Mistra Urban Futures study visit, at IFHP Congress

On September 16-19, 2012 the City of Gothenburg hosted the 56th IFHP World Congress in Gothenburg, Sweden. Hundreds of delegates from around the world gathered and discussed the theme The Inclusive City in a Global World.

On the 17th and 18th of September Mistra Urban Futures arranged two study visits at the County Administrative Board of Västra Götaland. Samuel Okello, Mayor of Kisumu, Kenya urged everyone to be inclusive. Involve all stakeholders at grass root level for successful urban development. Associate professors Merritt Polk and Jaan-Henrik Kain talked about Mistra Urban Futures perspective on sustainable urban development and inclusive way of working. They stressed the fact that the center sees all urban actors as knowledge users, producers and bearers.

In conjunction with the study visit two papers was presented, one regarding Climate justice and the other focused on informal settlements in South Africa.

Lars Reuterswärd, Director Mistra Urban Futures and Ann-Louise Hohlfält, Director Mistra Urban Futures Gothenburg gave a brief introduction to Mistra Urban Futures and its stakeholders.

Jaan-Henrik Kain, Director of Mistra Urban Futures Urban Futures Arena, outlined that the centers challenge is to deal with urban complexity. There are both local and global perspectives to this, great uncertainties and risks, contradictory goals and sectors that do not understand each other but needs to work together. Mistra Urban Futures ambition is to contribute to meet this challenge and to create Fair, Green and Dense cities.

Merritt Polk, Director of Mistra Urban Futures Urban Futures Arena, talked about how the center is supposed to meet the challenge of urban complexity. Action is needed to create urban change. Inclusiveness is an important part of this, all stakeholders’ needs to be involved. The center is developing Modes and Tools to enable change.

Per Myrén, Tools development at Mistra Urban Futures talked about the pilot project Urban games.  Some of the games developed in the project is the Ipad game 2021 – Build your own Gothenburg and the visualization tool Urbania.

Samuel Okello, Mayor of Kisumu, Kenya gave his view on the importance of Mistra Urban Futures in Kisumu. The two projects launched in Kisumu, Eco Tourism and Market Places are demand driven and will be of great importance to the city.

Pia Borg, City of Gothenburg, said that strengthening capacity, better support for policy making and an international network of partners is some of the reasons why the City of Gothenburg is engaged in Mistra Urban Futures.

Tendayi Gondo, University of Venda, South Africa presented his paper regarding Informal settlements in Polokwane, South Africa.

Jaclyn Kohon, Portland State University, presented her paper regarding climate justice.