The world is facing complex challenges in a context of rapid urbanization, digitalization and globalization. The research group Urban business and Development at Malmö University aims to contribute to sustainable urban development through research and education in collaboration with actors from the public, private, and civic societies.

A dynamic urban context offers both opportunities and challenges for society. Different actors in an urban context are crucial to successful transformative and inclusive development. Understanding the economic driving forces and the interaction between business and urban contexts are our research group a key to understanding urban studies. Changes in the underlying economy lead to changes in infrastructure, houses, buildings, urban amenities, and so on - but also the people occupying everyday life in the urban contexts are changing. Structural changes are reinforced, as demonstrated by e-commerce preferences, working from home and/or at shared office spaces, new consumption patterns and attitudes, altogether affecting everyday life. The societal challenges create limits and opportunities for how to use limited resources.

Collaboration, innovation and complex solutions

As the challenges we are facing are complex, no simple solutions are available, and no single actor will manage to make the change on their own. Innovation is needed to meet the accelerated demand for affordable housing, well-connected transport systems, logistics and basic urban services, as well as the provision of jobs. It will be important to understand the role and driving forces of different actors in response to adaptability and change, as the new conditions provide opportunities for creativity and innovation. This implies that there is a demand for collaboration between different actors in the business and urban contexts. Important business actors in the urban context are, for example, those working with real estate and transportation businesses as they hold central positions regarding the sustainable development of the urban context. Important urban actors are, for example, business municipalities, universities, NGOs and civic communities. It is important to include actors working in those sectors on a journey towards more sustainable urban contexts in the world, as such contexts are strongly connected to their surroundings. Thus, urban and regional development are mutually dependent.

UN's Sustainable Development Goals in urban contexts

The interwoven nature of these challenges is elaborated and presented in UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the research group Urban Business and Development engage in addressing SDG challenges in urban contexts.