CLOSER CITIES is a new research initiative that focuses on sharing urban knowledge. On our research-driven platform, we connect urban practice and urban science. Professionals from around the world share their projects and the lessons they learned along the way. Scientists from various universities offer insights into their research. Furthermore, they study the shared cases and examine the factors that contribute to the “shareability” of urban projects. 

Only a small amount of the knowledge we acquire while addressing societal issues is shared among cities and urban professionals. How can we optimise the worldwide exchange and sharing of urban knowledge? And how can optimising sharing contribute to reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals? The CLOSER CITIES initiative is aimed at answering these questions and helping cities share their expertise. 


The purpose of CLOSER CITIES is to obtain scientifically substantiated knowledge on the optimal use of urban knowledge, with the aim to contribute to the realisation of appealing, vital and liveable cities, for instance via the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Our motivation and commitment

CLOSER CITIES’ founding partners are highly motivated to help optimise the sharing of urban knowledge. Urban professionals exchange knowledge in many ways, but this process can definitely be improvwd. There is still a great deal of untapped potential: countless urban initiatives worldwide deserve more attention than they currently receive. At the same time, others might greatly benefit from learning about these other urban projects, and perhaps even implement them in their own cities. CLOSER CITIES is not just another ‘best practice’ platform – our online platform is actually a method, a way to collect important data which our affiliated researchers can then analyse. The scientific insights obtained will be applied in practice, in cities all around the world.


There are many ways urban knowledge can be shared, and sharing is thus a broad concept. 'Sharing' can also be interpreted broadly within CLOSER CITIES: you can share your project on the digital platform (for inspiration), but sharing can also mean that someone else is keen to take parts of your project (or the entire project) and implement these in their own city. We also share knowledge through the expert meetings we will organise in the coming years.
One aspect involves the questions: how shareable is urban knowledge, and how can urban projects be translated to other local contexts? We look into sharing urban knowledge on the whole, but also examine specific issues, such as bike-sharing systems, the approach to green roofs, energy transition, projects for refugees, reducing loneliness in the elderly, how cities are dealing with COVID-19, the water-energy-food nexus, etc.

How does the platform work?

Urban professionals from around the world share their projects via the case submission forms. The answers they provide enable us to uncover connections, for example via the topics and SDGs these projects concern. By analysing the data on how visitors perceive and share the collected cases, we aim to find out which factors influence the 'shareability' of urban projects. The results of these analyses will be shared on the online platform, in order to help cities share their projects and collect the information that could improve their own urban environment. All of the information we collect and analyse is accessible free of charge.

What’s in it for you? Why would you be part of the project?

We hope you will see the CLOSER CITIES project as a valuable opportunity. This research-oriented platform enables  you to share a project with other professionals and scientists, who may be able to make use of this information in their own practice. If many of us (practitioners, scientists, others) contribute, this will make a major contribution to the research and data analysis.