”What is urban?”


URBIS Dialogue 1: ”What is urban?”: presenting an overview of the multiple dimensions of our urban biosphere.



Introducing the URBIS Dialogue Series Dr David Maddox
What is URBAN? An overview Professor Thomas Elmqvist
Urban as a complex system Professor Geoffrey West
Urban as a social system Professor Sue Parnell
Urban as a system of human creativity and innovation Professor Sverker Sorlin
Discussion and Q&A All


DAVID MADDOX Founder & Editor-in-Chief, The Nature of Cities Principal, Urban Oikos Partners LLC and URBIS Advisory Board Chair, New York, NY USA

David Maddox is committed to the health of the urban ecosystem—urban resilience, the application of ecosystem services for human welfare and livelihoods, and the effective and efficient monitoring and evaluation of these issues. As Founder and Editor of TheNatureOfCities.com and Principal of Urban Oikos Partners LLC, his current work is in the development and dissemination of useful knowledge for design and management of social-ecological systems in urban landscapes. He holds a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, with a statistics minor, from Cornell University and lives in New York City. Other interests can be seen at http://www.williebellmusic.com.

PROFESSOR THOMAS ELMQVIST Professor in Natural Resource Management at the Stockholm University and Theme Leader at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm, Sweden

Thomas Elmqvist, PhD, is a professor in Natural Resource Management at Stockholm University and Theme Leader at the Stockholm Resilience Center. His research is focused on ecosystem services, land use change, natural disturbances and components of resilience including the role of social institutions. He is coordinating a major interdisciplinary research themes as part of the Stockholm Resilience Centre focusing on governance and management of ecosystem services in urban landscapes, involving 12 cities around the world. He was involved in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and principal investigator of several multidisciplinary projects in Africa. He serves as associated editor for the ...

PROFESSOR GEOFFREY WEST Distinguished Professor and Former President of the Santa Fe Institute, and Associate Fellow of Oxford University’s Martin School

Geoffrey West is a theoretical physicist whose primary interests have been in fundamental questions in physics, especially those concerning the elementary particles, their interactions and cosmological implications. West served as SFI President from July 2005 through July 2009. Prior to joining the Santa Fe Institute as a Distinguished Professor in 2003, he was the leader, and founder, of the high energy physics group at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he is one of only approximately ten Senior Fellows.His long-term fascination in general scaling phenomena evolved into a highly productive collaboration on the origin ...

PROFESSOR SUSAN PARNELL Professor in African Center for Cities, University of Cape Town

Professory Parnell’s early academic research was in the area of urban historical geography and focussed on the rise of racial residential segregation and the impact of colonialism on urbanisation and town planning in Sub-Saharan Africa. Since 1994 and democracy in South Africa her work has shifted to contemporary urban policy research (local government, poverty reduction and urban environmental justice). By its nature this research is not been purely academic, but has involved liasing with local and national government and international donors. Sue is also on the boards of several local NGOs concerned with poverty alleviation, sustainability and gender equity in post-apartheid South Africa. She serves on a number of national and international advisory research panels relating to urban reconstruction.

PROFESSOR SVERKER SORLIN Professor in Environmental History in the Division of History of Science and Technology at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

Professor Sörlin serves on the Advisory Board of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, where he is also senior researcher.He was the first director of the Swedish Institute for Studies in Education and Research, SISTER (2000-2003), and has held visiting positions at the University of California, Berkeley (1993), University of Cambridge (2004-05), and the University of Oslo (2006). He currently serves on the UNESCO Forum for Science, Knowledge, and Higher Education. Among his publications in English are co-edited books, Denationalizing Science (1993); Sustainability — the Challenge (1998); Narrating the Arctic: A Cultural History of Nordic Scientific Practice (2002); Knowledge Society versus ...

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