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The Urban Forum dialogue tool – reflecting on a designerly approach to transdisciplinary research

Curnier, Sonia; Dahl, Per-Johan; Diedrich, Lisa; Kahn, Andrea


With a view to working toward urban sustainability goals, two Swedish research platforms, SLU Urban Futures at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Alnarp (SLU) and the Urban Arena at Lund University, launched Urban Forum, a transdisciplinary dialogue format, in 2019. Designed to foster exchange between practitioners and scholars in the spatial design fields the Forum convenes actors from practice and academia working on matters of shared concern to increase their interaction and defuse preconceptions against each other. The initiative recognizes that academic and non-academic design actors are equally needed to build transformative capacities and reflects two related convictions: that siloing practice and academia is unproductive and that synthetic encounters can serve to reimagine roles and retool mindsets currently hampering mutually beneficial knowledge exchange. This article analyzes a series of Urban Forum events from 2019-21 to extrapolate procedures for overcoming entrenched notions of the practice/academia dynamic; identify criteria for productive knowledge exchange; suggest ways to design transdisciplinary dialogues; and highlight the benefit of involving designerly knowledge and working methods into the transdisciplinary methodology toolbox.


design; knowledge exchange; transdisciplinary research; urban forum; urban sustainability

Publicerad i

The Plan journal
2023, Volym: 8, nummer: 1