Thomas Elmqvist, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

Presentation Title: Analyzing urban resilience and sustainability through a social-technological-ecological system approach: Lessons from the Cities and Biodiversity Outlook project




The Cities and Biodiversity (CBO) project explored the social-ecological foundation of cities and their sustainability. A social-technological approach has, up until now, been a traditional way of analyzing urban complexity, causing many to struggle with defining exactly what is meant by a ‘city’. As highlighted in the CBO, the rapidly emerging framework of viewing cities as complex social-ecological systems puts the human dependence on the biosphere on the urban agenda.  Although the social-technological and social-ecological approaches will continue to be important in the urban sustainability discourse, an urban ecological-technological approach may be increasingly important in the future. This approach represents how living systems may be integrated in built systems and necessary to succeed in enhancing human well-being in urban areas in the face of new and complex challenges such as climate change, and enhancing food and water security in an increasingly changing and globalized world.