Judith Schicklinski at the 2015 Expo © unibz

Researchers from the Free University Bozen/Bolzano at the 2015 Expo © unibz


Judith Schicklinski, Civil society actors as drivers of socio-ecological transition? - Green spaces in European cities as laboratories of social innovation, WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 102, June 2015

Thomas Sauer, Susanne Elsen, Stefan Kuhn, Stephanie Barnebeck, Cristina Garzillo, Yannick Kalff and Judith Schicklinski, Cities: Places of new European prosperity. Compendium of case studies on the socio-ecological transition of urban commons, WWWforEurope Deliverable No. 6, March 2015

Thomas Sauer, Stephanie Barnebeck, Yannick Kalff and Judith Schicklinski, The Role of Cities in the Socio-Ecological Transition of Europe (ROCSET), WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 93, March 2015

WWWforEurope at the 2015 Expo in Milan


WWWforEurope at the 2015 Expo

Expo topic: Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life

Milan, Italy, May 1 - October 31, 2015

Expo website


"Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life" – the Expo Milano 2015 event theme – points to the importance of food and nutrition in reaching a sustainable future. However, it is difficult to imagine that the average consumer turns into a more conscious one at the end of his/her visit, having learned about the issue of food sovereignty as well as trade and food justice in a global context.

This is because civil society representatives as well as the issues of fair trade and organic food were far from taking centre stage, although this was expected from the Expo’s demand to show solutions of how "being able to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the Planet and its equilibrium."

Still, on October 21st, 2015, Judith Schicklinski of the Free University of Bozen/Bolzano had the possibility to explain the research and present results from her WWWforEurope research on "The Role of Cities in the Socio-Ecological Transition of Europe" to visitors at the unibz-South Tyrol stand.

Urban gardening and agriculture, as one form of re-appropriating urban green spaces and turning them into commons, becomes ever more important for sustainably govern urban green spaces in European cities. It enables citizens to feed themselves with fresh vegetables, raises awareness of and counters increasing development pressure, land consumption, and privatisation tendencies and even helps to mitigate public and private poverty in a rising number of cities.

"Can you imagine a city without green spaces?" – this question made numerous visitors stop at the stand engaging in a conversation about the controversial use of public urban green spaces and the potential of food production in the city for the socio-ecological transition. They did not leave before taking with them a little paper bag containing sunflower seeds to be planted next spring on public or private green spaces in their country of origin.


undefinedWatch a video of the unibz experience at the Expo (German language)

undefinedFind more WWWforEurope research on these topics here.