Boston skyline. Photo by Noah B Kaplan/CC BY-NC 2.0

A Q&A with Thomas Elmqvist

Ahead of Habitat III, Thomas Elmqvist explains why researchers need to view cities from a “systems” perspective. Elmqvist, a professor in natural resource management at the Stockholm Resilience Centre in Sweden, says cities are complex webs of social systems, such as cultures and laws, technological systems, including skyscrapers and sewers, and ecological systems, from trees to bacteria and people. To understand a city, you need to know how these different arenas connect to and affect each other.

This interview was done by Daniel Strain and first published on the Future Earth blog. …


A Q & A with Timon McPhearson

Timon McPherson.

In the lead up to Habitat III, a landmark summit that will explore sustainable development in cities, experts debate whether the world needs an international institution to assess and coordinate research on urban areas. This interview was done by Daniel Strain and first published on the Future Earth blog. It is reproduced here with permission.

Timon McPhearson is an associate professor of urban ecology at The New School in Manhattan. Earlier this month, he published a commentary in Nature magazine on the role of research in the future of cities.

Q: Why is…


Seth Schultz at COP21 in Paris, December 2015. Credit: C40

A Q&A with C40’s Seth Schultz

In this interview, Seth Schultz, Research Director at the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group — a network of the world’s mega-cities committed to addressing climate change — talks about a new partnership emerging between science and cities. Boundaries between research and practice are dissolving in the pursuit of a common goal on sustainable urbanization. But a co-evolved approach requires stamina and long term thinking.

This is part of a series of articles Habitat X Change is publishing in partnership with Future Earth ahead of the Habitat III conference on urbanization in Quito, Ecuador in…


Nestled in the Andes mountains, Quito, Ecuador, will play host to a landmark summit on the future of the planet’s cities this October. Photo: Scipio via Flickr

In the lead up to Habitat III, a landmark summit that will explore sustainable development in cities, experts debate whether the world needs an international institution to assess and coordinate research on urban areas. This article was written by Daniel Strain and first published on the Future Earth blog. It is reproduced here with permission.

This October Quito, Ecuador, will become a city of cities. For one week, tens of thousands of visitors, including leaders from nations and municipalities spread across the globe, will stream into the capital for a common purpose: to discuss the future of cities.

The influx…


Debra Roberts at the 43rd Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Nairobi. Credit: IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth

Q & A with Debra Roberts

In this interview, Debra Roberts*, co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Working Group II on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, talks about a new paradigm for cities and science that is emerging in the aftermath of the historic Paris Agreement on climate change. Roberts has a unique background that combines scientific research and working as a city practitioner in Durban, South Africa. This is part of a series of articles Habitat Xchange is publishing in partnership with Future Earth ahead of the Habitat III conference on urbanization in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016.


Photo: Matthew Tobiasz

Marian Dörk is a Research Professor for information visualization at the Urban Futures Institute for Applied Research and the Urban Complexity Lab at University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, Germany.

This October, the UN will hold its biggest ever summit on the future of cities. Why have cities become such a hot topic at this point in history?

Marian: By 2050, more than 70% of the world’s population will be living in cities. Cities also produce most of the world’s GDP and greenhouse gas emissions, yet they are the key to a more sustainable future. The future of humanity lies in…


In this dialogue, Garry Peterson, Professor of Environmental Sciences at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and Sebastian Meier, Research Associate and Lecturer at the Interaction Design Lab at Potsdam University of Applied Sciences, discuss the power of data visualization as a tool for science and science communication — and what scientists need to be aware of when they plan to work with designers on visualizing their own work.

Garry: In my work, data visualization is very important for enabling interdisciplinary communication and trying to explore and explain complex interactions. Many aspects of sustainability involve multiple causation and complex feedbacks. And you…

Habitat X Change

A place to meet and exchange ideas on the future of cities at #Habitat3

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