Future-Proof Cities

The industrial graduate school Future-Proof Cities (FPC) has a research focus on sustainable urban development and a foundation in the social dialogue about challenges facing medium-sized towns and cities in Sweden.

By 2050, close to 70 percent of the world's population is expected to be living in urban areas. In these, many sustainability issues will be of great significance as a result of challenges relating to climate change, social polarization and the belief in perpetual economic growth. That said, cities and towns are nonetheless viewed as being physical locations where potential solutions can be found, which places high demands on them to develop in an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable manner.

Dalarna University, University of Gävle and Mälardalen University have together been awarded SEK 25.9 million by the Knowledge Foundation to start the graduate school Future-Proof Cities (FPC), which will focus on sustainable urban development. The first group of FPC doctoral students have now begun their studies and are expected to graduate in 2025 or 2026.

FPC logo

Medium-Sized Cities in Focus

A great deal of previous research has focused on large cities. With this unique research initiative, professional knowledge about urban development will now come together with the aim being to develop medium-sized cities in Sweden in such a way that they are climate-smart, vibrant, healthy and safe. Within the graduate school, urban development in towns such as Falun, Borlänge, Eskilstuna, Västerås and Gävle will be the priority.

Collaboration with the Local Business Community

An important feature of the graduate school is that it builds on social dialogue, which involves universities – in collaboration with the business community and community planners – directly implementing solutions for sustainable urban development. With its 12 doctoral student projects, the planning by municipalities and businesses in terms of sustainable urban development will be strengthened in the regions of Gävleborg, Mälardalen and Dalarna.

Central to this collaboration are doctoral students who have employment in organisations and businesses outside the university. Meanwhile, their research supervisors have posts at the three higher education institutions in question. To facilitate their studies, the doctoral students will have access to both company and university office facilities. In many cases, the research is interdisciplinary and covers several sustainability perspectives.

- It is particularly gratifying that the graduate school is to be run in close collaboration with the outside community and has a basis in issues that are of great importance for the future development of society. The project is also a good example of the collaboration we have with other higher education institutions and municipal companies, says Sigrid Saveljeff, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, External Liaison.

Doctoral Students in the Dalarna Section of FPC

In Dalarna, there are four doctoral students who are employed by municipal companies in the Municipality of Borlänge and the Municipality of Falun. Their research projects will contribute to the development of social, economic and environment sustainable solutions for today’s generation and that of the future in Dalarna.


Porträttbild Thomas JungellThomas Jungell, Industrial Doctoral Student Environmental Science

Dalarna University: School of Information and Engineering
Doctoral Programme: University of Gävle, Environmental Sciences
Phone: 023-458 82
Email: tju@du.se, thomas.jungell@kopparstaden.se

Project description: Housing construction accounts for a large part of the world's emission of greenhouse gases. My research will try to examine what difference in climate impact it will be from conducting a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of a building with different time horizons and with different building materials. In my research, I will also investigate what conditions are likely to change during a building's life cycle and how these changes can affect the climate impact from the building, so-called Dynamic LCA. Changes in conditions can for example be changes in the electricity mix, changed climate, future technical solutions for an increased degree of material recycling, etc.

Borlänge Energi

Porträttbild Maria SandströmMaria Sandström, Industrial Doctoral Student Energy Systems

Dalarna University: School of Information and Engineering
Department of Technology, Energy and Construction Engineering
Doctoral Programme: University of Gävle, Energy Systems
Phone: 073-421 88 82
Email: mass@du.se, maria.sandstrom@borlange-energi.se

Project Description: With the transition to a more sustainable and climate-neutral society, electricity consumption is forecasted to increase, and there will be more renewable electricity production. This poses challenges for electric power grids . The research will address issues both of capacity in electric power grids  and  how to utilise  the power grids more efficiently.

Tunabyggen, Hushagen, Prefament, Fiskarhedenvillan

Porträttbild Johanna MattssonJohanna Mattsson, Industrial Doctoral Student Industrial Economics and Management

Dalarna University: School of Information and Engineering
Doctoral Programme: Mälardalen University, Industrial Economics and Organization                
Phone: 0243-733 59
Email: jomt@du.se, johanna.mattsson@tunabyggen.se

Project Description: This research project is about how private and public companies within housing and real estate development, can contribute to sustainable urban development through collaboration. In focus are partnerships, stakeholder networks and business models.

Publications: Fell, T., & Mattsson, J. (2021). The Role of Public-Private Partnerships in Housing as a Potential Contributor to Sustainable Cities and Communities: A Systematic Review

Borlänge kommuns forvaltnings AB: in Collaboration with the Planning and Land Office of Borlänge Municipality

Porträttbild Sara SvenssonSara Svensson, Industrial Doctoral Student in Work Life Sciences

Dalarna University: School of Culture and Society
Doctoral Programme: Mälardalen University, Health and Welfare
Phone: 0243-740 48
Email: sss@du.se, sara.svensson@borlange.se

Project Description: This project explores the conditions for working towards increased social sustainability and reduced segregation in the community building process. My research examines what the work itself entails and how it can be understood in relation to public administration and community planning at the municipal level.

Last reviewed:
Chris Bales
Professor Energy Engineering
Last reviewed: