• CLOSER CITIES in general

    • CLOSER CITIES is a multiannual international research project that combines urban practice and urban science. Its focus is on scientific analysis of the question, "How can we optimise the sharing of urban knowledge?" We use an online research platform, data analysis and expert meetings to try to find answers to crucial questions related to sharing urban knowledge. The results of the research are then applied in practice.

    • To obtain good, scientifically substantiated knowledge on the optimal use of urban knowledge, in order to contribute to the realisation of appealing, vital and liveable cities.

    • There are four founding partners: the Erasmus Initiative 'Vital Cities and Citizens' (Erasmus University Rotterdam), the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for BOLD Cities and Nesselaar Urban Consultancy. We work with many other partners as well.

    • The project will begin in January 2021. We will collect practical examples and analyse these over a period of 10 years, and will regularly share our findings with researchers and urban professionals during this time. This period runs in accordance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which, like CLOSER CITIES, are aimed at improving (urban) life around the world.

    • At its core CLOSER CITIES is a research platform with a focus on urban cases. The online platform chiefly serves as part of a scientific research project. In order to make that research possible, we invite urban professionals to share urban projects via the case submission form. Naturally, a substantial number of the cases that are submitted can be perceived as ‘best practices’. Nonetheless, any type of urban project can be submitted – any project is valuable as a research subject.

    • 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.

    • Yes, a lot of very good knowledge is already being exchanged. There are strong urban platforms, partnerships, and many seminars and joint projects. All the same, there's a great deal of unused potential and a lot that we still don't know about the effective application of urban knowledge.

    • Simply that we are passionate about finding the answers to this question. It's a shame to leave potential untapped without reason, and very frustrating too.

    • 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.

    • We hope that people who work in and for cities are just as curious about how to optimise the sharing of urban knowledge as we are! You can mean a lot to the project and naturally there are benefits for you as well.

      • It provides both extremely practical information and scientific research results, including analyses of the platform content, which is accessible free of charge.

      • The platform provides information and inspiration to everyone who works in and for cities.

      • You can get in touch with other urban professionals via the platform.

      • You can share the projects you are working on with the world; perhaps you like the idea of inspiring others, meaning that your knowledge is used around the world.

    • CLOSER CITIES is a non-profit. Any income from its activities will be reinvested in the project, for example in research and education.

    • No, participation is free of charge. Everyone is welcome to access the platform and to share projects.

    • Absolutely! You can make a contribution to CLOSER CITIES even if you're not actively involved in an urban project. You could be an ambassador for the initiative – for example, if you read about a great project somewhere in the world, tip the person responsible, or pass it on to the CLOSER CITIES team yourself.

  • Online platform and Research

    • We are trying to determine the best way to make even better use of urban knowledge, which can be found around the world. We suspect that there are certain factors that stimulate or hinder knowledge-sharing, and we want to investigate these further and substantiate our research.

    • One aspect involves the questions: how divisible is urban knowledge, and how 'interchangeable' are urban projects? What influence does the local context have? On sharing urban knowledge in general, and also around 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, and so on.

    • It is precisely this aspect that underscores the importance of examining how we can utilise existing urban knowledge anyway. Sharing and making optimal use of urban knowledge is challenging, and that's exactly why good research is required. Perhaps, in some cases, not a whole project can be ‘copied’, but elements of the project may be easier to share or transfer. One of the platform’s objectives is to examine how and to what extent this is the case.

    • The website has two important components that are closely related to each other: urban practice (with cases from around the world) and urban science (with scientific contributions). You can choose to visit the platform just to read about the urban projects, research results, and relevant articles. You also have the option of uploading a project yourself.

    • The project is about the interaction of urban practice and urban science. On the online platform, we collect practical examples, which we then use to conduct scientific analysis. We analyse cases from all over the world, and share the results with the platform. The results of the research can then be applied in (urban) practice.

    • 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.

    • We hope to find out how cross-border learning and the exchange of urban knowledge can contribute to the realisation of the SDGs. This is why the SDGs are closely involved in the CLOSER CITIES project. On the case submission form, we ask you to indicate which SDG(s) your project connects with.

    • Let’s take SDG 12.3 as an example. This SDG concerns the reduction of food waste. We would like to find out which projects deal with this issue, how the local context influences the handling of food waste in cities, and are interested in finding out if certain projects or parts of projects can be applied in other cities. We therefore look into the SDGs that are connected to the cases on the platform, and, through various forms of analysis, aim to determine how these cases, or lessons learned along the way, may be of use in sharing knowledge with other cities ­– and, as such, contribute to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Submitting a case

    • Yes! We do prefer that you only submit projects with which you have or had a close affiliation, so that you are able to properly fill out the case submit form.

    • The case submission form includes questions  some background information, the project’s objectives, the status, anything you’d like to share with other urban professionals (e.g. dos and don’ts). Filling out the form will take around 20 minutes. We really hope that you are willing to invest some of your valuable time in our collaborative research project.

    • That would be great! You can share as many projects as you like. However, even sharing just one interesting case already helps us out a lot and helps to develop and enrich the platform.

    • A case or urban project is a project that involves an urban area in some way, regardless of the subject matter or the phase of the project (start-up phase, in development, completed).

    • We are looking for any project that is or has been carried out in an urban environment, ranging from  social projects to sustainability, health, housing, migration, energy transition, stimulating cycling, green roofs and citizen involvement. Any type of project that you’ve been working on and believe is worth sharing can be submitted. 

      You can think of any project:

      - that is simply too good to keep to yourself, a project that you’re proud of!

      - a project that you believe other urban professionals would appreciate learning about.

      - a project that others could perhaps implement in their own cities, if only partially.

  • Privacy and the use of data

    • CLOSER CITIES offers a publicly accessible platform. All submitted information is openly available to its visitors. Further data for research will be anonymised before researchers are granted, in accordance with stringent data policy (GDPR) rules. The database will be used for research purposes only, and will not be shared for other purposes. More information on how we handle data is available in the website’s privacy policy .

  • Partners

    • The CLOSER CITIES project was established by four founding partners: the Erasmus Initiative 'Vital Cities and Citizens’ (Erasmus University Rotterdam), the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for BOLD Cities and Nesselaar Urban Consultancy.

    • The project founders initially invested themselves, and seek further grants and partner subsidies to enable the further development of the CLOSER CITIES project.

  • Contact

    • The easiest way is to send us a message via the contact form on the website. Or send an email to info@closercities.org . We will get back to you as soon as we can.