Hello. This is Lena Neij, and today, I will talk about visions for the cities of the future. What will future cities look like, and what actions do we need to take in order to develop sustainable cities? In order to move in a more sustainable direction, we need visions of how sustainable cities can look like in the future. We need to create images that help us to visualize how this future can materialize, and what actions are needed in order to realize these visions. Visions and ideas about the future, can show us how to change direction and move toward sustainability. Visions are vital for mobilizing individuals, organizations towards creating greener cities. Many cities experience poor air quality, poisonous emissions, noise, and degradation of natural resources that lead to serious environmental and health problems. Researchers and policymakers across the globe tend to agree that something needs to change, and bold visions for the future can help initiate that change. Officials illustrate an alternative future, a city that is livable, exciting, while minimizing the impacts on the environment. Visions provide goals, directions that can lead towards a sustainable future. Many of these visions may look bold, but they also highlight alternative city structures. New modes of transportation, new types of exciting buildings. For example, vertical greenhouses like this one that is being developed here in Sweden right now. It's also important that local communities define sustainability from their own perspective. This will make sure their vision is appropriate to the local context and accepted by the community. Visions can be used as a point of discussion among different stakeholders and in turn, be further refined by their input. Here we see a vision developed by a students at Lund University. This vision illustrate artificial islands constructed outside Malmo as a measure to adapt to climate change, extreme weather events, and rising sea levels. Visions are not only about the distant future, but can also be used to accelerate near-term changes. Green roofs can reduce the negative impacts of heavy rain, and provide insulation to cool down buildings in summer and keep them warmer in the winter, as well as many other benefits like improve air quality and biodiversity. Green roofs are already being used and developed in many cities around the world. We can find many examples of this right here in Sweden. A good example already existing in one city can also be used as a vision for other cities. Visions can also be applied in experiments with changing this existing city. An example is how New York City in collaboration with Danish firm, Gehl Architects, experimented with visions of its city squares. In 2009, they closed Times Square to cars and they developed into a nice open area with cafes and bicycle lines. The idea was to experiment with the concept by using only paint and temporary furniture for the first stage of transformation, and then evaluate the results for successive stages. With positive feedback, the city is continuing to refine Times Square as a new sustainable space in the center of the city. Similar experiments bringing sustainable visions to life, are being developed in many cities today. Various methods have been developed and are applied to construct visions and discuss what actions should be taken in order to realize those visions. The vision-making process should begin with a discussion between the city and the different actors around the problem that need to be addressed. For example, pollution and climate change. One method known as back-casting can then be applied. Essentially, this involves working backwards from a vision to identify necessary system shifts and potential barriers. The key question at this stage is, if we want to realize a certain vision, actions must be taken to connect the future vision with the present reality. A back-casting study can also demonstrate a tension between short-term actions and long-term goals. It does this by identifying steps in the transition process that can't be reached without more radical changes than the changes that are currently being implemented. In this way, back-casting can also challenge cities to assess whether their current policies really align with their future visions and ambition. The evaluation of various actions along the way to achieving visions is important. By evaluating, we can see if policies and actions are successful in moving the city towards its goals. The development of Western Harbor in Malmo, provides a good example of how evaluation can improve the process of sustainable urban transformation. The vision is to transform the area into a sustainable neighborhood. The area has been developed in stages, all of them being evaluated to provide important insights for the next stages. For example, the requirements of energy efficiency of the buildings being developed in the first ways, were relatively tough. The requirements were lowered in the second phase, and the third phase, they combined lowered requirements with tougher voluntary requirements. In this way, the experimental construction in the first stage was developed into more mainstream action that are now used in other areas of Malmo. Visions challenge what is conceived as possible. At the same time, long-term visions are an underlying foundation for achieving sustainable urban transformation. Visions can be utilized to build and to bind a network of actors. Visions can also serve as a bridge between different perspectives, it contribute to shared learning. In my research, I continue to explore how we can improve participation and interaction between public authorities, private actors, citizens, and academia.