The long-term goal of this work is to establish a structure for a continuous dialogue between the three metropolitan municipalities about matters concerning the city as a knowledge actor. This dialogue can then form the basis for different contacts with other key social actors, such as authorities, research financiers and academics. This in order to meet the challenges of the cities in a more knowledge-based way and to take care of opportunities in current social trends.
Based on the work and the dialogues conducted in 2016, the purpose of the Knowledge Agenda is to:
- Build a structure for ongoing dialogue between the three major cities about common research and knowledge needs and experience of research collaboration
- Support and strengthen the cities' dialogue with national and regional actors (government, research funding and government councils and collaborative programs such as colleges, universities and institutes).
- Strengthen the cities' own dialogue and understanding of research collaboration
- Facilitate joint analyzes and priorities between cities
The starting point for the continued work on the Knowledge Agenda is the municipalities core mission. It is crucial that the cities themselves feel ownership of this process and engage in the work. Mistra Urban Future's role is to lead and facilitate the process itself.
In 2015, Mistra Urban Futures, by the initiative of the Gothenburg innovation platform and in cooperation with municipal representatives from Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö, produced a common description of major societal trends that affect the cities that they need to relate to. Three strategies were also identified to meet the challenges posed by these overall trends.
Social changes affecting cities
The study included various municipal and regional planning and strategy documents such as master plans, environmental strategies, documents about social sustainability, etc., in order to identify common challenges and similarities. Based on this study, four common societal trends were identified that affect the cities that they need to relate to. Several of these trends hold both challenges and opportunities:
- urbanization, migration and segregation
- economy's transformation
- social polarization and cohesion
- climate change
In order for the cities to meet the challenges posed by these societal trends, more knowledge and usefulness of existing research is needed that is relevant to the Swedish and municipal context. In the Knowledge Agenda, three strategic areas were defined:
- resource-efficient and robust urban construction, focusing on building and planning the city,
- the city's social and cultural resources, focusing on managing and promoting the social dimension
- governance management in collaboration, focusing on managing and developing the interface between the municipality and other actors.
The municipalities as knowledge actors The Knowledge Agenda also addressed issues surrounding cities and municipalities as knowledge actors. A need for more research on issues related to sustainable urban development from the urban perspective was identified, and also pointed to the need for more collaborative research projects that are more practically applicable. It was found that the interaction between research and internship needs to be developed to improve urban development research and achieve both scientific excellence and social relevance.
Results from Knowledge Agenda was presented during seminars in preparation for the research bill Kunskap i samverkan – för samhällets utmaningar och stärkt konkurrenskraft, and during Almedalsveckan 2016. There was a great interest in the work carried out which also could be seen in the call Urbana utmaningar 2016 from Formas. Another example of the results of the Knowledge Agenda on collaboragtive discussions is the project När kommunen sätter forskningsagendan, which aims to develop, test and evaluate procedures for better cooperation between researchers and public officials about sustainable building in the public sector.
Erica Eneqvist works as a Project manager at Systems Analysis at the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden. She works with urban development, governance and environmental issues.Contact me
Elma Durakovic is a platform coordinator at the Gothenburg Local Interaction Platform (GOLIP).