Making our cities more resilient, inclusive, smart and sustainable

Research awards for projects on vital cities
Earth taken from space - city lights

Researchers at the International Institute of Social Studies are among the recipients of a €1.4m grant to carry out interdisciplinary research projects on cities with positive societal impact.

Falling under the Erasmus Initiative Vital Cities and Citizens (VCC) umbrella, seven projects were finally selected for funding, two of which are led by ISS researchers. The two-year post-doc research projects will investigate how social, cultural and economic transformations affect the quality of city life.

Bottom-up practices and resilience strategies in informal settlements

Dr Georgina Gomez, with colleagues Dr Lasse Gerrits from the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies and Dr Andrea Floridi (ISS) will collaborate on a project explaining in what ways residents of informal settlements transform and (re)vitalize the spatial, social, economic and institutional environment surrounding them.

They will compare case studies from Cameroon, Indonesia, and El Salvador to explore under what conditions collaboration between multiple actors (local governments, businesses and citizen’ associations in the field) achieve success in revitalizing their environment.

The project aims at theorizing the concept of the borderlands, a field of interaction between formal and informal institutions. The project will conclude with a meta-analysis of mechanisms to improve policy effectiveness.

Digital inclusion of small installation firms in post-industrial cities

ISS professor Peter Knorringa and his colleague from the Erasmus School of Management have collaborated with researchers Dr Erwin van Tuijl (ISS), Dr Emiel Rijshower (Centre for BOLD Cities) and Jasmin Hofman (impact manager) to address the challenge of digital inclusion of small installation firms in energy transitions through a comparative analysis of post-industrial cities along three analytical angles.

  • First, they explore how and why small installation firms use different platforms and, accordingly, the opportunities and challenges of platforms for these firms’ business.
  • Second, they elucidate how frugality – an approach to solving local problems through complexity reduction when resources are limited – can help to achieve digital inclusion and energy transitions.
  • Third, they analyse urban policies and assets and aim to provide recommendations on how cities can support energy transitions and small installation firms’ business.


Find out about all 7 projects on cities with positive societal impact

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