Urban Vitalism

Reclaiming the city from an urban vitalism perspective

This project develops a new interdisciplinary language on urban development to connect scholars from various (inter)disciplinary backgrounds through the concept of “urban vitalism”. What defines a vital city and how can we reclaim the smart, resilient, just sustainable and inclusive city from an urban vitalism point of view?

How are we conducting the research?

With the program “Vital Cities and Citizens” it is our mission to help cities to thrive as inclusive, resilient, smart, and sustainable just places to live, grow up and work in. The concept of urban vitalism can help us achieve this goal. Hence, we strive to give urban vitalism a prominent place in today’s literature and develop an interdisciplinary research community. We aim to do this by organizing meetings and discussion on this topic. We also take action to show the world the potentials of the concept of ‘urban vitalism’ by publishing our research in an open access special issue devoted to this topic in the journal Cities. Vijftig scholars from twenty countries contribute to this special issue to further developing the concept of urban vitalism.

How does our research make impact?

The special issue will consist of around 15 papers, written by an international group of authors from different disciplines. They all touch upon one or more of the four themes that we have distinguished in the position paper (1) the lived city, (2) the adaptive and transformative capacities of urban residents and communities, (3) the city as a power construct and (4) private and community-based initiatives. We use the lens of urban vitalism to critically discuss the developments towards inclusive and diverse cities, smart cities and communities, resilient cities and sustainable just cities.

In the media

The ideas emerging from this project are disseminated via various channels and forms for outreach. Below a few examples are provided:

  • dr. Jose Nederhand

    Manager Research and Impact Vital Cities and Citizens

    With a background in public administration and media studies, José’s research focuses on public participation and responsive local government.

  • dr. Jan Fransen

    Theme Lead Resilient and Smart Cities

    With a background in development studies, Jan’s research focuses on social and economic resilience and initiatives.

    Email address
  • dr. Flor Avelino

    Theme Lead Sustainable Just Cities

    With a background in political sciences, Flor’s research focuses on sustainability transitions and power relations.

  • prof. dr. Jurian Edelenbos

    Academic Director Vital Cities and Citizens

    In his research, Jurian pays special attention to governance networks, community-based initiatives and boundary-spanning leadership.  

Courses: Managing Interactive Governance
Thesis supervision
Lecturers: dr. José Nederhand, dr. Flor Avelino, prof. dr. Jurian Edelenbos


Courses: Urban Sustainability
Thesis supervision
Lecturers: dr. José Nederhand, dr. Jan Fransen


Courses: Urban Economic Development
Thesis supervision
Lecturers: dr. Jan Fransen

Supervisor: prof. dr. Jurian Edelenbos


The project is funded by Vital Cities and Citizens.


Cities in the The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning


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