We will live, thrive, and be well in sustainable communities.
Kristina Mjörnell is the business and innovation area manager at RISE, Sweden's research institute and innovation partner that helps businesses and the public sector with information so that they can act more sustainably. Kristina is responsible for the Sustainable Cities and Communities area, and we spoke with her to learn more about what it really means.
A sustainable society is of course about protecting the climate and environment, but it is just as much about conserving economic resources and ensuring the well-being of its residents. A sustainable city or community has many dimensions, such as energy supply, mobility, logistics, water, services, digitization, and more. It is also about resilience, i.e., resistance to events such as heavy rain, floods, pandemics, terrorist attacks, etc. And last but not least, the social aspect: security, safety, participation, cohesion, and dialogue.
"More people living longer, increased urbanization, housing shortages, and a changing climate are some of the challenges of the future that we must adapt to. But the challenges are not isolated, and therefore it is important to think from a holistic perspective when working with sustainability. The holistic perspective means that we must solve the supply of energy, water, mobility, logistics, housing, etc. in both growing cities and smaller rural communities, while also considering environmental and climate issues and social values," explains Kristina Mjörnell.
The challenges are many - the geopolitical situation, the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, climate change, biodiversity, and the economic crisis on top of it. Therefore, fact-based research is needed to help decision-making going forward, says Kristina.
And this is where RISE comes in. RISE helps both businesses, the public sector, and organizations with various types of fact-based innovation processes and offers unique expertise to future-proof technologies, products, and services.
Right now, Kristina sees a big focus on reuse and circularity, especially in the construction sector. Research is being conducted on how to use the existing built environment for new uses, but also on the reuse of materials, quality assurance, and new business models. Circular economy is a prerequisite for securing access to materials and at the same time reducing emissions to accelerate the climate transition.
RISE is exhibiting at the Nordic Sustainability Expo for the second time and will participate in the program on the theme of Sustainable Cities - Future Challenges. They will present three fact-based future scenarios in the form of three different scenarios.