My research interests concern sustainability transitions, consumption, the sharing economy, urban commons, utopian thought, and in general planning, policy, social movements and contestations around sustainable development.
ONGOING RESEARCH PROJECTS
This transdisciplinary research programme aims to stimulate a transition to sustainable consumption in Sweden and beyond by generating in-depth knowledge on how niche sustainable consumption practices can become mainstream in the areas of food, furnishing and vacation practices.
The programme examines niche sustainable consumption practices and develop roadmaps for how they can be scaled up and mainstreamed by policy makers, businesses, civil society organizations and citizen consumers. We explore three types of strategies: (a) the sharing of goods and services; (b) the downsizing of goods and services by consuming less; and (c) the shifting towards more resource-efficient products and services.
Funded by MISTRA 2018-2021.
Program directors: Karin Bradley & Åsa Svenfelt, KTH
Participating reserach institutes: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Lund University, Chalmers, The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Luleå Technical University, Karolinska Institute, University of Gothenburg and Statistics Sweden (SCB).
This project investigates grassroot initiatives for energy transition. The project looks at potentially successful grassroots initiatives in Gothenburg and Berlin, two cities with ambitious climate targets and strong social movements, and focus on the fields of energy provision, daily transport, food and consumer goods. The aim of the project is to provide knowledge on the factors that make grassroots initiatives successful, allowing them to contribute to a broader transition.
The project is led by Rikard Warlenius at the University of Gothenburg and the other participating researchers are Sofie Tornhill, Linneaus University, Martin Emanuel, KTH and Kristina Boreus, Uppsala University.
Funded by: The Swedish Energy Agency and a sister project by Formas. 2020-2023.
This is a research program on environmantal humanities, lead by Linköping University, program director Victoria Wibeck.
1) Deep Time, Deep Earth, Deep Waters, 2) Green Futures, 3) Toxic Embodiment and 4) Weather and Climate Change.
Funded by: MISTRA and Formas. Phase 1: 2015-2018, Phase 2 2019-2021.
Member of the reserach and innovation group for the governmental Council for Sustainable Cities (Rådet för hållbara städer), 2020-ongoing.
Led the governmental investigation on "Users in the sharing economy". 2016 - March 2017.
Member of the Analyis group Green Transitions under the Minister for Strategic Development, The Swedish Government. 2015 - 2016.
Member of the expert group to The Digitalisation Commission under the Minister for Housing and Urban Development and Information Technology, The Swedish Government. 2015 - ongoing.
RECENTLY COMPLETED PROJECTS
Urban Sharing - The rise of collaborative consumption and co-use of spaces
Recent studies have shown that technological change is not enough to meet targets of emission reductions and resource use, behavioral changes are also needed in terms of less material consumption. Against a backdrop of fatigue of consumerist culture and the recent economical crises, different forms of citizen-initiated sharing schemes have appeared. Here citizens create common-pool resources and systems of sharing tools, vehicles, gardens, spaces, clothing, etc.
The aim of this project was to explore contemporary urban sharing schemes, why they appear, how they function and what wider societal implications they might have for socioenvironmental, economic and spatial (re)organization. Case studies were conducted in three cities where sharing schemes have spread during the last years: Barcelona, Malmö and London. The case studies comprised a) sharing of goods and b) sharing and co-use of spaces. The societal relevance lies in its contribution to the quests for knowledge on how to reduce material consumption while at the same time attending to quality of life and social cohesion.
As part of this project I have made a documentary film on the sharing economy, together with film maker Lotta Ekelund, Dela är det nya äga, 23 minutes in Swedish. Can be viewed via www.delafilmen.info. There is also an English version of the film (28 min) called Sharing is the new owning. The film was funded by Formas, Mistra Urban Futures and the City of Malmö.
The research project wass funded by Formas. 2013-2019.
Beyond GDP-growth - Scenarios for sustainable building and planning
In policies for sustainable urban development, continued GDP growth is generally taken for granted. Sustainable growth is an overall political goal, however the rhetoric around this concept have become increasingly criticized by researchers pointing to that there is no evidence of nations having decoupled growth from environmental degradation, given that the global footprints of these nations are accounted for. GDP growth is still reliant on access to cheap energy, and in the context of climate change and peaking resources, it is predicted that energy costs will rise.
In this program we explored what happens if the assumed GDP growth is halted. This
may be due to a redirection of politics towards a steady state economy or it may be a result of financial crises or failed growth politics. The aim was to explore scenarios for developments with degrowth, steady state and low growth and develop strategies that can be used within the field of building and planning in Sweden. Using three case study regions, we developed strategies for the building sector, for delivering welfare services, for transportation and for everyday practices. The program included 12 researchers from different fields - environmental strategies, urban studies, macro economy, sociology, anthropology, human ecology and transportation.
Funded by: Formas 2014-2018. Conducted together with Göran Finnveden and Åsa Svenfelt (project leaders), Ulrika Gunnarsson-Östling, Tove Malmqvist (KTH), Mikael Malmeus, Peter Stigson, Eva Alfredsson (IVL); Karolina Isaksson, Åsa Aretun (VTI); Alf Hornborg (Lund Univ); Paul Feuhrer (Uppsala Univ) and societal partners MSB, TCO, Transition Sweden, Västra Götalandsregionen and three Swedish municipalities.
ONGOING SUPERVISION OF DOCTORAL STUDENTS
- Ola Persson, Division of Urban and Regional Studies, KTH, main supervisor
- Maria Ärlemo, School of Architecture, KTH, co-supervisor
- Naomi Cherie Lipke, Division of Urban and Regional Studies, KTH, main supervisor
COMPLETED SUPERVISION OF DOCTORAL STUDENTS
- Åsa Callmer, Division of Urban and Regional Studies, KTH, Making sense of sufficiency: Entries, practices and politics, PhD thesis (2020). De facto main supervisor.
- Sofia Wiberg, Division of Urban and Regional Studies, KTH, Lyssnandets praktik - Medborgardialog, icke-vetande och förskjutningar, PhD thesis (2018). Main supervisor.
- Anna Hult, Division of Urban and Regional Studies, Unpacking Swedish Sustainability: The promotion and circulation of sustainable urbanism, PhD thesis (2017). Main supervisor.
- Pernilla Hagbert, A sustainable home? Reconceptualizing the home in a low-impact society. Department of Architecture, Chalmers, (2016). Co-supervisor.
Contemporary Urban Theory, Advanced Course (AG2134), examiner, course responsible | Course web