Politically significant work and results

Anneli Hulthén, Mayor and Chair of the Executive Committee of the City of Gothenburg

One of the main reasons for the City of Gothenburg – and other Gothenburg Consortium members – to take an active part in the founding of Mistra Urban Futures was based in the need for more, better and practically useful knowledge regarding sustainable urban development.

The City of Gothenburg played an important role in the establishment of Mistra Urban Futures; as a key partner in the Gothenburg Consortium, the city is still highly engaged in the research and other activities of the Centre. Anneli Hulthén, Mayor and Chair of the Executive Committee of the City of Gothenburg, has followed the development from the very beginning.

Q: From a political point of view, what is the significance of Mistra Urban Futures in the context of sustainable urban development?

A: Mistra Urban Futures is a hub for knowledge; as such it makes it easier for us as politicians to add sustainable urban development to the political agenda. It also enables a crucial knowledge transfer to many different actors in the city. This is necessary; sustainable development can’t be successful with only one partner.

Q: Do you see any specific benefits from employees of the city working with researchers to ascertain sustainable urban development challenges, which concern a large field of issues, like accessibility, social equality and smart cities?

A: The advantages are obvious. I think the most important one is the exchange, with employees of the city working close to the research, and researchers working close to the city. When research actually meets reality and the context and people that are using the knowledge, I think we will see more sustainable results.

Q: At the halfway point of the project, what would you emphasise as most important and desirable to focus on for the future?

A: The social sustainability, the issues that Mistra Urban Futures highlights: equality, housing segregation, democracy and dialogue, not least with the young citizens. That does not mean that we can let the ecological dimension go; future transportation solutions are an important part. Not everyone can live and work in the same places, and we will have to continue to move and store goods without depleting our resources or destroying our cities. That, and the necessary change to an environmental-friendly lifestyle and planning for future climate changes in the urban development are our most important issues.

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