Erasmus University participation in Urban Future 2024

Urban Future #UF24, an annual event where thousands of ‘city changers’ from all over the world join to accelerate change and shape a sustainable future for our cities, takes place in Rotterdam from June 5 to 7. Erasmus University will be actively participating in the 3-day event and host a session on the topic of Social Aspects of Change. Together with international partners, we delve into proven tools and methods to engage with citizens, a crucial component of transforming our cities and securing the welfare of future generations.

#UF24 in Rotterdam 

Urban Future, a conference for passionate change-makers, takes place with around 2,500 visitors in Rotterdam this year! During the UF24 conference week, the city of Rotterdam is eager to share its knowledge and discover new ideas from other cities. This fits seamlessly with Rotterdam's character, a city known for its pioneering history in urban transformations, where growth and sustainability are closely integrated. 

During UF24, activists, influencers, and leaders unite to take action. They represent various fields such as urban planning, architecture, mobility, energy, real estate, housing, technology, public administration, and more. The three days at Urban Future are packed with networking opportunities, 100+ conference sessions, workshops and seminars, and field trips. These activities will involve inspiring story-telling, polarising discussions, and unfiltered know-how. City changers from international, national, and local levels will take the stage to discuss the successes and challenges of implementing projects such as the Barcelona Superblocks and the greening of the Champs-Élysées.

Conference session and workshop: Social Aspects of Change

To ensure the well-being of future generations and to adapt to climate change, we must transform our cities and urban lifestyles to embrace sustainability. To grasp how "social" and "green" can coexist, we need to learn how to garner widespread support for "green" initiatives and how to communicate with those who resist.

On Wednesday, June 5, from 16.00 – 17.30, researchers from Erasmus University, including Closer Cities, Vital Cities and Cities (VCC), and the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) will host a 90 minute session and workshop on “From Rotterdam to Nairobi: Proven tools and methods to engage with citizens”. In some districts, collaboration with residents thrives, while in others, city officials and researchers face hostility. This raises questions about the challenges of community engagement and who is truly understanding citizens’ desires and aspirations. Let’s get to the bottom of it. Urban professionals, civil servants and researchers watch out: we learn from Rotterdam, Leipzig, Vienna and Nairobi proven tools to engage with your citizens.

We collaborate with residents on key community challenges through local and international research projects, empowering them to create community-based solutions in urban neighborhoods. Believing in reciprocity, we not only collect data but ensure outcomes are practically relevant to stakeholders. This approach addresses specific issues and generates new knowledge about collaborative research, including its values, principles, and ethics, guiding future projects for lasting urban impact.


Jiska Engelbert (Moderator), Associate Professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam (Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Jurian Edelenbos, Professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam (Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Thorsten Mehnert, Chairman at "Ecken wecken" (Leipzig, Germany)

Christina Neddens, Head of Urban Planning Office at City of Leipzig (Leipzig, Germany)

Oana Stancioiu, Architect / Consultant at nonconform ideenwerkstatt GmbH (Vienna, Austria)

Jan Fransen, Associate Professor Urban Economic Development at Erasmus University Rotterdam (The Randstad, The Netherlands)

Els Leclerq, Designer, Researcher, Lecturer at Design & Publics (The Randstad, The Netherlands)

Emiel Rijshouwer, Researcher at Design & Publics (The Randstad, The Netherlands)


For more information on the program of Urban Future 2024, use this link. Stay tuned for the outcomes of the event!