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Sustainable urban development – conditions and challenges for spatial planning

How the Swedish planning system may be improved in order to facilitate sustainable urban development.

Participants: Johan Högström, KTH; Berit Balfors, KTH; et al.

Funding: Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Vinnova and Formas.

My PhD studies focuses on how the Swedish planning system may be improved in order to facilitate sustainable urban development. More specifically, I'm interested in exploring how the interrelation between different planning levels, plans and their planning processes may be strengthened. One important issue in my research is to advance and elaborate collaborative practices as a means to facilitate sustainability.

Between 2014-2016, I'll be investigating how Environmental Impact Assessment is being practiced in Sweden, being part of the multi-disciplinary research project SPEAK - Sustainable Planning and Environmental Assessment Knowledge  sponsored by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

Moreover, I'm involved and was one of the initiators to SÖDERTÖRNSMODELLEN , a collaborative project on sustainable urban development funded by Vinnova 2014-2016. The project aims at developing new innovative solutions for sustainable urban development by promoting broad actor collaboration, specifically focusing on shaping and advancing tools for sustainability assessment and public participation.

Further, I am involved in , a research project funded by Formas. ISSUE explores concepts related to sustainable urban development and brings together actors from academia, private business and the public sector in order to develop strategies and methods as to improve the built environment.


2017 Högström, J., Balfors, B., Hammer, M., 2017. Planning for sustainability in expansive metropolitan regions: Exploring practices and planners’ expectations in Stockholm, Sweden . European Planning Studies 26, 439-457.
2017 Högström, J., 2017. Towards sustainable urban development in expansive urban regions: Conditions and challenges for municipal spatial planning practice , TRITA-SEED-LIC 2017:01. KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, 15 pp.