Vital Cities and Citizens

How can a city give space to diversity and make citizens feel like they belong? How do residents deal with changes within their environment? What role does smart technology play in the governance of a city? Additionally, what is needed for a city to be sustainable and just in the future? These questions are key in the Erasmus Initiative ‘Vital Cities and Citizens.’

Strengthening the quality of life in cities

The aim of the Erasmus Initiative 'Vital Cities and Citizens' is to strengthen the quality of life within cities. We want to achieve this by forming a network with municipalities, civil society organizations, initiatives, companies and the creative industry while sharing knowledge with each other on the basis of scientific research.

Four Main Themes

Covering 4 central themes, over 30 researchers work together from various scientific fields to take on this project. Namely, from the fields of psychology, sociology, public administration, pedagogy, communication, art and culture, history and anthropology. Within the Inclusive Cities and Diversity theme, we investigate the role of residents, policy makers, activists, companies and media in how diverse and inclusive a city is. Resilient Cities and People focuses on how citizens cope with changes in their environment. Smart Cities and Communities concerns the role that smart technology plays in the governance of a city. Lastly, Sustainable and Just Cities focuses on what is required to ensure a sustainable and just city in the future.

VCC researchers set out basic principles of future-proof city

Children in Rotterdam.

Living together in Vital Cities

Living together in vital cities

Research close to practice

We do research into the vitality of the city and its inhabitants. We do this in the city, in collaboration with residents and partners from the same city. Because of this, our research is close to the practice. Considering we deal with current challenges, our research has a positive social impact on cities. 

Sharing knowledge the public

We organize events, webinars, have experts present at meetings and take part in interviews published in the media; all of which can either be heard in podcasts or read in policy letters and blogs. With these efforts, we share our knowledge in an accessible way to a large audience.

Essential conditions for a city

More than half of the world's population lives in urban areas. As that proportion continues to increase, the social structure and culture within cities around the world are becoming more complex and diverse. This development makes the research within the Erasmus Initiative 'Vital Cities and Citizens' considerably relevant. We investigate which conditions are essential for a city when it comes to equality, security, sustainability and citizens living in harmony.


Cities can be seen as interesting living labs to study the complexity of today’s societal challenges. Vital Cities and Citizens demonstrates that scientific knowledge and societal relevance can go hand in hand.
Decaan ESSB Victor Bekkers

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