The research done within the UEP group contributes to conceptual and theoretical development of adaptation and urban environmental policy.

In our empirical work, we use quantitative, qualitative and integrated/mixed methods, including stakeholder participation, interviews, surveys, social network analysis, Delphi, serious gaming, systematic reviews and qualitative comparative analysis. We mainly concentrate on urban topics or issues which interact with urban topics, and the scale of our research varies from local case studies to global scale statistical analysis.

Cities and their populations are vulnerable to different impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise, floods and heat waves, and need to have robust strategies for adapting to climate change. They are intricately linked with the surrounding countryside and, through globalisation, with other countries and regions. For instance, food and energy consumed within the cities are mainly sourced and produced outside the city boundaries, and potential impacts of climate change on the supply of these commodities need to be identified and assessed.

Cities emit large amounts of greenhouse gases, but they also play a significant role in global efforts to mitigate climate change. Urban climate policies must address the mitigation and adaptation goals together as synergistically as possible. Beyond climate action, cities must also adopt integrated planning to consider sustainability across sectors and ensure healthy, accessible, and socially just living environments for all citizens.

Urban climate change policy

We look at the challenges of climate change in urban areas and different ways to adapt to them. We focus on current and future impacts taking into account the dynamics and interrelations between the socio-economic and biophysical drivers. Furthermore, we look at the development of climate policy facilitated by learning through climate networks, as well as the development of climate policy instruments that involve private sector and citizens. We use quantitative, qualitative and integrated/mixed methods, including stakeholder participation, content analysis, interview studies, social network analysis, statistical analysis, Delphi surveys, participatory mapping (semiqualitative/integration of qualitative and quantitative).   

Latest research projects deal with e.g. future climate risks in Helsinki, promoting climate actions through C40 in a large sample of cities, tracking/monitoring of adaptation progress in cities (statistical analysis of database over 400 cities, nested case study research in a large data set)

Our research promotes adaptation to climate change in the Finnish agricultural sector, as well as assesses cross-border risks from climate change to the energy supply chains of the Nordic countries. Hence, our research contributes to building climate resilient future.

Water governance

Climate change and other environmental changes often manifest themselves through water, for instance in relation to changes in floods, droughts and water quality. To tackle water-related changes, risks and vulnerabilities, sustainable management of water resources is needed. We have analysed water governance and water-related changes especially in River Vantaa which is located in Helsinki metropolitan area but also in other areas across the globe. We are interested in the social impacts of flooding and water quality and how communities and societies are dealing with water-related changes. We have arranged participatory workshops and used analysed historical datasets and policy documents.