Sustainable Urban Transformation

16 September 2011
Researchers at Lund University are keen to find U21 colleagues who would be interested in collaborating in the field of Sustainable Urban Transformation and contribute papers to a special issue of The Journal for Cleaner Production.

Researchers at Lund University are keen to find U21 colleagues who would be interested in collaborating in the field of Sustainable Urban Transformation.

As a first step, four researchers at Lund, Kes McCormick Lena Neij, Stefan Anderberg and Lars Coenen will be guest editors for a special edition of The Journal of Cleaner Production and are looking for papers to make up this journal.

Diverse processes of transformation, which lead to altered urban functions and new local needs and opportunities, constantly influence cities. Interpreting these different development processes and identifying and realising opportunities are growing challenges for urban governance and planning. There are exciting prospects for creating more sustainable and liveable urban environments because cities are focal points for creativity that provide possibilities for technological, organisational and social innovations. The importance of cities in achieving sustainable development wasestablished as an international movement after the Earth Summit in 1992. Today, towns and cities, all over the world, are engaged in projects and activities to move towards sustainable development.

There is also a range of international organisations and programmes dedicated to promoting sustainable cities and communities. In spite of increased awareness and ambitions, there are few powerful initiatives that decisively shift urban development in a sustainable direction. A complex array of reasons are responsible for this situation, including: a lack of urgency of getting on with the changes that are needed and therefore inadequate political, business or broader social support; fragmentation in research activities as well as in urban practice and planning; and a significant separation between science and practice.

Research on “Sustainable Urban Transformation” is not well integrated and it is often confined within specific disciplines. Practitioners, such as architects, developers and planners, are similarly disconnected from each other and researchers. As a consequence, urban sustainability research has contributed to the exploration of a number of new and important phenomena on the one hand, while on the other, it has resulted in further fragmentation within scientific research efforts and the “real” world.

There is however a wealth of “real-life” experiences with urban transformation and sustainability. These examples often attract interest from international visitors, who seek inspiration for their own city development plans. In connection with the diffusion of sustainable city initiatives, international collaboration among cities is increasingly urgent for learning from each other and for accelerating the rate of “Sustainable Urban Transformation” based upon sharing experiences about sustainable and innovative projects. An important cross-cutting theme in this Special Issue is that showcases of sustainability in cities of different sizes, types, contexts and importance deserve attention. A comprehensive and dynamic database of all such cases is needed to show lessons from positive and negative experiences and findings.

The emerging concept of “Sustainable Urban Transformation” places the emphasis on understanding cities as a source of possibilities, promoting active collaboration among diverse stakeholders (particularly researchers and practitioners), and integrating different perspectives and bodies of knowledge and expertise.

This Special Issue on “Sustainable Urban Transformation” calls for contributions that advance knowledge and understanding related to a range of topics, including: governance and planning, innovation and competitiveness, lifestyle and consumption, resource management and climate mitigation and adaptation, transport and accessibility, buildings, and social interaction and public space.

Contributions can address some or all of these dimensions. Contributions that address relevant issues that are creatively beyond these categories will also be welcomed.

A full call for papers can be downloaded below.  The deadline for submissions is 15 October 2011.