Closer Cities

Impact by sharing urban knowledge

Closer Cities is a 10-year urban research project (2021-2030) dedicated to developing a better understanding of urban knowledge sharing to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

What do we study?

Closer Cities aims to unravel the mechanisms of knowledge sharing. The project connects urban science and urban practice by translating scientific insights into pragmatic guidelines and tools for urban professionals. Research questions addressed by Closer Cities focus on characterising different types of knowledge sharing and the stimulating and limiting factors in these processes.  

How do we study?

Cities around the world face the same challenges and may benefit from each other’s experiences. Knowledge sharing is a long-term, ongoing process. Research projects are often too short to capture this. Closer Cities is unique in its long-term focus (10 years) on knowledge exchange of wicked problems which have a major impact on the daily life in cities around the world, while considering sharing both explicit and tacit knowledge. We adopt an impact-oriented research approach whereby we work closely with the target audience (as a form of action research). We strive for a global movement for knowledge sharing through our online platform! 

How does our research make an impact?

To enhance shareability of knowledge, we use our online platform to invite urban professionals to share their urban projects. We conduct data analysis on the submitted projects which helps us to uncover connections between SDGs and various topics. We study how such practices can be upscaled and shared, and how knowledge can be adjusted to another urban context. On top of that we conduct experimental action research: we share knowledge during events, such as workshops and co-creating labs, and study how sharing leads to new practices and new ideas to be shared. More in-depth knowledge is collected via interviews and seminars 


Closer Cities has four founding partners: Erasmus Initiative Vital Cities and Citizens, Nesselaar Urban Consultancy, Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, and Leiden Delft Erasmus Centre for BOLD Cities.  


The first phase of the Closer Cities project (including development of the online platform) was financed by the founding partners. The initiators seek further grants and partner subsidies to enable further development of Closer Cities. Funding in 2021 included contributions by RVO (for development) and Erasmus Trust Fund (for project in Reyeroord). 

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