Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 763–782 | Cite as

Urban ecosystems and sustainable urban development—analysing and assessing interacting systems in the Stockholm region

  • Ulla Mörtberg
  • Jan Haas
  • Andreas Zetterberg
  • Joel P. Franklin
  • Daniel Jonsson
  • Brian Deal


In order to build competence for sustainability analysis and assessment of urban systems, it is seen as essential to build on models representing urban form, landuse and transportation, urban metabolism, as well as ecological processes. This type of analysis of interacting sub-systems requires an advanced model integration platform, yet open for learning and for further development. Moreover, since the aim is to increase urban experience with ecosystem management in the wide sense, the platform needs to be open and easily available, with high visualisation capacity. For this purpose, the LEAM model was applied to the Stockholm Region and two potential future scenarios were developed, resulting from alternative policies. The scenarios differed widely and the dense urban development of Scenario Compact could be visualised, destroying much of the Greenstructure of Stockholm, while Scenario Urban Nature steered the development more to outer suburbs and some sprawl. For demonstration of the need for further development of biodiversity assessment models, a network model tied to a prioritised ecological profile was applied and altered by the scenarios. It could be shown that the Greenstructure did not support this profile very well. Thus, there is a need for dynamic models for negotiations, finding alternative solutions and interacting with other models. The LEAM Stockholm case study is planned to be further developed, to interact with more advanced transport and land use models, as well as analysing energy systems and urban water issues. This will enable integrated sustainability analysis and assessment of complex urban systems, for integration in the planning process in Stockholm as well as for comparative sustainability studies between different cities, with the goal to build more sustainable urban systems and to increase urban experiences in ecosystem management.


Urban ecosystems Urban development Interacting urban systems Biodiversity Ecosystem services Model integration 



This international cooperation between KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden and University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaigne, USA, was supported by the ABE School Urban Research Cluster at KTH, lead by Professor Vladimir Cvetkovic, to whom we are much obliged. We are also grateful for comments on earlier versions of the manuscript by three anonymous reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulla Mörtberg
    • 1
  • Jan Haas
    • 2
  • Andreas Zetterberg
    • 1
  • Joel P. Franklin
    • 3
  • Daniel Jonsson
    • 3
  • Brian Deal
    • 4
  1. 1.Environmental Management and Assessment Research Group, Department of Land and Water Resources EngineeringKTH Royal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Division of Geoinformatics, Department of Urban Planning and EnvironmentKTH Royal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Department of Transport ScienceKTH Royal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden
  4. 4.Department of Urban and Regional PlanningUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA

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