Professor Beth Perry has given a keynote lecture at the University of Helsinki’s Pathways to Sustainability Transformations event. The event was organised as the first Sustainable Science Day of the new Helsinki Sustainability Science Centre (HELSUS). Held in the Great Hall in central Helsinki, the programme was opened by Prof. Director Jeffrey Sachs of the Center for Sustainable Development, University of Columbia and the former Finnish President, Tarja Halonen.

Beth’s keynote was entitled ‘Coproducing Urban Transformations’ and drew on the Mistra Urban Futures and ESRC Urban Transformations work to ask three key questions:

•    What is coproduction and why does it matter for sustainable urban transformations?
•    How do you ‘do’ coproduction?
•    What critical issues does coproduction raise for sustainable urban transformations?

Beth argued that we need to reclaim coproduction from its muddied roots in support of radical urban transformations. Coproduction needs shared progressive values: that means a flattening of power and knowledge hierarchies, a commitment to progressive social, ecological and spatial outcomes and a common set of values. Coproduction is not a method but a mindset, or ethos and set of practices. It demands attention to research design and processes which have emergent properties. Methods can help or hinder coproduction but they cannot guarantee it. She reflected on critical challenges, strengths and limits of coproduction, in particular in relation to cross-boundary working, the need for inter-referential reflexivity and institutional design.

A video of the presentations is available on the University of Helsinki’s unitube site: (2hrs 17 onwards)

Pathways to Sustainability Transformation

Skip to main content What are the pathways that lead to a more sustainable world? Pathways to Sustainability Transformation Science Day provides a discussion forum for researchers, students, policy makers, companies and other interest groups. More videos in the series