world first’ smart demonstration project on aggregation of heat using Air Source Heat Pumps, domestic energy efficiency programmes, community energy, natural capital and climate change adaptation plus developing joint work programmes between Greater Manchester and several government departments.


Mark Burton Mistra Urban Futures

Mark Burton I am an Independent Scholar Activist, and part of the collective Steady State Manchester http://bit.ly/2cLd73F . After a career as a psychologist and manager in large yet innovative public health and social care services, I have concentrated on the relationships between economy, environment and social justice in the context of our city region.  I have publications in a number of fields with a focus on social justice and inclusion, along with associated practical and critical conceptual frameworks.


Liza Cirolia Mistra Urban Futures

Liza Cirolia University of Cape Town, African Centre for Cities. Liza Rose Cirolia is an urban planner and housing practitioner. Over the past ten years, Liza has worked with various academic institutions and NGOs in the Bay Area, Rio de Janeiro, Nairobi, and Cape Town. The majority of her work has focused on youth activism, the performing arts, and, more recently, urban land and housing challenges. Liza’s current work primarily focuses on housing and planning in South African cities. Her research covers issues of densification, urban policy, housing finance, and upgrading informal settlements.

Mikael Cullberg

Mikael Cullberg is Director of Gothenburg Local Interaction
Platform (GOLIP) at Mistra Urban Futures, Chalmers University of
Technology. He is an economist and linguist (English and French) with a civil service background. This includes a post as Senior Adviser to the Governor of Västra Götaland and before that, the Ministries of Agriculture, Finance and Environment and at the Prime Minister’s Office. Mikael has worked within the EU policy process, with international development cooperation, with Civil Service reform, as an international and protocol officer, and with investigatory work.

Jakub Dvořák is a master student at Chalmers University of Technology, in final year of Design for Sustainable Development programme. He has a background in Architecture and Urbanism from Czech Technical University in Prague. To add more knowledge areas related to his background, Jakub has been focusing on urban design and participation during his master studies. He developed interest in systems, processes and its management. At Chalmers, Jakub has done design projects under tutors from Compact Cities research group and Spatial Morphology research group (SmoG).

Margareta Forsberg Realising Just Cities

Margareta Forsberg City of Gothenburg

Magnus Johansson Mistra Urban Futures

Magnus Johansson is Director of the Skåne Local Interaction Platform (SKLIP). He has a PhD in pedagogy and currently works as Assistant Professor in Environmental Science at the Department of Urban Studies, Malmö University. He is involved in severalcollaborative projects with stakeholders outside the university. His research centres on collaborative planning, collaborative management of urban commons and collaborative learning processes in urban development. He has worked as an on-going evaluator of urban developmental projects in Malmö and the Gothenburg region

Lars Lilled Mistra Urban Futures

Lars Lilled is Senior Adviser to the City of Gothenburg and Mistra Urban Futures.

Carina Listerborn Mistra Urban Futures

Prof. Carina Listerborn is at Malmö University, Urban Planning and Design.Ph.d.and professor in urban planning and design; urban and gender researcher. Carina’s research focuses on urban questions of gender, planning and theory. She finished her Ph.D (“Safe City. Discourses on Women’s Fear in Research, Policy Development and Local Practice, in Urban Planning and Design”) in 2002 at Chalmers University, Gothenburg. Her research concerns space, place, power, urban development and housing issues.

Prof. Dominic Makawiti is at the Kenya Academy of Sciences.

Tim May Mistra Urban Futures

Prof. Tim May, University of Sheffield Methods Institute, International Methodological Advisor, Mistra Urban Futures, Sheffield-Manchester. Tim is a professor of sociology and his interests centre upon the relationship between knowledge, context and practice. His research examines knowledge generation and reception, policy formulation, implementation, organizational actions and outcomes at different scales. The roles of management, culture, communication and coordination, all feature in his work, along with concerns over the future of the university as a distinctive site of knowledge production and urban knowledge arenas in achieving transformation.

George Onyango Mistra Urban Futures

Prof. George Mark Onyango, Maseno University. George is an urban and regional planner with years of experience in facilitating community participation in urban and rural development. He has worked across Africa in facilitating developmental research interventions and building institutional capacities in several fields as: strategic planning and management, institutional development, performance management, monitoring and evaluation, spatial planning and development and urban policy.


Lydia Muthoni Orlale is the City Manager of Kisumu.

Henrietta Palmer Mistra Urban Futures

Dr. Henrietta Palmer is Deputy Scientific Director at Mistra Urban Futures, Gothenburg. She is an architect and Professor of Urban Design at Chalmers University of Technology. The basis of her work is from architectural practice in Sweden and Spain working with architectural and urban projects of all scales. From 2005 to 2015 she was Professor of Architecture at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, where she initiated and developed the post-master’s programme, Resources, as a unique interdisciplinary research space on the challenges of our urban futures, with a particular focus on the cities of the Global South and their spatial becoming. Her current research focuses on urban transformation processes, migration and the visual language of change.

Zarina Patel UCT

Dr. Zarina Patel, University of Cape Town. The political dimensions of policy and governance arrangements in pursuit of urban sustainable development has been a key focus of Zarina’s research. Her publications have contributed to debates on the role of institutions, governance and decision-making and the implications this holds for achieving environmental justice. Central to her research is the uncovering of ways in which power is exercised through the use of specific and multiple knowledges and the range of value-based assumptions held by decision makers. 

Beth Perry Mistra Urban Futures

Prof. Beth Perry University of Sheffield Urban Institute, Director, Mistra Urban Futures, Sheffield-Manchester. Beth is an interdisciplinary urbanist, whose current research focuses on critically interrogating and developing pathways to more just sustainable urban futures, with an emphasis on urban governance, urban knowledge and the roles of universities. She leads a number of research projects funded by the UK Research Council, such as Cultural Intermediation in the Creative Urban Economy and Cultural Heritage. Beth is the Director of the Urban Processes, Resilient Infrastructures and Sustainable Environments research centre.

Merritt Polk Mistra Urban Futures

Merritt Polk is currently Head of Department at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg. Her research areas include gender, sustainable transport, sustainable urban development and transdisciplinary methods for researcher-practitioner collaboration. Since the 1990s Merritt has worked extensively with practitioners in the field of gender mainstreaming and sustainable transport. She has also done research on sustainable urban planning with a focus on multilevel stakeholder processes and the framing and implementation of sustainable development. Her most recent research is on transdisciplinarity methods for sustainable urban development based at Mistra Urban Futures, where she has focused on developing and testing methods for co-producing knowledge.

Claus Rabe Mistra Urban Futures

Claus Rabe is the principal planner for the City of Cape Town and programme leader of the City’s flagship ECAMP initiative, a MISTRA-supported collaboration between the City, State, Academia and the Private Sector. Claus has consulted to many public sector agencies and an international development agency throughout South Africa and abroad. As an Ernest Oppenheimer scholar, Claus received a distinction by the Berlin Institute of Technology for his work on violence prevention in South Africa and in 2014 was awarded the SAPI National Award for outstanding contribution to planning in the public sector.  He is currently leading a team of engineers and data scientists in the development of a spatially intelligent medium-term infrastructure costing tool. Claus regularly lectures to post-graduates and professionals on urban economics and innovation in government.

Tapio Salonen MIstra Urban Futures

Tapio Salonenis Professor in Social Work and Dean at Faculty of Health and Society, Malmö University. His main research interests include poverty, marginality, participatory strategies and social policy. He has lead a number of externally funded research projects at both national and international level and has recurrently been appointed as expert in public inquiries, commissions and government committees.

Johanna Selin

Johanna Selin Master Student at the University of Gothenburg


Maria Sigroth head of planning department at GR, The Gothenburg Region Association of Local Authorities.

Alda Sigurdardottir Mistra Urban Futures

Alda Sigurdardottir is the founder and owner of Vendum, established in January 2011 in Iceland. She has worked with over 80 companies and institutions and her clients come from large corporations, small businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies. Her expertise is twofold 1) Executive and leadership coaching 2) 15 years? experience of facilitating meetings, workshops, visioning forums and conferences.  Before founding Vendum she worked as an Executive assistant to the President (rector) of Reykjavik University. Her teaching experience is for example part time teaching Industrial relations at University of Iceland and teaching management and leadership at University of Reykjavík.  Today she has clients in 8 different countries. 

David Simon Mistra Urban Futures

Prof David Simon is Director of Mistra Urban Futures and Guest Professor, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg and Professor of Development Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London. He is an interdisciplinary social scientist with abiding interests in and numerous publications on the intersections of theory, policy and practice in urbanisation and urbanism, development studies and sustainability. For the last decade his research has focused mainly on urban climate change challenges and urban greening strategies, especially in Africa, and on the dynamics of peri-urban areas and urban regions in theory and practice. His research experience spans many parts of Africa, Asia and Europe. He is editor of and a contributor to Mistra Urban Futures' flagship book, Rethinking Sustainable Cities, published in autumn 2016.

Rike Sitas Mistra Urban Futures

Dr. Rike Sitas, Research Fellow, University of Cape Town. Straddling the academic world of urban studies and creative practice, Rike is fascinated by the intersection of culture and cities, and more specifically on the role of art in urban life. Her research explores the idea of an affective urbanism by looking at the role public-facing art can play in producing knowledge about the city. Linked to this is exploring the impact of the creative economy and cultural policy. A large part of this focus means unpacking the notions of public space and public life in Southern cityness.

Warren Smit Mistra Urban Futures

Warren Smit, Ph.D., University of Cape Town Warren Smit is the Director of the Cape Town Local Intaraction Platform. His research interests revolve around urban planning and urban management in cities of the global South; urban policy discourses, such as how ideas emerge, are adopted and adapted, and used to construct problems and solutions, and then turned into policies and practices. An important strand is how to create policy-relevant knowledge around understanding and achieving more equitable cities and urban governance – how decisions are made, and the relation of this to institutional structures and policies.

Ena Sredanovic Reaslising Just Cities

Ena Sredanovic is an architect, recently graduated in Architecture and Urban Design at Chalmers University of Technology. Realizing the big role architecture carries in environmental and social changes occurring in the world she is particularly interested in addressing social sustainability aspects with her design. Her Master Thesis explored ways architecture influences on social integration and contributes in making people feeling safe and welcome in a foreign setting. The aim was to discover strategies to promote social interaction and in that way ease the establishment of the newly arrived refugees into the Swedish context. Ena is currently working at Chalmers Architecture as a project assistant and is involved in Reality Studio.

Nazem Tahvilzadeh

Nazem Tahvilzadeh

Alex Whinnom