Protecting and preserving tangible and intangible cultural heritage could be a critical and valuable work for developing sustainable livelihoods and to support community empowerment in the Lake Victoria region. Such interventions are also expected to improve equality and support minority groups, writes Stephen G Agong', vice chancellor of JOOUST and director of the KLIP Trust.

Culture has increasingly been recognised in the global urban agendas –the Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda, Agenda 2063 and Agenda 21 – arguing for culture to be seen as the fourth pillar of sustainability. Cultural policies through instruments such as UNESCO Conventions have resulted in growing insights of the importance of culture, and since Habitat III, this has increasingly focused on the urban contexts.

There are, of course, many reasons why informal settlements should be upgraded, but the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the urgency of upgrading informal settlements so as to reduce the risk of infectious disease in these high-risk areas, Warren Smit writes about the situation in the districts of Khayelitsha and Klipfontein in Cape Town.

Page type

Marcus Jahnke new Platform Leader of Centre for Sustainable Urban Futures 

Marcus Jahnke has degrees in both design and engineering. He is very interested in power structures, and has studied norm critique and how hierarchies affect the city. With Jahnke’s broad knowledge and work experience his goal is to become an inclusive platform leader that makes “things happen”.

Palmer, H., Polk, M., Simon, D., & Hansson, S. (2020). Evaluative and enabling infrastructures: supporting the ability of urban co-production processes to contribute to societal change. Urban Transformations, 2(1). doi:10.1186/s42854-020-00010-0

Publication type
Scientific article (peer-reviewed)
Urban Transformations
Henrietta Palmer Merritt Polk David Simon Stina Hansson
Published year



As widely attested in the literature, the evaluation of co-production is complex and unsuited to the use of conventional quality, monitoring and evaluation indicators. This reflects the uncertainties, co-contributory factors and time lags involved, particularly when seeking to assess institutional and wider societal effects of multistakeholder participatory processes and deliberative fora. The most widely assessed effects include the immediate outputs and outcomes of a project or activity (socalled first order effects) while wider societal or third order effects continue to be the most difficult to capture and, consequently, are the least well studied. Because of this difficulty, the intermediate, second order effects of organisational transformation and policy implementation constitute a growing challenge for evaluation. This is our focus here. After 10 years of transdisciplinary co-productive research practice, Mistra Urban Futures, as an interstitial research space bridging academia and practice working through city-based institutional partnerships called platforms, has reached a phase where some of these effects are becoming distinguishable. Accordingly, we discuss the prerequisites for co-production practitioners, including policy makers, to engage their respective organisations in transitional and incremental experimentation in order to achieve relevant institutional changes. This requires enabling infrastructures that support training, facilitation and the creation of ‘safe’ spaces to promote trust and legitimacy. These are needed to underpin the longlasting personal and organisational commitments which are crucial to achieve transformative organisational effects.

Dymitrow, M. and Ingelhag, K. (eds.) (2019). Anatomy of a 21st-century sustainability project: The untold stories. Gothenburg: Mistra Urban Futures, Chalmers University of Technology.

Publication type
Research Forum Urban Rural Gothenburg
Mirek Dymitrow (editor) Karin Ingelhag (editor)
Published year



What does a sustainability project look like in the 21st century? Not the glossy version, but the
naked truth? Tired of manicured, over-theorised accounts of the ‘musts’ and ‘shoulds’ of
sustainability transitions, we got to the bottom of things; actually, to the very bottom of the
project hierarchy: the individual. Our point of departure is that projects are nothing but
temporarily interconnected people. This means that if we don’t know what people do and what
they think about their work, we will never be able to create a deeper understanding of the
project, its rationale and future impact. Making use of the autoethnographic method, this book
provides critical insights into what it’s like being part of a 21st-century project. Building on
unfiltered first-hand contributions from 73 authors representing the five organs of a project’s
anatomy – the brain (theoreticians), the skeleton (leaders), the limbs (strategists), the heart
(local stakeholders) and the lungs (researchers) – the book covers all the important aspects of
contemporary project-making: (1) projectification as a societal phenomenon; (2) sustainability
as the main project buzzword; (3) transdisciplinarity as a hot working method; (4) economy as
the invisible project propeller; (5) space as the contextual project qualifier; (6) gender and
integration as the obstinate orphans of project-making; (7) trends as the villains of thoughtless
project mimicry; (8) politics as the “necessary evil” of projects; and (9) knowledge production
as the cornerstone of all project work. The book ends with an extensive critical analysis of what
makes a project tick and how to avoid project failure. We infer that talking about project
outcomes and impacts is just that… talking. What makes a difference is what can be done to
the project in itself. Three important virtues – the ABC of project-making – emanate from this
book’s 40 chapters: building good relationships (Affinity), having the guts to make a change
(Bravery), and showing willingness to learn (Curiosity). These are the basis for the successful
execution of future sustainability projects, where complexity, unpredictability and desperation
will become a staple force to recon with. The original contribution of this book is to shed light
on the silent triumphs and hidden pathologies of everyday project-making in an effort to elevate
individual knowledge to a level of authority for solving the wicked – yet project-infused –
problems of our time.

Ranhagen, U. (2020) Co-Creation in Urban Station Communities. Mistra Urban Futures Report 2020:5

Publication type
Report/Paper/Working paper/Brief
Urban station communities
Ulf Ranhagen
Published year
Urban planning



Summary of three lectures with a presentation of findings from the Urban Station Communities project 2017-2019.