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Sara Borgström

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About me

Frames for my research and teaching

Urban sustainability:Cities are complex systems derived from the social-technological-ecological development of civilisation. Evidently, they are also the favourite habitat for humans, where more than half of the world population today lives in urban environments. Despite centuries of social and technological advancements leading up to the unprecedented urbanisation of Anthropocene, humanity is still dependent on a functioning planet - ecological structures and processes - supporting basic needs and mitigating disturbances. In my research about urban sustainable development, I, therefore, usesocial-ecological systems thinking in order to addressstrong sustainable development where the biosphere and ecological sustainability is seen as the fundament for social and economic development in the long-term perspective.

Multi-level governance of wicked urban challenges: The wickedness of glocal challenges of climate change, food and water security, environmental justice urge for new modes of governance that bridges sectors, levels and professions in order to match the complexity. Collaboration, cooperation, coordination, co-creation are conceptualisations and practices aiming at these new modes of governance. However, achieving sustainable development requires much more than meetings, exchange and projects. My research explores strategies and methods for trans-disciplinary processes in urban settings.

Urban green-blue infrastructure in densifying cities:We know that urban greenery in its many forms is important to sustainable urban development, to mitigate environmental problems, to increase overall public wellbeing and health and to reduce the cities global footprint. Explorations of how we better can integrate the dynamics of urban nature into the policy, planning and management of our cities is a core trans-disciplinary theme in urban sustainability science.What kind of nature is needed in a particular city, where and by whom, and finally how are we to secure the resilience of that nature in the long-term perspective?

Interested in doing a degree project in Strategies for sustainable development with an urban focus. Please contact me!

Ongoing research

Just Urban Green - research about the green infrastructure of Stockholm region

Accessing urban nature. Opportunities and challenges of territorialisation processes in relation to environmental justice and the promotion of multifunctional green commons.
in collaboration with Annika Dahlberg (Dept of Physical geography at Stockholm University) (Formas 2017- 2021)

Research theme: Sustainable use of land and water. Case: Recreational landscapes of peri-urban Stockholm.
in collaboration with Erik Andersson (Stockholm University/Helsinki University) (Mistra 2020-2024)

Previous projects:
CONATURE (Formas 2016-2020): Connected nature. Embedding nature protected areas to support biodiversity and ecosystem services at the landscape scale in collaboration with Erik Andersson (Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University).

ENABLE (Biodiversa, EU ERANET 2017-2019): Enabling Green and Blue Infrastructure Potential in Complex Social-EcologicalRegions, in collaboration with partners in Poland, Germany, Spain, Norway and US. 

ISSUE (Formas -2019)- Integrating sustainability strategies in urban environments. A trans-disiciplinary project hosted by KTH.

PhD candidate supervision


Degree Project in Built Environment, First Cycle (AL130X), teacher | Course web

Degree Project in Strategies for Sustainable Development, Second Cycle (AL250X), examiner, teacher | Course web

Ecology and Environmental Effects (MJ1508), teacher | Course web

Introduction to the Planning and Building Process (AI1527), teacher | Course web

Introduction to the Planning and Building Process, Minor Course (AI1531), teacher | Course web

Project Sustainable Urban Planning - Assessments, Plans and Processes (AG2809), examiner, course responsible | Course web

Resilience Thinking in Sustainable Planning (AL2511), examiner, teacher, course responsible | Course web