Research

Our current focus is in the following three themes and linkages between them. We are aiming to find sustainable solutions from the realms of policy measures, behavioral changes and infrastructure, as well as from the intersection of these areas.  

1.    Urban wellbeing and social values
The claims about the social implications of dense urban environments are rather complex and even contradictory – the classical arguments state that there is an inherent tension or even a paradox between the compact city and people’s desire for a spacious, green, and quiet environment. In addition, empirical analysis have reported that urban residents have lower level of subjective wellbeing than their rural counterparts. However, in order to understand the possible reasons for such differences, we need to go beyond crude geographical categorizations and variables and ask how, for example, different values contribute to these wellbeing differences. Therefore, our group examines different levels and forms of wellbeing in different spatial settings, using high-quality survey data in combination with novel data sources. Ultimately, this research contributes on our understanding how to enhance the wellbeing of urban residents.

2.    Carbon consumption
The greatness of urban areas is partly attributable to positive externalities following from the variety and degree of economic activity within a distance. However, these agglomeration benefits have also strengthened the role of cities as centers of consumption, and the consumption patterns of affluent citizens are in many ways problematic from the viewpoint of carbon footprints. Thus, our group aims to understand the relationships between different types of urban structures and their carbon consumption, in order to help planning urban areas and policies that could support low-carbon lifestyles. Mobility in particular is one of the largest contributors to individual carbon footprints, and new ways to reduce carbon implications in dense urban areas warrant more research and new solutions – for example sharing economy as a solution to lower the carbon consequences of various lifestyles is one of the interests in the group. In this line of research, we utilize novel methods in spatial science and GIS such as spatial microsimulation modelling. 

3.    Socio-economic segregation and gentrification
Increasing socioeconomic segregation is a social sustainability problem if it contributes to the creation of stigmatized neighborhoods with concentrations of social problems. In such situations, the risk of negative neighborhood effects and vicious circles emerges. Ultimately, to understand segregation we need understand also decisions of households, as both the relocation patterns of low to-middle income households and the less restricted decisions of high-income households are behind the differentiating developments of neighbourhoods. Our group pairs high-quality register data to GIS-data to perceive the problem and its existence at different spatial scales, and to understand how decisions of people interact with different types of planning contexts and policy changes.

 

Publications are listed under the individual profiles in the "People" section