Suvi Huikuri

DPhil in Sustainable Urban Development


Governance of sustainability transitions at societal level

Research abstract

This thesis examines the role of cities in accelerating sustainability transitions at the societal level. Deriving from case studies of cities with different political regimes and backgrounds in driving change towards sustainability – New York, Berlin and Mexico City – this research explores what are the objectives, means of implementation and socio-political facilitators/challenges of sustainability transitions in selected cities, and how the findings contribute to existing theoretical discussion on the governance of urban sustainability.


Idalina Baptista


I started my DPhil in October 2017. I hold a Master's Degree in Social Sciences from the University of Helsinki, Finland (2010) majoring in sociology. After graduating I worked at the Ministry of Environment and at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health of Finland (2010-2012), and then moved to Japan to work for WHO on urban governance research (2012-2014). Since 2014, I have been located in New York holding positions at WHO and UNDP. My current research derives from my past experiences in working on urban and climate change governance, which has been my passion for years.


Li B., Huikuri S., Zhang Y. & Chen W., 2015. Motivating Intersectoral Collaboration with the Hygienic City Campaign in Jinchang. Environment and Urbanization, 27(1): pp. 1-18.

Dawson J., Huikuri S. & Armada F., 2015. Liverpool Active City 2005–2010: Increasing Population Physical Activity Levels through Intersectoral Action. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 12(6): pp. 749-55.

Huikuri S., 2013. Healthy Urban Planning. Public Health Information Bulletin, 11/2013 (published in Japanese).

Huikuri S., 2011. Dispute over Climate. Justifications Presented by Global North and Global South during the UNFCCC Climate Negotiations 2005–2008. Sosiologia, 48(1): pp. 52-66. (Published in Finnish as: Kiista ilmastosta. Uuden ilmastosopimuksen oikeutukset Helsingin Sanomissa ja The Times of Indiassa vuosina 2005–2008).

Papers and lectures

WHO’s Work on Urban Health: Interlinkages of Sustainable Development Goals 3 (health) and 11 (urbanization), side-event for Intergovernmental Negotiations of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UN Headquarters, New York, NY, U.S.A, 2015

Age-friendly Cities, NGO Committee on Ageing, UN Church Center, New York, NY, U.S.A, 2014

Healthy Urban Planning and Intersectoral Action, 51st International Making Cities Liveable Conference, Portland, OR, U.S.A, 2014

Healthy and Equitable Urban Planning through Intersectoral Action, 7th World Urban Forum, Medellin, Colombia, 2014

Research interests

Sustainable Urban Development, Climate Change, Transition Governance, Socio-Political Change