Making a Difference: Universities as Living Labs and Agents of Change


Mistra Urban Futures welcomes you to the first in a series of annual lectures on sustainable urban development.
21 September, we are happy to present Prof. John Robinson from Munk School of Global Studies and the School of the Environment at University of Toronto, at Mistra Urban Futures in Gothenburg. Prof. Robinson is an internationally acclaimed scholar and an expert on collaborative research and practice focusing on issues regarding environmental sustainability.

Come and listen to Prof. Robinson share his experiences of sustainable urban development and his vision of what role universities might come to play in the future.

It used to be enough for universities to do research and educate students. Increasingly, however, we are being asked to engage tangibly and actively with the problems faced by the societies which fund us. I will explore the challenges and opportunities facing universities attempting to respond to this demand with regard to sustainability. Based on an agenda which moves beyond harm reduction to what we call regenerative sustainability (human activity that improves both human and environmental wellbeing), and using the University of British Columbia as an example, I will outline an agenda for transforming the campus into a living laboratory of sustainability, where faculty, staff and students, along with private, public and NGO sector partners, use the university’s physical plant, as well education and research capabilities, to test, study, teach, apply and share lessons learned, technologies created and policies developed. 

Prof. John B. Robinson

John Robinson is a Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs, and the School of the Environment, at the University of Toronto; an Honorary Professor with the Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability at The University of British Columbia; and an Adjunct Professor with the Copenhagen Business School, where he is leading the sustainability component of their campus redevelopment process.

Prof. Robinson’s research focuses on the intersection of climate change mitigation, adaptation and sustainability; the use of visualization, modeling, and citizen engagement to explore sustainable futures; sustainable buildings and urban design; creating partnerships for sustainability with non-academic partners; and, generally, the intersection of sustainability, social and technological change, behaviour change, and community engagement processes.

In 2012 Dr. Robinson received the Metro Vancouver Architecture Canada Architecture Advocacy Award and was named Environmental Scientist of the Year by Canadian Geographic magazine. In 2011, he received the Canada Green Building Council Education Leadership Award, and in 2010 he was given BC Hydro’s Larry Bell Award for advancing energy conservation in British Columbia. He was a Fellow of the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation from 2008-11, and, as a Lead Author, he contributed to the 1995, 2001 and 2007 reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 with Al Gore.

When and where

Date: September 21st, 2016 
Time: 16.30–17.30 
Venue: Chalmers, Chalmersplatsen 1, RunAn, Gothenburg, Sweden

The annual lecture is free and no registration is required


If you have any questions regarding the Annual Lecture, please contact our Event manager Ulrica Gustafsson at ulrica.gustafsson@chalmers.se, +46 (0)31-772 49 39.

Photo: By CjayD [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons