Research themes

The process of urbanisation combined with global economic integration and local national specifities produce new spatial nodes of specialisation as well as urban sprawl. The traditional planning and policy strategies within these regions are increasingly inadequate, as the hierarchical urban form is transformed into something else. The functions of the traditional centers and subcenters as well as the new optimal locations for different actors are changing, which is visible in the accessibility, mobility and migration processes as well as in the local fragmentation of urban growth. This research cluster examines the spatio-temporal mobility and use of space as well as new forms of socio-spatial differentiation of the city region and the changes in its new form. In addition, urban socio-spatial phenomenon such as segregation, selective migration, housing and neighbourhood effects are to be examined.

The characteristics and distribution of populations living in urban areas define the long-term sustainability of urban centers and underlie decisions on many urban policies; such as construction, transport and provision of health-care and social services. The cluster for urban demography studies the interactions of people with urban physical and social geographical processes. Urban Demography is the study of population change of urban areas as a function of fertility, mortality, migration and the social forces the drive these processes. On the one hand, studying these multi-level or micro-macro processes will provide key evidence to understanding how the characteristics of urban areas and neighbourhoods affect individuals – for example how neighbourhood socioeconomic structure affects the well-being and health of residents. On the other hand, changes in population composition – driven for example by individual decisions to migrate or have children – affect urban areas and neighbourhood segregation.

This research cluster seeks to understand both the policies of urbanization and the politics of producing urban environments and urban experience. It is premised on recent advances in the fields of urban political economy, urban social-ecological systems, and urban political geographies more generally. Scholars in this cluster examine the ways in which urbanization is constituted in different geographical contexts – and in northern Europe in particular. Understanding the specific processes and patters of urbanization in this particular context potentially produces a set of insights on how both local and transnational processes of urbanization, and the associated ideas, practices and institutions, come together in the production of urban environments and infrastructures. Moreover, in this research cluster scholars and students pay particular attention to urban political contestation and struggle whereby certain knowledges are produced and consumed, new infrastructures constructed, various forms of capital circulated, and political coalitions formed.