See you online on 18th–19th May 2021!

Amidst our current global crisis, key obstacles preventing a sustainable future are the persistent attitudes, perceptions, technologies and (infra)structures that hinder the radical change into new ways of doing and making living on the planet sustainable. Inspired by, yet not limited to Joseph Schumpeter's concept of creative destruction, the Sustainability Science Days 2021 focuses on the current detrimental structures and behaviours that need to be destructed and eradicated in order to create opportunities for profoundly sustainable solutions, technologies and social innovations to emerge.

In the conference, the underlying premise of creative destruction is discussed especially in the context of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 9 and 11. This comprises building resilient infrastructures, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation (SDG 9) with special emphasis on cities and other kinds of human settlements (SDG 11). Creativity and destruction are indispensable to make communities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

In 2021, the conference will be organized online for the first time. The SSD 2021 Conference aims for a wide coverage and high impact discussions by inviting professionals, scholars, decision-makers, and students from institutions and organizations all over the world to join the conference.

2021 Themes: Sustainable Development Goals 9 & 11

Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Steady progress has been made in the manufacturing industry. To achieve inclusive and sustainable industrialization, competitive economic forces need to be unleashed to generate employment and income, facilitate international trade and enable the efficient use of resources.

Investment in infrastructure and innovation are crucial drivers of economic growth and development. With over half the world population now living in cities, mass transport and renewable energy are becoming ever more important, as are the growth of new industries and information and communication technologies.

Technological progress is also key to finding lasting solutions to both economic and environmental challenges, such as providing new jobs and promoting energy efficiency. Promoting sustainable industries, and investing in scientific research and innovation, are all important ways to facilitate sustainable development.

More than 4 billion people still do not have access to the Internet, and 90 percent are from the developing world. Bridging this digital divide is crucial to ensure equal access to information and knowledge, as well as foster innovation and entrepreneurship. 

Source: UNDP

Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

More than half of us live in cities. By 2050, two-thirds of all humanity—6.5 billion people—will be urban. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces.

The rapid growth of cities—a result of rising populations and increasing migration—has led to a boom in mega-cities, especially in the developing world, and slums are becoming a more significant feature of urban life.

Making cities sustainable means creating career and business opportunities, safe and affordable housing, and building resilient societies and economies. It involves investment in public transport, creating green public spaces, and improving urban planning and management in participatory and inclusive ways.

Source: UNDP

About Aalto University

Aalto University is a multidisciplinary community of bold thinkers, where science and art meet technology and business with the purpose to shape a sustainable future. Aalto University is committed to identifying and solving grand societal challenges and building an innovative future. Finding solutions for sustainability is one of the cross-cutting strategic approaches of the University covering education, research and operations. Aalto University has six schools with 12,000 students.

Aalto Sustainability website.

About the University of Helsinki & HELSUS

University of Helsinki is one of the top 1% research universities in the world, with the mission to produce research-based knowledge for the benefit of the whole world. A community of 40,000 students and employees creates solutions that will shape the future of our planet and all of humanity. Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS) is a new cross-faculty research unit in sustainability science within the University of Helsinki. The mission of the institute is to contribute to sustainability transformations of societies by means of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research and education.

Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science HELSUS website.