Urban metabolism is a rather new field of research. We study the amounts and drivers behind resource flows in cities. In contrast to an eco system, where everything goes around and where there is no waste, a city takes in resources, produces and accumulates waste. We should strive to create cities that are like eco systems, where sunshine is the energy and there is no waste. Everything should go around.
Why do I work with cities? The global society is urbanised. More than half the world’s population lives in cities. It is a good way to organise life, where we can share resources more effectively, have good access to services and socialize with each other. But we need to optimise resource use in cities.
To create resource efficient cities is a global challenge. We need to find ways to use resources more equal. Today we use five times more resources than we should in the industrialised countries, while the developing countries use less than their share. That is not fair. Many resources we use leave an ecological footprint behind that becomes a burden for the whole global community. We should find ways to get what we need from less amount of resources and recycle our waste that also will create new businesses.
The position as assistant professor was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me because it gave me freedom in research. Usually a position like this comes with a defined project but not this time. It is not often you will find a place where you can have this freedom.
To get financing for a PhD student is also very good. Usually it takes more than one person to test ideas and it is stimulating to be responsible for a PhD project. There is good support for career development. We get leadership training, experience of advising our own PhD student and a pedagogical package that gives eligibility for University teaching.
I think that Chalmers is a great place to work. All doors are open, without hierarchy. There is a horizontal structure, which makes it very easy to find collaboration. Chalmers is also a very social place. There is more interaction between researchers, and between researchers and students, than elsewhere.
The Areas of Advance creates an exciting possibility, where different fields of research get together. It opens doors for interdisciplinary research collaborations, which is important in my field of research.
We should have good quality of life in mind when we plan cities. For that reason we need expertise in environmental science. My research needs collaboration to ensure urban form and structure with a good quality of water and air. And I want to find ways for a green economy.
It is my believe that cities is the most creative way to live. We meet as people and share and develop ideas. We just need a way to make the cities better.