Working with visions of a sustainable society

In the project GöTEBORG 2050 we develop visions of a future city and region of Göteborg in a sustainable world. Images of  a long-term sustainable future are used in the project to stimulate and foster an accelerated movement towards sustainability using a methodology called backcasting. The project GöTEBORG 2050 includes components of research, scenario development, support for strategic planning, dialogue with the public, visualisations, and support for demonstration projects.

The project is a co-operative effort between the Chalmers University of Technology and Göteborg University, the City of Göteborg with its municipal administration, and the city energy utility (Göteborg Energi AB) and other public municipal and regional companies.

The project is active in a number of planning processes in the City of Göteborg and the Göteborg region, using the backcasting method (see below). We supply visionary and sustainability-focused input into the development of a new energy plan for the city (Solar City Göteborg 2050). We are also active in the planning processes for the city's urban planning and the city's waste management planning. The project is also supplying visionary input in a process where the Göteborg region is evaluating sustainable transportation futures.

The project also reaches into the areas of building construction, time use, industrial development, food, and consumption of goods and services.

Underlying all scenario work in the project is the understanding that social sustainability, The Good Life, is just as important as reaching environmental sustainability. Another important goal for the project is to have an outreach to the general public. Through exhibitions, meetings, media interaction and information work  we reach out to the citizens of Göteborg in order to show positive visions of a sustainable future. The project is also proactive in initiating demonstration projects that show the sustainable world already today.

The project is supported by The City of Göteborg, Göteborg Energi AB, Chalmers University of Technology and Göteborg University. Additional financial support is received from the Swedish National Energy Administration and the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (Formas), Region Västra Götaland and Renova.

The project work will be completed in 2004, but the work for a sustainable future will continue within the Göteborg Region.  

Using backcasting in order to move towards sustainability

In the project GöTEBORG 2050 we use a method known as backcasting in order to use visions of the future as a tool for fostering change towards a more sustainable city and region. The method involves four steps.  


1.       Analyse the present situation

2.       Examine and decide upon criteria for sustainability

3.      Create alternative scenarios

4.      Use the scenarios to promote change

It is our conviction, after working with this method for some time, that it is possible to use visions and images of the future to accelerate the rate of sustainable development.

Hans Eek
Architect SAR

Göteborg Energi AB
P.O. Box 53
SE-401 20 Göteborg, SWEDEN

Tel: +46 31 626950
Fax: +46 31 626885

Johan Swahn

Department of Physical Resource Theory
Chalmers University of Technology and Göteborg University
SE-412 96 Göteborg, SWEDEN

Tel: +46 31 7723130
Fax +46 31 7723150
E-mail :