Urban Research 

Wicked problems or wicked solutions? Sustainability–differently

Obtaining functional and inclusive societal organization is not a simple matter of ‘doing it’ by subscribing to winning formulae as there are many choices to be made in the process. Given that conceptual frameworks always guide thoughts, judgments and actions, how we relate to ‘sustainability’ specifically becomes relevant if we aim to achieve a more liveable society. It is increasingly appreciated how all societies contain ‘wicked problems’ or socio-cultural challenges that are multidimensional, hard to pin down and consequently extremely challenging to solve. This seminar engages with the consequent need to recognise this complexity by assembling three ‘brave’ takes on far-advanced problems bedevilling conventionally conceptualised paths towards sustainability. Arguing against oversimplification that comes from domination of polarizing concepts and unquestioned practices and rhetorics, the aim of this seminar is to foster explorations into new territories from which we may learn. This involves thinking differently, even if such thinking must sometimes both provoke and cauterise dissent, and revisit divergent ideological standpoints in order not to dismiss out-of-hand ways towards supposedly common goals.

Target groups: both planning practicians at the municipal and regional levels, and researchers with interest in the discussed issues.

Discussion topics: poverty and social exclusion, rural and urban sociology, social determinants of health and well-being, social sustainability, policy planning, research impact, quality of life, multisectorial collaboration, urban-rural dichotomy

When and where

Date: 18 September 2018
Time: 13.00–16.00 (with optional afterwork for those interested)
Venue: Veras Gräsmatta, Läraregatan 3, Gothenburg. Venue hosted By Entrepreneurship. By Chalmers.
Organized by: Mistra Urban Futures / Research Forum Urban Rural Gothenburg
Registration: register no later than 14 September. 

Keynote speakers


Jadwiga Beiganska

Jadwiga Biegańska 

Sociologist and geographer, PhD, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland





Rene Brauer

René Brauer 

Geographer and sociologist of science, PhD, University of Hull, United Kingdom





Dimitrinka Jordanova Pesevska

Dimitrinka Jordanova Peshevska 

Environmental psychologist, PhD, Professor at the American University College Skopje, Macedonia




Mirek Dymitrow

Mirek Dymitrow 

Human geographer, PhD, Mistra Urban Futures, Chalmers University of Technology and University of Gothenburg



For questions regarding the program please contact Mirek Dymitrow, mirek.dymitrow@chalmers.se
For practical questions please contact our event manager Ulrica Gustafsson, ulrica.gustafsson@chalmers.se, 0721-88 55 88.


13:00–13:05 – Margareta Forsberg, Gothenburg Platform Director of Mistra Urban Futures, Introduction to MUF, welcome speech
13:05–13:10 – Susan Runsten, Director of Development North-East, Business Region Göteborg, Introduction to Urban Rural Gothenburg
13:10–13:20 – Mirek Dymitrow, Research Coordinator, Mistra Urban Futures, Introduction to the topic, introducing the speakers
13:20–13.40 – Dimitrinka Jordanova Peshevska, American University College Skopje, Macedonia, Presentation: ”Can a focus on environment and health help mitigate urban development problems?”
13:40–14.00 – Jadwiga Biegańska, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland, Presentation: “Dysfunctionality vs. urban-rural solutions: Can it work?”
14:00–14.20 – René Brauer, University of Hull, United Kingdom, Presentation: “Understanding social conflict: How to avoid talking past each other”
14:20–14:40 – Coffee break
14:40–15:20 – Panel discussion – comparing cases
15:20–16:00 – Open discussion led by Mirek Dymitrow
From 16.00 – Optional afterwork at Wijkanders, Vera Sandbergs allé 5B 

Co-organiser: Karin Ingelhag, project leader and research co-ordinator, Urban Rural Gothenburg, Business Region Göteborg
Co-researcher: Shelley Kotze, Mistra Urban Futures

Research Forum Urban Rural Gothenburg is a part of Stadslandet Göteborg which is an EU project run by Business Region Göteborg in cooperation with the CIty of Gothenburg and Coompanion.

City of Gothenburg



  • ABSTRACT Can a focus on environment and health help mitigate urban development problems?
    Dimitrinka Jordanova Peshevska
  • ABSTRACT Dysfunctionality vs urban-rural solutions - Can it work?
    Jadwiga Bieganska 
  • ABSTRACT Understanding social conflict: How to avoid talking past each other
    René Brauer 
  • Jadwiga Bieganska - Presentation Dysfunctionality vs urban-rural solutions - Can it work?
  • René Brauer UK - Presentation - Understanding social conflict: How to avoid talking past each other

Veras Gräsmatta, Läraregatan 3, Gothenburg

Venue hosted By Entrepreneurship. By Chalmers.