Topic 6a Urban and regional transformations


EU initiative Driving Urban Transitions established

Moving towards the next EU research framework program 2021-27, this novel science and practice platform gradually takes shape. Drawing on the JPI Urban Europe program, activities and calls for proposals focus on building transformative capacity to address key innovation missions of urban sustainability transformation.

Two calls for papers in special issues open

The journal Urban Transformations calls for contributions on two highly topical subjects: 1) Platform urbanism questioning the role of big data in future urban change, and 2) Transformative urban innovation systems striving to move beyond urban living labs.


Knowledge Resources

State of the Art: 

Current research on urban and regional transformations covers a wide range of subjects and approaches – keywords include e.g. Leverage points; Transformative agency; Transformative capacity; Experiments; Living Labs; Transition Management; Adaptive governance; Design thinking; Social innovation; Innovation ecosystems; Transition Towns; Grassroots innovation; Biophilic urbanism; Nature-based solutions; Urban tinkering; Tactical urbanism; DIY urbanism; Social-Ecological Systems (SES); Socio-Technical Systems (STS)

Recommended Sources:

  • A good overview of current research on urban system innovation is offered in this review paper
  • Informed Cities is an initiative run by ICLEI Europe providing insights and network opportunities for transformative action
  • The Transformative Cities platform gathers inspiring practice examples and other useful resources.



Past Conference

  • Nanjing, China 2019

Our session discussed inspiring contributions on diverse leverage points that can trigger wider systemic urban and regional change for sustainability, ranging from environmental conservation to artistic action, urban design and everyday practices. The cases all addressed critical and multi-scalar sustainability challenges that human settlements are confronted with today, identifying how human agency and new forms of collaboration can make a decisive difference. See our summary here.

  • Messina , Italy, 2018
  • We discussed the tension field between current mainstream planning on the one hand, and pressing requirements for achieving transformative change on the other: How does research address the relation between planning and transformation? How does planning practice affect sustainability transformations? How could future transformative planning research/practice look like? See our summary here. 

Most related UN-SDGs

Next Conference: Track 6a

Keep up to date with developments of ISDRS 2023 Track 6a here 

Half-way through Agenda 2030: Assessing the 5Ps of SDGs (people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership)


Who are we?

Prof. Marc Wolfram

Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development, Dresden

Prof.. Liling Huang

National Taiwan University, Taipei

Prof. David Iwaniec

Georgia State University

Prof. Sue Chen Jou

National Taiwan University

Prof. Daphne Mah

Hong Kong Baptist University

LinkedIn Discussions in our Topic group 6a

Recent discourses on the ISDRS LinkedIn discussion group:

Routledge & Earthscans' Sustainability Hub

Partner Organisations