Research Agenda: Biocities of the future

Wilkes-Allemann, Jerylee; Van der Velde, Rene; Kopp, Mira; Bernasconi, Andreas; Karaca, Elisabeth; Coleman Brantschen, Evelyn Constance; Cepic, Slavica; Tomicevic-Dubljevic, Jelena; Bauer, Nicole; Petit-Boix, Anna; Cueva, Jessica; Živojinović, Ivana; Leipold, Sina; Saha, Somidh (2022). Research Agenda: Biocities of the future Joensuu, Finland: European Forest Institute (EFI) 10.36333/rs4

[img] Text
EFI_Network_Fund_Report_Biocities_Research_Agenda_2022-s.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (1MB) | Request a copy

call for the preparation of a Green Book of Biocities and a Research Agenda for Biocities of the Future. The Research Agenda is intended as a foundational document for further research and initiatives to be undertaken by the new EFI Biocities Facility launched in 2022 in Rome (Italy). A number of conditions, developments and critical notions form the backdrop to this study: • the continuing pattern of migration to cities globally, and related urbanization patterns and processes; • the interrelationships of cities and the urban realm to global problems (and global solutions); • the fact that cities are inherently complex, that the urban issue is multifaceted, and that solutions are by consequence interrelated and demand interdisciplinary attention; • that the cities of tomorrow face an increasing number of challenges, and are of an increasing diversity; • that cities have been, and are expected to remain, crucibles of development and innovation in areas of technology, economics, culture, society and politics; • that forests, greenspace and the natural world can become central to a paradigm shift in understanding, ordering and acting in the (bio)city of the future; • that the notion of a Biocity resonates with similar initiatives such as eco-urbanism, nature-based solutions and green cities, but aims to critically extend and enlarge on these concepts through the involvement of more diverse branches of research and practice, their effective integration and contextualization, and through the exploration of novel cross-cutting perspectives. The overall objective of the agenda is to contribute towards transforming existing cities to Biocities and provide a framework for new urban developments. Biocities can be defined from the perspective of ‘desirable futures’ (based on a vision developed by the parallel work of another project consortium on the Green Book of Biocities). Critical variables that impact future pathways towards Biocities and point towards areas for further action and research include: (i) degrees of political stability; compatibility of political systems to principles; political commitment to principles; flexibility and adaptability of regulatory and legislative systems; degree of inclusion and participation of communities; (ii) volatility of economic conditions internationally, nationally and locally; predisposition of communities and governments to expand value concepts beyond the monetary; (iii) willingness and capacity of urban communities to adapt to systemic changes required of certain principles; awareness of motivations behind transitions to various principles; migration patterns, the future of work, demographic trends; (iv) development of necessary technological innovations; uptake of technology; (v) availability of natural resources; speed of anthropogenic impacts on planetary boundaries. On the basis of these critical variables, scenarios reveal to what extent the Biocity goals may be reached, resulting in a first set of overarching research challenges, which include: reconciling different perceptions by getting and keeping interest groups involved; interoperability between green space management and urban development; funding and implementation; impacting culture and behaviour towards transformation. Learning from these overarching themes, five key topic areas are identified as a framework for elaboration of a research agenda to facilitate the transition to Biocities: (1) circular bioeconomy, (2) climate resilience, (3) governance, (4) social and human environment, and (5) biodiversity. Our results show that various challenges arise from different perspectives in these topic areas, such as life-cycle management, cultural change, prioritisation of sustainable approaches, urban carbon storage, infrastructural adaptation, bio-resilience, participation, cross-sectoral planning, systemic integration of health and wellbeing, and spatial sustainability. Further, several knowledge areas and research gaps emerge that need to be addressed from the social sciences and humanities, as well as from ecology, civil engineering, architecture and spatial planning and design. Examples include: conceptual research on the circular bioeconomy and urban biodiversity; modelling of the urban microclimate, local health impacts and global supply chain effects; methodologies and standards for impact assessment and participatory planning; historical and contextual research on green, blue and grey infrastructure across cities. For the implementation of greener, cooler and more resilient cities, further knowledge is needed on urban innovation, transition, participation, inequality, inclusiveness management, health and human wellbeing, suitable policies and strategies and the science-policy interface. The implementation of the Research Agenda will require five pathways: (i) an international coordinated research effort, (ii) interdisciplinary networks, (iii) integration of other initiatives, (iv) conceptual capacity building and (v) support for emerging disciplines. The implementation of the Research Agenda is expected to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals in an urban context, as well as to support the Green Deal Strategy of the European Commission and the promotion of One Health.

Item Type:

Report (Report)


School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL
School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL > Multifunctional Forest Management > Forest Policy and International Forest Management


Wilkes-Allemann, Jerylee;
Van der Velde, Rene;
Kopp, Mira;
Bernasconi, Andreas;
Karaca, Elisabeth;
Coleman Brantschen, Evelyn Constance;
Cepic, Slavica;
Tomicevic-Dubljevic, Jelena;
Bauer, Nicole;
Petit-Boix, Anna;
Cueva, Jessica;
Živojinović, Ivana;
Leipold, Sina and
Saha, Somidh


S Agriculture > SD Forestry




European Forest Institute (EFI)


[UNSPECIFIED] European Forest Institute






Jerylee Wilkes-Allemann

Date Deposited:

10 Jan 2023 16:48

Last Modified:

10 Jan 2023 16:48

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Biocities, Research Agenda, Urban Forestry




Actions (login required)

View Item View Item
Provide Feedback