Collaboration on sustainable urban development in Mistra Urban Futures
Annual Report from Göteborg Region Association of Local Authorities
Why is it important for municipalities to engage in a research and knowledge center such as Mistra Urban Futures? The latest annual report from the Göteborg Region Association of Local Authorities (GR) answers this question. GR is one of the center's consortium partners in Gothenburg and was also one of the organizations that initiated the Centre.
The report you can read about the new networks established during the year, the Research School, which held its first course for practitioners and doctoral students in the autumn of 2017, a range of projects that GR is active in and highlights from GR's own Mistra Urban Future network. Executive Director Helena Söderbäck introduces the report, which you can read below.
How we build knowledge about sustainable urban development
GR has a key role to play in building up knowledge for the future together with its member municipalities and partners. GR is one of several actors involved in Mistra UrbanFutures – an international research centre that aims to promote sustainable urban development through knowledge in collaboration with the academic sector and practitioners. The issue that we along with other parties have decided to focus on is how to jointly build fair cities. The centre will help to make a real difference to the environment and to peoples’ lives in the metropolitan area.
As of March 2017 there are now a million inhabitants in the Gothenburg region. We have grown by around 150,000 inhabitants since the year 2000, which is equivalent in size to the entire city of Linköping – Sweden’s fifth largest city. 2017 continued to be characterised by strong growth, thus providing both opportunities and challenges for our metropolitan area. Eight challenges were defined in GR’s multi-annual policy document “How we jointly develop the good life in the Gothenburg region”. It is important to adopt a long-term, targeted approach together with our municipalities to address these challenges. It covers:
• Good living conditions and future prospects for children and young people
• An inclusive region providing good living conditions throughout life
• Lifelong learning
• Accommodation and housing
• A functioning labour market
• A sustainable living environment
• The infrastructure for efficient and climate friendly travel
• Digital development and welfare technology
GR has taken the Gothenburg Region’s goals and strategies document “Sustainable growth” as a starting point for its work on developing social perspectives. This starting point is perfectly in line with what was set out at Mistra Urban Futures, where one of the most important challenges is: How can we achieve sustainable urban development so that we stay within the boundaries of what our planet can withstand? Accessible, green and fair cities are the key concepts that guide the centre’s efforts to highlight what constitutes sustainable urban development.
GR’s involvement in a research and knowledge centre that helps to develop and apply knowledge to promote sustainable urban development is of great value to our municipalities. The co-creation working mode in which researchers and practitioners from different disciplines work together on different projects is producing new and critical insights. The strategic plan for 2016-2019 describes the focus of Mistra Urban Futures as the co-creation of knowledge at local and global level to facilitate a transition to fairer, greener and more accessible cities and metropolitan areas.
This report has been published annually since 2011 to provide a status report on the sustainable urban development work undertaken by GR in Mistra Urban Futures. The report is based on the collaboration and knowledge building taking place in GR’s Mistra Urban Futures network – which involves all 13 member municipalities to a greater or lesser extent. It is also used to outline the projects GR has been involved in, and to report on what has happened in the course of the year.
The work being undertaken in GR municipalities within the framework of Mistra Urban Futures is urgently required and I am pleased to recommend the annual report outlining these activities to readers.
Executive Director of the Gothenburg Region Association of Local Authorities (GR)