Thomas Elmqvist

Thomas Elmqvist
Stockholm University | SU · Stockholm Resilience Centre

Professor, PhD

About

208
Publications
181,642
Reads
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27,685
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2007 - present
Stockholm Resilience Centre
Position
  • Professor
January 2007 - present
Stockholm University
Position
  • Professor
January 1988 - December 1988
Brigham Young University - Provo Main Campus
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (208)
Article
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Cities have grown rapidly—while they provide opportunities for many, they must also confront pervasive and rising inequality, unsustainable consumption, and growing vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. Recent research emphasizes the need to improve urban resilience and sustainability in the face of climate change, but offers circumscribe...
Article
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Urban infrastructure will require transformative changes to adapt to changing disturbance patterns. We ask what new opportunities hybrid infrastructure-built environments coupled with landscape-scale biophysical structures and processes-offer for building different layers of resilience critical for dealing with increased variation in the frequency,...
Article
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There is an emerging consensus that the health of the planet depends on the coexistence between rapidly growing cities and the natural world. One strategy for guiding cities towards sustainability is to facilitate a planning process based on positive visions for urban systems among actors and stakeholders. This paper presents the Urban Nature Futur...
Article
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Record climate extremes are reducing urban liveability, compounding inequality, and threatening infrastructure. Adaptation measures that integrate technological, nature-based, and social solutions can provide multiple co-benefits to address complex socioecological issues in cities while increasing resilience to potential impacts. However, there rem...
Article
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Population ageing and shrinking are demographic phenomena with far-reaching implications for sustainability in the current context of extensive and rapid urbanization. This Perspective rationalizes their interface by (a) identifying the challenges and opportunities that ageing and shrinking urban populations will have for implementing the sustainab...
Chapter
To capture the many complexities, we adopt a broad approach to urban governance, encompassing the diverse combinations of formal, informal and/or customary/traditional institutions and practices in urban areas of the Global South. The broad arguments are illustrated with appropriate examples and boxed case studies to illustrate important dimensions...
Article
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Key insights on needs in urban regional governance - Global urbanization (the increasing concentration in urban settlements of the increasing world population), is a driver and accelerator of shifts in diversity, new cross-scale interactions, decoupling from ecological processes, increasing risk and exposure to shocks. Responding to the challenges...
Article
Climate change is reshaping the comparative advantage of regions and hence driving migration flows, principally toward urban areas. Migration has multiple benefits and costs in both origin and destination regions. Coordinated policies that recognize how and why people move can reduce future costs and facilitate adaptation to climate change both wit...
Chapter
Landscape fragmentation is a major driver of biodiversity loss, reducing the capacity of landscapes to provide essential ecological functions and ecosystem services. Landscapes that are fragmented and severely disturbed by human activity may also be vulnerable to alien invasive species that cause further loss of biodiversity. This chapter provides...
Article
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A recent coffee leaf rust epidemic has generated a severe fall in Coffea arabica production throughout Mexico and Central America. This paper analyzes the social–ecological crisis presented by the Hemileia vastatrix outbreak, with a focus on how global, regional and national dynamics interact with local processes in the Chiapas Sierra Madre of sout...
Article
By 2030, an additional 1.2 billion people are forecast in urban areas globally. We review the scientific literature (n = 922 studies) to assess direct and indirect impacts of urban growth on habitat and biodiversity. Direct impacts are cumulatively substantial, with 290,000 km2 of natural habitat forecast to be converted to urban land uses between...
Article
In this study we explore species richness and traits across two urban gradients in the City of Cape Town. The first is the natural-urban boundary and the second is a socio-economic gradient informed by historical race-based apartheid planning. Plant species and cover were recorded in 156 plots sampled from conservation areas, private gardens, and p...
Chapter
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Cities are experiencing multiple impacts from global environmental change, and the degree to which they will need to cope with and adapt to these challenges will continue to increase. We argue that a ‘complex systems and resilience management’ view may significantly help guide future urban development through innovative integration of, for example,...
Chapter
We have entered the Anthropocene—an era when humans are a dominant geological force—and at the same time we have entered an Urban Age. Creating healthy, habitable, urban living spaces for so many more people will be one of the defining challenges of our time. The quality of city environments—both their built and natural components—will determine th...
Article
We have entered the urban century and addressing a broad suite of sustainability challenges in urban areas is increasingly key for our chances to transform the entire planet towards sustainability. For example, cities are responsible for 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions and, at the same time, 90% of urban areas are situated on coastlines, mak...
Technical Report
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What follows here is the Panel’s call for a global urban science. This call takes the three elements of this phrase in a different light from the often popular and at times unnuanced use if the terms. It is ‘global’ in a cosmopolitan sense as pertaining to and reaching out worldwide, irrespective of socio-economic status to the variety of urban con...
Technical Report
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This century will be remembered as the urban century. Our generation will witness the most signi cant urban growth in human history. By 2050, there will be 2.4 billion more people in cities, a rate of urban growth that is equivalent to building a city with the population of London every seven weeks. Humanity will urbanize an area of 1.2 million km2...
Article
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Cities are currently experiencing serious, multifaceted impacts from global environmental change, especially climate change, and the degree to which they will need to cope with and adapt to such challenges will continue to increase. A complex systems approach inspired by evolutionary theory can inform strategies for policies and interventions to de...
Article
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By 2050, there are forecast to be 2.4 billion more people in cities, and this century could rightly be called the urban century. This paper argues that, paradoxically, without the use of nature the urban century will fail. We review three literatures to assess the scientific support for this proposition. First, studies from economics show that it i...
Book
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Global assessment, at the request of the Convention on Biological Diversity, of where urban growth affects biodiversity
Article
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Human relationships with trees can result in widespread citizen-led reforestation projects that catalyze social–biological-reinforcing feedback loops and set in motion virtuous cycles that restore perturbed social–ecological systems. These virtuous cycles confer resilience in such systems that counterbalance the tendency for vicious cycles to be tr...
Chapter
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Global urbanization promises better services, stronger economies, and more connections; it also carries risks and unforeseeable consequences. To deepen our understanding of this complex process and its importance for global sustainability, we need to build interdisciplinary knowledge around a systems approach. Urban Planet takes an integrative look...
Chapter
Full-text available
Global urbanization promises better services, stronger economies, and more connections; it also carries risks and unforeseeable consequences. To deepen our understanding of this complex process and its importance for global sustainability, we need to build interdisciplinary knowledge around a systems approach. Urban Planet takes an integrative look...
Chapter
Full-text available
Global urbanization promises better services, stronger economies, and more connections; it also carries risks and unforeseeable consequences. To deepen our understanding of this complex process and its importance for global sustainability, we need to build interdisciplinary knowledge around a systems approach. Urban Planet takes an integrative look...
Chapter
Full-text available
Global urbanization promises better services, stronger economies, and more connections; it also carries risks and unforeseeable consequences. To deepen our understanding of this complex process and its importance for global sustainability, we need to build interdisciplinary knowledge around a systems approach. Urban Planet takes an integrative look...
Chapter
Ecosystem services provide water, food, shelter, fuelwood, fibres, and medicinal plants, and contribute to local and global climate regulation, moderation of extreme events, run-off mitigation, erosion prevention, waste treatment, air purification, noise reduction, pollination, biological control, and biodiversity—conditions that all directly and i...
Article
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Despite growing interest in urban resilience, remarkably little is known about vegetation dynamics in the aftermath of a major urban flooding. In this study, we examined the composition and structure of plant communities across New Orleans (Louisiana, USA) following catastrophic flooding triggered by levee failures during Hurricane Katrina in 2005....
Research
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In Asia, urban water security garners much greater attention than any other water-related issue. This is largely because of deteriorating infrastructure, rising demand for water and sanitation, water pollution, floods, and ineffective decision-making, all of which threaten city residents’ safety and security. This policy brief presents several scie...
Chapter
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This chapter explains the importance of telling the story of “advancing urbanization”—both the global acceleration of urbanization and the promise offered by urbanization—for urban environmental education. It argues that cities—their design and how we live in them—will be key in our struggle for sustainability, indeed our future. As cities grow, as...
Article
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Indigenous peoples and local communities live in, manage and own vast areas often rich in biodiversity and critical for ecosystem services. Bridging indigenous and local knowledge systems with scientific knowledge systems is vital to enhance knowledge, practice, and ethics to move towards sustainability at multiple scales. We focus on international...
Article
Scientific quality is hard to define, and numbers are easy to look at. But bibliometrics are warping science — encouraging quantity over quality.
Article
The New Urban Agenda, being adopted at Habitat III, requires a coherent and legible global urban scientific community to provide expertise to direct and assess progress on urban sustainability transformations. As we have commented in Nature’s special section on Habitat III, the urban research community is currently institutionally marginalized and...
Article
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A United Nations conference seeks urban sustainability. But the agenda will fail without input from researchers
Article
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The combination of climate change and urbanization projected to occur until 2050 poses new challenges for land-use planning, not least in terms of reducing urban vulnerability to hazards from projected increases in the frequency and intensity of climate extremes. Interest in investments in green infrastructure (interconnected systems of parks, wetl...
Article
Functional traits have been proposed as a more mechanistic way than species data alone to connect biodiversity to ecosystem processes and function in ecological research. Recently, this framework has also been broadened to include connections of traits to ecosystem services. While many links between traits and ecosystem processes/functions are easi...
Article
Understanding the dynamics of urban ecosystem services is a necessary requirement for adequate planning, management, and governance of urban green infrastructure. Through the three-year Urban Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (URBES) research project, we conducted case study and comparative research on urban biodiversity and ecosystem services ac...
Article
Land-use planning is an important determinant for green space policy in cities. It defines land covers and hence the structure and function of urban ecosystems and the benefits these provide to humans, such as air purification, urban cooling, runoff mitigation, and recreation. The ecosystem service approach has helped to attract policy attention to...
Article
Urban ecology is a field encompassing multiple disciplines and practical applications and has grown rapidly. However, the field is heterogeneous as a global inquiry with multiple theoretical and conceptual frameworks, variable research approaches, and a lack of coordination among multiple schools of thought and research foci. Here, we present an in...
Article
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Cities are a key nexus of the relationship between people and nature and are huge centers of demand for ecosystem services and also generate extremely large environmental impacts. Current projections of rapid expansion of urban areas present fundamental challenges and also opportunities to design more livable, healthy and resilient cities (e.g. ada...
Article
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The central challenge of the 21st century is to develop economic, social, and governance systems capable of ending poverty and achieving sustainable levels of population and consumption while securing the life-support systems underpinning current and future human well-being. Essential to meeting this challenge is the incorporation of natural capita...
Article
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This is the accepted manuscript of a paper that will be published in PNAS. It is currently under an infinite embargo.
Article
Full-text available
The central challenge of the 21st century is to develop economic, social, and governance systems capable of ending poverty and achieving sustainable levels of population and consumption while securing the life-support systems underpinning current and future human well-being. Essential to meeting this challenge is the incorporation of natural capita...
Technical Report
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An EU R&I agenda on nature-based solutions is an essential component to greening the economy and achieving sustainable development. To contribute to the development of this R&I agenda, the Expert Group on 'Nature-Based Solutions and Re-Naturing Cities' was commissioned. The expert group engaged in forward-looking reflection on future orientations f...
Article
In the wake of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that devastated part of northeastern Japan in March 2011, proposals for reconstruction and rehabilitation are still subjects of debate. The claim by many climate scientists that large-scale extreme events can be expected in the future, with similar catastrophic effects in coastal areas, suggest...
Article
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Indigenous and local knowledge systems as well as practitioners’ knowledge can provide valid and useful knowledge to enhance our understanding of governance of biodiversity and ecosystems for human well-being. There is, therefore, a great need within emerging global assessment programs, such as the IPBES and other international efforts, to develop...