The urgency for systemic sustainability transformations has been here for a long time. Transformations in multiple systems have been ongoing for a while; however, pace of change has been much slower than previously foreseen. We need more understanding of the interlinkages between sectors, actors, geographies, markets, practices and lifestyles as these have significant relevance for the impact and pace of change.
The pandemic has further highlighted that we live in a globally connected world; our overreliance on economic growth and increasing levels of consumption has made us extremely vulnerable to and unprepared for different kinds of systemic shocks. Living in this era has underlined once more the urgency of accelerating transformative change towards sustainable and just futures worldwide by envisioning solutions that would cater to societal needs within the planet’s biophysical boundaries.
Furthermore, the growth of social and spatial polarization in both urban and rural areas is a rising challenge. Although new technologies offer hope, growing urban socio-spatial segregation and the decline of rural peripheries, pose major challenges for simultaneously addressing both climate change mitigation and adaptation and embedded social inequalities. Globally inclusive and just sustainability transformations are urgently needed - but how do we get there? Transformations also mean phasing out from the current non-sustainable practices while simultaneously nurturing and accelerating adoption of more sustainable ones, through active experimentation, piloting and accelerated diffusion of new promising solutions.
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.
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 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.