In regional sustainable development, CSTM focuses on the emerging interrelatedness between rural and urban areas in spatial and sectoral perspectives, as cities occupy up to 60 times as much space outside their limits as within. Population growth, migration, and changes in lifestyles, preferences and consumption patterns confront us with extremely complex situations. Rivalry between regions can also easily lead to unwanted distributional effects and even exclusion.
Existing rurban challenges illustrate that mankind cannot allow the social, technical and biophysical systems the freedom to organize themselves based on market mechanisms alone. We need to elaborate spatial and social implications of ‘rurbanization’ alike and assess and rethink institutions and governance in order to deal with contemporary challenges in rurban settings.
CSTM and other sections of the Department of Technology, Policy and Society team up in building and staffing a Rurban innovations platform. Insights are needed upon the roles of 1) the market and self-organization and 2) collective, spatially relevant public and private decision-making, while dealing with the rural-urban interaction between technological innovation, society and the biophysical system.
CSTM’s emphasis is upon how contemporary innovations such as energy transition, climate adaptation, carbon sequestration, bio-circular economy, sustainable farming and food influence rurbanization, and how systems of rules that structure social organization (e.g., laws and regulations, policies, networks and boundary organizations) can be improved.
In collaboration with regional stakeholders, practices, trends and impacts in diverse social and technological settings are evaluated and outlooks and improvements are developed. The knowledge from this spatio-social sustainability analysis will feed novel educational programs, foresight exercises with stakeholders, as well as regional policy designs and programmes.