Sustainable land-use and mobility policies in urban regions enhanced with Unite! seed funding

The Sustainable Land-Use and Mobility Policies and Practices in Urban Regions (SLUMP) project funded with seed money from the Unite! university alliance seeks to identify innovative approaches for bringing decision-making closer together in land-use and mobility policy and practice. The project is coordinated by Professor Dominic Stead from the Department of Built Environment.
Aerial shot of the Korkeakoulunaukio square. There are solar panels on the Väre roof and trees on the square.

Bringing decision-making closer together in land-use and mobility policy and practice offers the potential to improve the attractiveness, resilience, inclusiveness and competitiveness of urban regions. SLUMP project is carried out by four Unite! partner universities – Aalto University, PoliTo, KTH and ULisboa.  

"Planning how and where cities and their mobility infrastructure can expand or contract is complex and challenging, particularly in urban regions", says project coordinator Professor Dominic Stead from the Department of Built Environment at Aalto University. 

"Despite the strong interrelation between land-use and mobility policy, the two policy areas often remain separate both in practice and research. Addressing these challenges is crucial for achieving more sustainable development in urban regions across the world. Research in this area can make an important contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG11 which is concerned with sustainable cities and communities”, explains Professor Stead. 

The activities supported by Unite! seed funding will allow a wide range of representatives from the four partner universities to collaborate, including junior and senior professors, doctoral and postdoctoral researchers, and grant writing advisors. This project will lead to the identification of new research questions and methods and will result in a research proposal for an EU-funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) Doctoral Network, as well as, two journal articles authored by the project participants. 

In order to develop the MSCA research proposal, a number of focused activities will be organised to extend the existing academic links between the project partners and strengthen the quality of the proposal. These activities will include research seminars, networking events, brainstorming and peer feedback workshops, dialogues with practitioners, writing retreats, and a roundtable at the AESOP Congress in July 2024.  

Project partners  

The project involves collaboration between four partner universities with highly complementary research interests. The location of the partners in Northern and Southern Europe will provide a range of perspectives on the theme. 

Aalto University 

  • Permanent academic Dominic Stead, project coordinator 
  • Permanent academic Raine Mäntysalo  
  • Postdoctoral researcher Eva Purkarthofer  
  • Postdoctoral researcher Linda Karjalainen  
  • Postdoctoral researcher Tiina Rinne 
  • PhD researcher Maria Käpyvaara  
  • PhD researcher Oya Duman 
  • PhD researcher Thu Pham 


  • Permanent academic Giancarlo Cotella  
  • Permanent academic Umberto Janin Rivolin  
  • Permanent academic Loris Servillo  
  • Tenured track academic Elisabetta Vitale Brovarone  
  • Tenured track academic Elena Camilla Pede  
  • Permanent academic Luca Staricco  


  • Permanent academic Nuno Marques da Costa  
  • Permanent academic Mario Ferreira Do Vale  
  • Permanent academic Eduarda Marques da Costa  
  • Permanent academic Margarida Queirós  
  • Tenured track academic Patrícia Abrantes  


  • Permanent academic Jonathan Metzger  
  • Postdoctoral researcher Emilia Smeds  
  • Permanent academic Karolina Isaksson  
  • Permanent academic Peter Brokking  
  • Permanent academic Maria Håkansson  

What is the Unite! Seed Fund? 

Unite! offers financial boost for innovative ideas from teachers, researchers and students across the Unite! alliance of nine European universities. With this funding Unite! wants to activate the co-creation of e.g. joint research projects, study offers, blended intensive programmes, long-term collaborations in teaching and/or research units as well as extra-curricular or intercultural activities by students.

Applications for Teaching & Learning and Research & PhD seed fund

  • must include at least three Unite! member universities
  • up to 10 000 Euros for "exploration" activities like for establishing contacts and formulating collaboration ideas
  • up to 80 000 Euros for development activities like building blended/joint courses or developing joint research proposals

The next round of Unite! Seed Fund applications for categories Teaching & Learning as well as Research & PhD takes place in spring 2024. Seed Fund for Student Activities is open until 15 December, 2023. 

Read more about the Unite! Seed Fund (goes to Unite!'s website)

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Apply for seed funding to create collaborative activities with students from other Unite! universities

Get up to 20 000 Euros for a collaborative project. Deadline for applications is 15 December, 2023.

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