Current Projects

Transformative Cities - Supporting rapid transformations toward urban sustainability (2023-25) – Funded by the Strategic Research Council of the Academy of Finland

The University of Helsinki recently joined forces with the University of Eastern Finland, Aalto University, University of Oulu, and Turku University to embark on ‘Transformative Cities’ (TC), a project that seeks to provide a series of research tools that can be utilised by decision-makers to promote sustainability transformations in Finnish municipalities. The project is led by Professor Christopher Raymond from the University of Helsinki and is funded by the Academy of Finland.

TC is working with the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Lahti, and Oulu to unlock transformative pathways that would help contribute to meeting the goal of a carbon-neutral Finland by 2035. With a competence cluster that includes more than fifteen business partners, two fellow international academic institutions, and multiple representatives from each of the case-study cities, TC represents a unique opportunity to synthesise expertise from different societal actors.

TC examines citizen mobility choices and correlates them with the set of actions and strategies that the cities under scrutiny aim to realise to promote sustainable mobility and carbon neutrality. Furthermore, TC suggests measures that integrate municipal carbon mitigation goals with biodiversity conservation and restoration, emphasising the need to uptake green infrastructure such as nature-based solutions. The project also employs legal experts who analyse the legal and policy context to unpack the barriers and trade-offs impeding sustainable interventions. These themes are addressed through a variety of methods, including passive and active sensing, surveys, doctrinal and empirical legal research, and gamification.

For more information, check here.

Professor Raymond's article "Christopher Raymond’s team helps build thriving cities – “Society must define success in a new way”

Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Values Assessment

Christopher Raymond is a Coordinating Lead Author and Andra Milcu is a Lead Author as part of the IPBES Values Assessment. The IPBES Values Assessment aims to build the evidence base for conceptualising and integrating the multiple values of nature into environmental policy and decision-making.

More information can be found here

Individuals, communities and municipalities mitigating climate change by carbon smart green space (CO-CARBON) (2021-23) – Funded by the Strategic Research Council of the Academy of Finland

The CO-CARBON project seeks solutions related to climate change mitigation and adaptation, with a focus on sustainable and fair choices for societies. Within the larger CO-CARBON project, the Professor Christopher Raymond leads Work Package 3 (WP3) – Envisioning Carbon-Smart and Just Urban Green Infrastructure (UGI).

WP3 is developing a new public participation GIS method to promote the consideration and use of carbon-smart UGI by youth and adults in ways that address justice and well-being needs. Analysis

of the results will allow for an exploration of the global fairness in Finnish and Nordic contexts, as well as the European level via ICLEI. Further, WP3 will  identify and compare synergies and trade-offs between areas of social value for carbon-smart UGI and actual carbon-smartness. Results will produce guidelines and enable refinement of the policies to incentivise the use of carbon-smart UGI in ways that maximise the benefits.

The CO-CARBON project is implemented in cooperation between the University of Helsinki, Aalto University, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Häme University of Applied Sciences and the University of Copenhagen. The project is funded by the Strategic Research Council (STN) of the Academy of Finland. CO-CARBON is part of STN's Climate Change and Human Research Program (CLIMATE). More information on CO-CARBON can be found here.

SMAR­Ter Gree­ner Ci­ties (2020-23) – Fun­ded by Nord­Forsk 

The SMARTer Greener Cities project aims to develop and test novel tools and processes for explicitly converging social, ecological, and technological systems (SETS) approaches for improving life in cities. Together, Professor Christopher Raymond and Dr. Silviya Korpilo lead Work Package 3 (WP3)- Social-Ecological Couplings in Helsinki. 

WP3 aims to understand how smart technologies and nature-based solutions (NBS) can enhance or hinder the potential of different types of urban green spaces to promote psychological restoration seasonally. We study two neighborhoods in Helsinki: Kalasatama and Kuninkaantammi. These spaces have different visions of planning and development; while Kalasatama has been promoted as a smart neighborhood and sustainable residential area, Kuninkaantammi has been developed emphasizing NBS and the Green City concept.


The results of WP3 and SMARTer Greener Cities will provide in-depth empirical support for the systems framing to explore in depth social-ecological, ecological-technological, and social-technological couplings through shared learning, practice and engagement in three case study cities. The project will share knowledge across three Nordic cities and promote new types of learning institutions to understand the full suite of SETS couplings, and their intended and unintended consequences across system domains such as social justice and ecosystem based climate resilience.

More information on Smarter Greener Cities can be found here.

The aim of this project is to develop a coherent set of tools and processes for systematically identifying, assessing, and comparing protected area management visions based on past drivers of change and the consequences of modelled scenarios on multiple aspects of biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human well-being. Scenarios used to derive the associated visions will include land-use change, invasive species, climate change, tourism, forestry, mining, indigenous use of natural resources, and water resources planning and governance. ENVISION addresses the research questions of: 1) to what extent is balancing diverse visions possible and, 2) how can strategies based on collectively defined visions be translated into protected area management at multiple scales?

Past Pro­jects

An inclusi­ve ap­proach to as­ses­sing in­te­gra­ti­ve sce­na­rios and vi­sions for pro­tec­ted area ma­na­ge­ment (EN­VI­SION) (2019-2021) - Fun­ded by Bio­di­vER­sA ERA-Net

Funding € 1,573,492 from Horizon 2020 ERA-NET COFUND, Formas, Biodiversa

A sus­tai­nable spa­tial plan­ning fra­mework for en­ga­ging di­ver­se ac­tors and ci­tizens in re­vi­ta­li­sing in-between spaces for social inclusion, bio­di­ver­si­ty, and well-being (VIVA-PLAN)  (2019-2021) 

Fun­ding SEK 7.9 million by For­mas, Swe­den

Special Fea­tu­re on Theo­re­tical Tra­di­tions in Social Va­lues for Sus­tai­na­bi­li­ty (2018-19) 

More information about this special feature can be found here.

Exploring Residents' Gardening Experiences in Winnipeg, Canada (2017)

Funding AUD $15,000 from KSLA and University of Winnipeg

​EKLIPSE Expert Working Group on Nature-based Solutions to Promote Climate Resilience in Urban Areas (2016-17)

Connecting Diverse Knowledge Systems for Ecosystem Governance (2016-18).

Funding: AUS$1 Million from the Swedish Research Council through the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Place attachment in an ever-changing world (2017)

Funding AUD $15,000 through Swiss Science Foundatino.

Integrating digital, social and nature solutions to promote health and well-being (2017)

Funding: AUD $15,000 from MOVIUM and SLU Urban Futures​

Evaluating experiential learning programs to support biodiversity conservation in urban gardens (2016)

Funding: AUD $20,000 through Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry (KSLA), Sweden.

Eliciting community values for rural livelihoods and lifestyles in the South East NRM Region of South Australia (2014)

Funding: AUD$ 55,000 from the South East Natural Resources Management Board

Role: Co-Principal Investigator

Assessing rural landholder attitudes toward the conservation of native vegetation (2014)

Funding: AUD$10,000 from the Northern and Yorke Natural Resources Management Board

Role: Principal Investigator

Landholders’ views of land management in the Tasmanian Midlands (2013-14)

Funding: AUD$90,000 from the National Environmental Research Program. (Sub-project of the Social and Institutional Futures Program).

Role: Contributor

Woolgrower attitudes towards payments for ecosystem services (2013)

Funding: AUD$30,000 from Australian Wool Innovation Pty Ltd.

Role: Co-Principal Investigator

Tools and processes for assessing conservation opportunity (2013)

Funding: AUD$20,000 from the Australian Research Centre for Excellence in Environmental Decisions

Role: Co-Principal Investigator

Mapping community values for regional sustainability in the Lower Hunter region, NSW (2012-14)

Funding: AUD$175,000 from the National Environmental Research Program.

Role: Principal Investigator

Adapting to climate change in South Australia: Human Dimensions of Transect Project (2011-12)

Funding: AUD$371,894 from the Premier’s Science and Research Fund.

Role: Contributor

Understanding rural landholder attitudes toward natural resource management toward natural resource management in the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin (2010)

Funding: AUD$10,000 from the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin NRM Board

Role: Principal Investigator

Understanding rural landholder attitudes toward natural resource management toward natural resource management in the Northern and Yorke region (2010)

Funding: AUD$10,000 from the Northern and Yorke NRM Board

Role: Principal Investigator

Rural landholder adaption to climate change in South Australia (2010)

Funding AUS$90,000 from the Natural Resource Management Research Alliance (SA)

Role: Co-principal Investigator

Rural landholder attitudes toward the management of water, land and costs in the Eyre Peninsula Region (2009)

Funding: AUD$50,000 from the Natural Resource Management Research Alliance (SA)

Evaluation of the Lower Murray Landscape Futures Project (2009)

Funding: AUD$20,000 from CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems

New methods for the assessment of social values for ecosystem services (2009)

Funding: AUD$10,000 from CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems