Research Group on Sustainable Cities and Everyday Practice

  • A.C. Meyers Vænge 15

    2450 København SV


Organization profile

Organisation profile

Head of Research Group: Kirsten Gram-Hanssen.

Everyday practices and the organization of cities and households are crucial for a sustainable transition. New technical solutions cannot stand alone, but need to be understood in the context of social organizations and should therefore be developed in cooperation between citizens, authorities and private companies.

Need for new knowledge

The physical layout of cities is crucial for people’s everyday life and low resource consumption. Consumption patterns evolve in still more consuming ways, and knowledge about the relationship between the physical layout of cities and the practices of various social groups is essential to understand and prevent this increasing consumption. The energy system is going through a restructuring with an increasing share of fluctuating renewable energy, and smart energy solutions aim to balance consumption and production. Here, knowledge about the timing of everyday practices is significant. There is also a need for more knowledge about the processes behind the design of cities as well as new tools to be used by local authorities, businesses and citizens in decision-making on physical development. Furthermore, there are differences between urban and rural areas as well as internal divisions in cities in relation to growth and development that must be reflected in future solutions for sustainable transitions.

Research efforts

The research group works empirically and theoretically with household consumption and everyday practice as well as with public, private and civil actors' initiatives in the development of cities and residential areas. The empirical work on household consumption focuses on understanding differences in energy consumption and how households respond to initiatives aimed at changing domestic consumption, including how self-production of energy, such as rooftop solar cells, influences attitudes towards consumption. The theoretical work on household consumption aims at developing practice theory to better include analyzes of gender and social background as well as the importance of ethical norms. The empirical work with cities and residential areas examines local community dynamics, sustainable urban renewal, improving vulnerable urban neighborhoods, climate adaptation in cities, and the integration of the energy and the housing sector at the area level. Urban transition and renewal are analyzed on basis of the theory of sustainable social and economic community development, international literature on New Public Governance and theories on governance, management and organizational learning in complex private-public interaction.


The group collaborates with a wide range of Danish actors within the city, housing and supply sectors such as municipalities, utilities, public and private partnerships, private companies and NGOs. In addition, we collaborate with Danish and international universities and research institutions in order to provide a national and international knowledge base for decision making related to urban and residential sustainable transition. The group members participate in a number of academic networks, such as SCORAIEURA, ECEEE, and the ESA research network on consumption.


The results of the group are communicated through newspapers, professional journals, presentations and direct collaboration with all relevant actors within the development of cities, housing and utilities. In addition, the research is disseminated internationally through scientific journals, by participation in international conferences and through a number of teaching programs at AAU-CPH, including the graduate programs “City, Housing and Settlement” and “Sustainable Cities”.

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Energy utilization Engineering & Materials Science
Heating Engineering & Materials Science
District heating Engineering & Materials Science
Space heating Engineering & Materials Science
energy Social Sciences
Electricity Engineering & Materials Science
theory-practice Social Sciences
energy consumption Social Sciences

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Projects 2013 2028

Research Output 2001 2019

1 Citation (Scopus)

(Re)introducing embodied practical understanding to the sociology of sustainable consumption

Jacobsen, M. H. & Hansen, A. R., 13 May 2019, In : Journal of Consumer Culture.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Social Sciences
Interpersonal Relations

Ageing population in Danish single-family houses: Energy efficiency and other challenges illustrated by the “Single-family housing atlas” and home research

Jensen, J. O. & Mechlenborg, M., 20 Aug 2019, p. 1. 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalPaper without publisher/journalResearch


Architectural Transformation of Disadvantaged Housing Areas: Editors' note

Bech-Danielsen, C., Stender, M. & Mechlenborg, M., 5 Apr 2019, In : Nordic Journal of Architectural Research . 31, 1, p. 5-8 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearch

Activities 2013 2020

Monash University

Simon Peter Aslak Kondrup Larsen (Visiting researcher)
31 Jan 20207 Jul 2020

Activity: Visiting another research institution

The Faculty of Engineering and Science (Organisational unit)

Mette Mechlenborg (Chairman)
1 Jan 2020 → …

Activity: MembershipsMembership of committees, commissions, boards, councils, associations, organisations, or similar


Press / Media

Bor du i lejlighed, så glem elbiler

Toke Haunstrup Christensen & Malene Freudendal-Pedersen


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media

Borgerdialogmøde: Træd ind i fremtidens boliger

Mette Mechlenborg


5 items of Media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media