SGO9206A – The implications of covid-19 for socially inclusive transformations to sustainability A

Course content

This PhD course focuses on socially-inclusive and sustainable responses to COVID-19. Lectures will emphasize the social, economic, political, and environmental implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, with particular attention to equitable and inclusive responses to both the pandemic and sustainability challenges in urban areas. Participants are requested to apply insights on and approaches to socially-inclusive responses to their own work, which does not have to be specifically linked to the covid-19 pandemic. 

The course is organized by Per Gunnar Røe and Karen O’ Brien from the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo.

Per Gunnar Røe is Professor of Human Geography at the University of Oslo. His current research focuses on the social implications of urban sustainability and planning, and how to develop equitable and socially inclusive strategies. 

Karen O'Brien is Professor of Human Geography at the University of Oslo. Her current research focuses on transformations to sustainability, and how alternative paradigms, politics, and practices can contribute to generating equitable and inclusive responses to global environmental change. 

Robin Leichenko is Professor of Geography at Rutgers University and co-Director of the Rutgers Climate Institute. She is also co-chair of the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC). Her current research is focused on incorporating equity into climate change adaptation planning in New York and elsewhere.

Roger Keil is Professor and Research Chair in Global Sub/Urban Studies at York University in Toronto. He was the Principal Investigator of the Major Collaborative Research Initiative on Global Suburbanisms (2010-19). His current research focuses on global suburbanization, urban political ecology and regional governance. 

Lars Böcker is Senior Researcher and Human Geographer at the Institute for Transport Economics in Oslo. His current research focuses on travel behaviour, urban metabolism, sustainable urban planning, climate/weather and the sharing economy. 



The course will be open to applications from all interested PhD students nationally and internationally.

All PhD students (included students at the Department of Sociology and Human Geography) register for the course by filling out this application form. Registration is binding and not possible without sending in your project description. The registration deadline is three weeks prior the course, that is November 16th 2020. 

Overlapping courses

2 ECTS overlap with SGO9206B.


This course is full-digital and going to be set up via Zoom Webinar. The link to the webinar is going to be sent to all registered participants. 

The course will run during one week, including lectures and interactive seminars. Lectures will include group discussions in break-out-rooms.


Monday 7th December 2020

Before lunch (09-12): Introduction (Karen and/or Per Gunnar) and PhD presentations

After lunch (13-15): Karen O'Brien, lecture: “Inclusive Responses to COVID-19 and Sustainability: From Fragmented to Fractal Approaches”


Tuesday 8th December

Before lunch (09-12): PhD presentations

After lunch (13-15): Roger Keil, lecture: "COVID city: Dimensions of the peripheral in urban society"

Thursday 10th December

Before lunch (09-12): PhD presentations

After lunch (13-15): Robin Leichenko, lecture: "Equity dimensions around COVID and climate change: Planning for urban resilience"


Friday 11th December

Before lunch (09-12): PhD presentations

After lunch (13-15): Lars Böcker and Per Gunnar Røe, lecture: "Mobility, health and inclusive urban epidemic resilience"


Karen O’Brien: “Inclusive Responses to COVID-19 and Sustainability: From Fragmented to Fractal Approaches”

Baldwin, Mark P., and Timothy M. Lenton. 2020. “Solving the Climate Crisis: Lessons from Ozone Depletion and COVID-19.Global Sustainability 3: e29. 

Barbier, Edward B., and Joanne C. Burgess. 2020. “Sustainability and Development after COVID-19.World Development 135 (November): 105082. 

Downton, Paul. 2009. “Chapter 1- The Ground Plan.” Pages 19-40 in “Ecopolis: Architecture and Cities for a Changing Climate. Springer and CSIRO Publishing.

Hawkes, Corinna. 2020. “Five Steps towards a Global Reset: Lessons from COVID-19.” Global Sustainability 3: e30. 

IPBES. 2020. IPBES Workshop on Biodiversity and Pandemics: Executive Summary. 

Perey, Robert. 2014. “Organizing Sustainability and the Problem of Scale: Local, Global, or Fractal?Organization & Environment 27 (3): 215–22.


Roger Keil: "COVID city: Dimensions of the peripheral in urban society"

Acuto, Michele, Shaun Larcom, Roger Keil, Mehrnaz Ghojeh, Tom Lindsay, Chiara Camponeschi, and Susan Parnell. 2020. “Seeing COVID-19 through an Urban Lens.Nature Sustainability, September. 

Biglieri, Samantha, Lorenzo De Vidovich, and Roger Keil. 2020. “City as the Core of Contagion? Repositioning COVID-19 at the Social and Spatial Periphery of Urban Society.Cities & Health, July, 1–3. 

Connolly, Creighton, Roger Keil, and S. Harris Ali. 2020. “Extended Urbanisation and the Spatialities of Infectious Disease: Demographic Change, Infrastructure and Governance.” Urban Studies, March, 004209802091087. 

Keil, Roger. 2020. The Space and Time a Pandemic Makes. disP 222 · 56.3 (3/2020): 4-9.

Rogers, Dallas, Miles Herbert, Carolyn Whitzman, Eugene McCann, Paul J. Maginn, Beth Watts, Ashraful Alam, et al. 2020. “The City Under COVID‐19: Podcasting As Digital Methodology.” Tijdschrift Voor Economische En Sociale Geografie 111 (3): 434–50. 


Robin Leichenko: "Equity dimensions around COVID and climate change: Planning for urban resilience"

Abedi, Vida, Oluwaseyi Olulana, Venkatesh Avula, Durgesh Chaudhary, Ayesha Khan, Shima Shahjouei, Jiang Li, and Ramin Zand. “Racial, Economic, and Health Inequality and COVID-19 Infection in the United States.Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, September 1, 2020. 

Bowleg, Lisa. “We’re Not All in This Together: On COVID-19, Intersectionality, and Structural Inequality.American Journal of Public Health 110, no. 7 (July 2020): 917–917.

Cave, Ben, Jinhee Kim, Francesca Viliani, and Patrick Harris. “Applying an Equity Lens to Urban Policy Measures for COVID-19 in Four Cities.Cities & Health, July 30, 2020, 1–5.

Foster, Sheila, Robin Leichenko, Khai Hoan Nguyen, Reginald Blake, Howard Kunreuther, Malgosia Madajewicz, Elisaveta P. Petkova, et al. “New York City Panel on Climate Change 2019 Report Chapter 6: Community‐Based Assessments of Adaptation and Equity.Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1439, no. 1 (March 2019): 126–73. 

Gaynor, Tia Sherèe, and Meghan E. Wilson. “Social Vulnerability and Equity: The Disproportionate Impact of COVID ‐19.Public Administration Review 80, no. 5 (September 2020): 832–38. 

Leichenko, Robin. “Climate Change and Urban Resilience.Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 3, no. 3 (May 2011): 164–68. 

Meerow, Sara, Pani Pajouhesh, and Thaddeus R. Miller. “Social Equity in Urban Resilience Planning.Local Environment 24, no. 9 (September 2, 2019): 793–808. 


Lars Böcker & Per Gunnar Røe: "Mobility, health and inclusive urban epidemic resilience"

Cave, Ben, Jinhee Kim, Francesca Viliani, and Patrick Harris. “Applying an Equity Lens to Urban Policy Measures for COVID-19 in Four Cities.Cities & Health, July 30, 2020, 1–5. 

Budd, L., & Ison, S. (2020). Responsible Transport: A post-COVID agenda for transport policy and practiceTransportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives6, 100151. 

Cole, H. V. S., Anguelovski, I., Baró, F., García-Lamarca, M., Kotsila, M., Pérez del Pulgar, C., Shokry, G. & Triguero-Mas, M. (2020). The COVID-19 pandemic: power and privilege, gentrification, and urban environmental justice in the global north. Cities & Health

De Vos, J. (2020). The effect of COVID-19 and subsequent social distancing on travel behavior. Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives, 100121. 

Hamidi, S., Sabouri, S. & Ewing Reid (2020). Does Density Aggravate the COVID-19 Pandemic? Early Findings and Lessons for Planners. Journal of the American Planning Association

Kuhlicke, C., Steinführer, A., Begg, C., ... & Lemkow, L. (2011). Perspectives on social capacity building for natural hazards: outlining an emerging field of research and practice in Europe. Environmental Science & Policy, 14(7), 804-814. 

Scott, M. (2020). Covid-19, Place-making and Health. Planning Theory & Practice

Shamshiripour, A., Rahimi, E., Shabanpour, R., & Mohammadian, A. K. (2020). How is COVID-19 reshaping activity-travel behavior? Evidence from a comprehensive survey in ChicagoTransportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives7, 100216. 


Other references that may assist us in preparing the lectures

Amadasun, Solomon. 2020. “COVID-19 Palaver: Ending Rights Violations of Vulnerable Groups in Africa.World Development 134 (October): 105054. 

Arnold, Emma. 2020. Mercurial images of the Covid-19 city. Invited book chapter.

Cohen, Maurie J. 2020. “Does the COVID-19 Outbreak Mark the Onset of a Sustainable Consumption Transition?Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy 16 (1): 1–3. 

Crawford, Victoria. 2020. “How COVID-19 Might Help Us Win the Fight against Climate Change.” World Economic Forum. 2020. 

Gebreslassie, Mulualem G. 2020. “COVID-19 and Energy Access: An Opportunity or a Challenge for the African Continent?Energy Research & Social Science 68 (October): 101677. 

Jiang, Peng, Xiuju Fu, Yee Van Fan, Jiří Jaromír Klemeš, Piao Chen, Stefan Ma, and Wanbing Zhang. 2021. “Spatial-Temporal Potential Exposure Risk Analytics and Urban Sustainability Impacts Related to COVID-19 Mitigation: A Perspective from Car Mobility Behaviour.Journal of Cleaner Production 279 (January): 123673. h

Kanda, Wisdom, and Paula Kivimaa. 2020. “What Opportunities Could the COVID-19 Outbreak Offer for Sustainability Transitions Research on Electricity and Mobility?Energy Research & Social Science 68 (October): 101666. 

Lai, Ka Yan, Chris Webster, Sarika Kumari, and Chinmoy Sarkar. 2020. “The Nature of Cities and the Covid-19 Pandemic.Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, August, S1877343520300622. 

Le Quéré, Corinne, Robert B. Jackson, Matthew W. Jones, Adam J. P. Smith, Sam Abernethy, Robbie M. Andrew, Anthony J. De-Gol, et al. 2020. “Temporary Reduction in Daily Global CO2 Emissions during the COVID-19 Forced Confinement.” Nature Climate Change, May. 

Perey, Robert. 2014. “Organizing Sustainability and the Problem of Scale: Local, Global, or Fractal?Organization & Environment 27 (3): 215–22.

Samuelsson, Karl, Stephan Barthel, Johan Colding, Gloria Macassa, and Matteo Giusti. “Urban Nature as a Source of Resilience during Social Distancing amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic.” Preprint. Open Science Framework, April 17, 2020. 

Venter, Zander S, David N Barton, Vegard Gundersen, Helene Figari, and Megan Nowell. “Urban Nature in a Time of Crisis: Recreational Use of Green Space Increases during the COVID-19 Outbreak in Oslo, Norway.Environmental Research Letters 15, no. 10 (October 6, 2020): 104075. 

Wallace, Rob, Alex Liebman, Luis Fernando Chaves, and Rodrick Wallace. 2020. “COVID-19 and Circuits of Capital.Monthly Review, May, 1–15. 


PhD students interested in attending only the lectures can receive 2 study points for this course. See SGO9206B.


To obtain 5 ECTS credits:

- active class participation on all days of the course

- presentation of your PhD project

- readings

- submission of a paper of minimum 4 000 words, to be submitted by January 31st 2021. 


Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Facts about this course


Autumn 2020


Autumn 2020

Teaching language