Sirkku Juhola: "Cities play a key role in battling climate change"

Climate change will have an impact on all of us. Sirkku Juhola, professor of urban environmental policy, studies how social measures and the environment intertwine.

What are your research topics?  

I study the interaction between society and the environment, how social measures influence the environment and how these measures can be controlled by policy. My field, urban environmental policy, reflects the fact that cities have come to play an increasingly important role in terms of environmental and climate issues.

Cities use a great deal of natural resources and are responsible for a large share of emissions, so they have a key role in furthering sustainable development. In the future, they will have to deal with the impacts of climate change, and they must be able to address them through policy and urban planning.  

Where and how does the topic of your research have an impact?  

Climate change and other global environmental changes have an influence on all of us, as living conditions on our planet change. Climate change is already having an impact on our lives through climate policy. It is important to discover different methods for recognising the risks related to climate change, which may vary greatly even within individual countries. At the same time, we must think about how these risks can be mitigated through policy, and what the impact of such policies will be. 

What is particularly inspiring in your field right now

Cities and the climate have lately become very prominent on political and social agendas, but research in the field has a long history. It’s been wonderful to see how theoretical standpoints connect with empirical developments, helping us understand how the cities of the future will be formed. 


Sirkku Juhola is the professor of urban environmental policy at the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

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