Urban research for sustainability: developing a comparative transdisciplinary co-production approach to realise just cities

Henrietta Palmer, David Simon, Jan Riise

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This paper engages with Manfred Max-Neef’s approach to
transdisciplinarity in relation to an innovative international cross-city research
program. Given the inadequacies of conventional methods, fundamentally
different approaches are required to meet the ‘wicked problem’ challenges of
transition towards sustainable societies. Mistra Urban Futures, a Swedish-based
research centre with multi-institutional partnerships in eight cities on four
continents, designed a co-produced comparative research program to address
the realisation of just cities through a typology enabling the comparison of
urgent local priorities. This paper reflects on the approach and its relevance to
Max-Neef’s call for understanding as central to a transdisciplinary approach.
Key findings include how understanding, together with the realisation of just
cities, emerges intertwined as methodological outcomes. These outcomes also
supported the processes, hence contributing to the discourses on transition and
the methodologies of transdisciplinarity and comparative urban research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-94
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Development
Issue number1/2
Early online date26 Oct 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Oct 2022

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