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In 2017, the Centre for Urban Studies started with its Seed Grant XL programme, in addition to the regular Seed Grants. The Seed Grant XL call serves to support and facilitate bigger and innovative research initiatives of CUS’ research staff, which cannot be realized within the budget of a regular Seed Grant. This a complete list of all the Awarded Seed Grants XL by the Centre for Urban Studies.
Awarded Seed Grants XL
  • Institutional Financialization and Academia’s Historical Immersion into the Marketplace: Progressive Impacts to the University Campus as Illustrated through UvA and LSE

    Awarded to Prof. Dr. Tuna Tasan-Kok, Sean Lewis & Tim Verlaan

    This project aims to demonstrate how institutional financialization has gradually transformed the spatial realm of two urban universities in the Netherlands and England, augmenting the campus to reflect market-based influences. Following the evolution of the post-war Dutch and British welfare states and subsequent rise in neoliberal policy making, institutional academic focus transformed into a multifaceted set of needs, including complex property and fiscal requirements. These twentieth century socio-economic milestones had a profound impact on institutional physical configuration and specialization over time. This research proposes to illustrate how these events have altered university footprints and realigned academia with the free market.

  • Your House, My Memory. Tracing common histories in uncommon cities

    Awarded to Olga Sezneva, Magdalena Szymków & Sarah Beth Woods

    This is a collaborative exploration of a little-known history of property transfers in Eastern Europe after WWII. A sociologist, a filmmaker and an artist, each with the roots in a different ethno-national community – Russian, Polish, and German-American – use their family biographies and histories of their native cities – Kaliningrad, Wroclaw and American Brazenau -- to understand place-making and belonging after a violent conflict. Through the use of moving image, ethnographic research, and site-specific artworks that focus on shared, lived experiences, we trace and document the practices of home occupation and sharing, the memories that these practices produced, and these memories’ material ecologies. The approach has a potential to further the research on the post-violence commonning. The research will result in a publication, research film and art exhibition.

  • Cruising: Urban Studies, Art Practices, and Queerness

    Awarded to Valentina Carraro, Carolina Sepúlveda, Fernando Schrupp Rivero, Jade Mandrake, Heiko Pfreundt, Galo Coca, Ignacio Lira

    The second phase of "Cruising" will focus on queer art practices by young people in a range of selected cities from the global north and south, including curatorial practices related to clubbing and partying. In Phase 1 the project examined the term cruising and their significance in art and cultural spaces. In Phase 2, the "Cruising" project will investigate emerging forms of cruising that expand beyond the traditional understanding of the term. The project will focus on young people and will explore queer art practices related to the emergence of new commoning methods in the public domain, such as partying. Through an interdisciplinary approach, the project aims to inform strategies for developing more equitable and inclusive urban environments, while also highlighting the potential of these practices to shape new forms of community, expression, and resistance.

  • Bolivian Amazon ports: Mapping extended urbanization in hydrosocial territories

    Awarded to Jannes Willems, Fernando Schrupp Rivero, Rutgerd Boelens, Ana Suarez Anzorena, Arie Christoffel Seijmonsbergen, Lies Jacobs

    Waterways are an expression of extended urbanization. The field of urban political ecology has examined conditions of extended urbanization through either more environmental (geomorphological) or socio-political (discursive) research methodologies. This research proposal aims to integrate both methodologies by conceptualizing waterways as hydrosocial territories, validating this conceptualization through a case study of ports in the Bolivian Amazon. By combining geomorphological and discursive analyses, we can reveal the heterogeneous meanings of (seasonal peasant/commercial/military) port infrastructure. The CUS grant will enable fieldwork and establish an interdisciplinary dialogue on extended urbanization with scholars from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

  • Human-to-more-than-human right to the city rhythm visualizer

    Awarded to Mendel Giezen, Debra Solomon & Pinar Sefkatli

    Institutions, communities and nature all behave according to their own rhythms. However, in the development and maintenance of urban greens, they are often not in sync, creating barriers to renaturing cities. Visualizing the rhythms and resource requirements of urban greens and how they engage with the social dynamics of neighbourhoods can be a powerful tool in the co-creation and co-management with local authorities and municipal organisations. Lefebvrian rhythm analysis could provide new understandings bolstering maintenance transformations that support a more-than-human’s right to the city and its renaturing.

  • Food commons within European cities: democracy, commoning and municipalism

    Awarded to Federico Savini, Ying-Tzu Lin, Branwyn Poleykett, Ciska Ulug, Vincent Paul, Stella Archontaki

    The food commons has been celebrated as a means towards a food system that embed sustainability, justice, and care. Defined as food resources shared and governed by communities, the food commons have especially been gaining traction as a means to institutionalize efforts towards urban food sustainability. Drawing upon findings from a 2022 Seed Grant project on food commons in Amsterdam, this Seed Grant XL will look into food commoning in international contexts in Europe and foster knowledge exchange. Specifically, focusing on Barcelona and Ghent, we will carry out desk research, fieldworks and series of events around food governance.

Retrofitting the city green and blue

Awarded to Jochem de Vries, Robert Kloosterman

There is an urgent need to reflect from a social-spatial science perspective on how green and blue spaces can be created, maintained and protected within urban environments to ensure well-being for all. In addition, urban greening can only be understood well and done well, by applying a multi-scalar perspective. Individual pieces of green and blue areas are part of ecological networks and water systems that extend across large areas. Individual projects together have an aggregated effect on the city(region) level as a whole. This aggregated effect determines the extent to which cities become climate-resilient, sustainable and just.

Digitalizing Urban Drug Markets

Awarded to Rivke Jaffe, Carolina Frossard and Jelke Bosma

This research proposes to study the digitalization of urban drug markets, focusing on micro- transactions in illicit drugs in Amsterdam and Rio de Janeiro, two cities with established local drugs markets but contrasting socio-spatial configurations.

Repurposed infrastructures in the Unequal City: Occupation, repair, and alternative futures in Brazil and South Africa

Awarded to Suraya Scheba, Nate Millington, João Tonucci, Gediminas Lesutis, and Christien Klaufus

This research explores practices of infrastructural repurposing through engagements with building and land occupations. 

What’s queer here? Exploring same-sex intimacies in urban northern Ghana

Awarded by Colette Santah, Rachel Spronk and Sruti Bala

Wellbeing in Amsterdam

Awarded to Nicky Pouw & Hebe Verrest with research assistance by Jennifer van Beek

This project aims to address this issue by bringing a household and community-level perspective on wellbeing in conversation with that expressed at municipal level. 

Levelling the Playing-Field of Urban Planning: Co-producing and Commoning Property Market Knowledge

Andre Legarza, Sara Özoğul and Tuna Taşan-Kok

In this proposal, we argue that the gap between urban (planning) and property scholarship can be bridged by creating dialogue between property market actors, planning experts, and scholars.

Conference: Claiming the Streets. Using the Past to Challenge the Present and Imagine the Future of Urban Public Spaces

Awarded to Luca Bertolini, Danielle van den Heuvel, Gamze Saygi and James Symonds

This conference brings together scholars from different disciplines as well as policymakers, artists and other Amsterdam-based stakeholders to tackle questions of in- and exclusivity in the city, by looking at the street as quintessential site of contestation and emancipation, where the contrasting dynamics of ‘enclosing’ and ‘commoning’ most overtly collide. 

Navigating and making urban physical and digital spaces in the Covid‐19 pandemic

Awarded to Maggi Leung, Emiel Martens & Özge Bilgili

With a focus on the challenges faced and strategies used by newcomers in accessing, navigating and making spaces in the city in the time of crisis, the project is tightly connected to urban commons. It focuses on the power of multi‐dimensional diversities in the city and the intersections between physical urban space and digital space in in/exclusion. The goal is to conduct a mixed‐method pilot research, while also taking part and facilitate dialogues on in/exclusion in cities between academics and relevant stakeholders.


Residential integration of immigrants: evidence from residential practices of highly-skilled Chinese in the Netherlands

Awarded to Qiong He, in collaboration with Xin Jin & Val Colic-Peisker

The project aims to understand how international immigrants, especially those highly-skilled Chinese immigrants (that are the largest group of highly-skilled immigrants in OECD countries), strategize on their residential choices and strategies, and negotiate these social and spatial inequalities.

'Commoning with Children in the Fringes of Cities'

Awarded to Francesca Ranalli

The goal of this project is to explore children's perception and experience of urban commons. During this project, children will visit and analyse public spaces in their neighbourhood in Almere Poort, under the guidance of an artist/teacher and the researcher in order to collectively experiment with ways of opening up those spaces in order to meet their needs and desires. Children will work together with policy-makers from the Gemeente Almere, researchers and a local artist in an interactive environment in order to develop socio-spatial tools for improving social cohesion in peri-urban areas. The aim is for an art installation to be designed by the children and the local artist which will be exhibited in Almere Poort. 

This project is supported by the Gemeente Almere, the Coloumbusschool and elementary school De Zeeraket.

'Artist in residence: Sjoerd ter Borg and Aesthetics of Exclusion'

Awarded to Justus Uitermark

'Aesthetics of Exclusion' is a design research project that uses computer vision techniques and machine learning to explore and analyse aesthetical styles that relate to gentrification and processes of (urban) homogenization through large image archives such as (Google) StreetView and Instagram. During the residency, Sjoerd ter Borg will collaborate with members of the Center of Urban Studies (CUS). Based on their academic research, he will experiment with different ways of visualizing data and theory. They will organize open conversations with the scientists working at the center and together develop new experiments, iterations and visualizations of existing and research in progress, focusing on two subprojects in particular: 

Which aesthetics do we associate with gentrification? StreetSwipe lets the audience determine if they think a photo of a storefront of bar should be classified as ‘gentrified’. While swiping, different cities, streets, years and neighbourhoods are compared on a live webpage. The aim of StreetSwipe is to generate new knowledge that is aimed at researching gentrification through its aesthetics (colours, patterns, objects). 

Plaform urbanism
How do people represent the city on digital platforms? And how do these representations feed back into people’s uses of the city? Do social media facilitate a commons or do they spur the commodification of urban space? These questions animate several strands of work at the CUS1 and is highly relevant for debates about city marketing and the symbolic dimension of policy more broadly. Social media practices feed on and back into socio-spatial inequalities. During the residency at the CUS Sjoerd will use different techniques to visualize how the city is reshaped through social media.

'Commoning Amsterdam's Future'

Awarded to Nanke Verloo, Fenne Pinkster, Virginie Mamadouh, Dolly Loomans and Julia Strijland

The city of Amsterdam is quickly expanding, posing new challenges to create plans for the future that foster the wide array of interests and dreams of the people of Amsterdam. While such planning strategies have traditionally been top- down, the municipality now aims to include bottom-up experiences and interests of various stakeholders like residents, entrepreneurs, and professionals. However, only stakeholders working and living in the city center and who were officially invited have thus far been engaged in this process. This project aims to ‘common Amsterdam’s future’ from the bottom-up by including a group of citizens that has so far remained ‘outside’ of the planning process and wider discussions about the city’s plans for the future through the method of storytelling.


'ILLICITIES: Criminalized City-Building'

Awarded to Frank Müller and Julienne Weegels

Organized crime is mainly studied in relation to illicit economies, the cross border movement of migrants, arms and drugs and in the ways in which it discursively and materially justifies military and police responses. In this context, cities assume a crucial role as spaces that concentrate economic wealth and political power. Research on the crime/“city-building” nexus has, to a lesser extent, reflected on the material conditions that shape illicit urbanization. Being essential drivers and objects of those arrangements, land, construction materials, apartments and resources (water, electric energy and gas) as well as the specific design of neighbourhood renewal point to the necessity to include the materiality of cities within the analyses of illicit urbanization. In order to incentivize debates that address this void, ILLICITIES asks how organized crime affects urbanization.


'Between 'Rapefugees' and Nativist Rape Threats'

Awarded to Sarah Bracke and Darshan Vigneswaran

If public space is the primary material manifestation of the ‘urban commons’ – why is it so rarely experienced, accessed or held ‘in common’? The first aim of this project is to bring scholars from different fields (gender studies, migration studies, urban studies) together to think thoroughly and systematically about physical violence and representation in public space. The second aim of this project is to carefully map out how this trope operates in a contemporary Dutch context, where the trope of the ‘foreign’ sexual predator co-occurs with ‘nativist’ rape threats addressed to those who push back against the ‘foreign’ sexual predator trope and envision ways of creating a shared public space.

'Parallel Art Residencies on Queering the Urban: Kingston/Montego Bay, Nairobi, Amsterdam and beyond'

Awarded to Francesco Colona & Tracian Meikle

This artist in residency serves to bridge the gap between academia and art, by articulating them in a non-hierarchical trans-disciplinary process that will also serve as a vehicle for CUS academics to engage with artistic practices. The main aim is to deepen the mutual understanding between the two categories, that of artists and that of scholars, when approaching important societal issues such as those posed by different forms of urbanity, from Kingston and Montego Bay to Nairobi to Amsterdam and beyond. An attempt at co-crafting a mutual form of knowledge production will be paramount, with particular analytical and reflective relevance given to the different sensitivities that are mobilized in these processes. Such effort will find an outcome in a collective art/academic installation/performance at the end of the two parallel art residencies. At the end of the art residency, the artist will be given a space at Pakhuis de Zwijger for their own artwork to be exhibited or performed. Furthermore, the outcomes of these art residencies will “fold back” in Kingston and Nairobi which will be a valuable opportunity for the CUS to forge trans-disciplinary and transnational connections.


'Co-creation: Sharing knowledge between Living Labs in Brownfield Transformation areas'

Awarded to Michaela Hordijk

This seed grant XL project serves to foster experiential learning between actors in the living labs like Buiksloterham and other brown field transformation areas (eg. Cruquius, Amsterdam, Binckhorst, Den Haag). The learning draws on the principles of Reflexive Interactive Design, developed to enhance concrete action by the actors involved, yet simultaneously identifying where changes in the wider system in which their experiment is embedded are needed.  Next to collecting data, a series of workshops and (public) meetings on the Circular City are organized at different locations – namely the Binckhorst in the Hague and Pakhuis de Zwijger - to further knowledge exchange on urban experiments in brownfield transformation areas. A special masterclass for CUS students, PhD’s, junior researchers is organized to present the results to the involved partners from Buiksloterham. Furthermore, the tentative results are presented on an international conference Practicing the commons: Self-governance, cooperation, and institutional change. The end results are presented in a paper to be submitted to a journal and will be used to write a SURF grant proposal.


'Cities and Mobilities'

Awarded to Anna Nikolaeva

“Cities and Mobilities” is a series of seminars in which (inter)national researchers with a background in sociology, geography, urban planning, anthropology, history and cultural studies are engaged to investigate how mobility shapes cities. Each seminar consists of a lecture by a leading mobility scholar, a discussion and a couple of presentations by PhDs and Postdocs, followed by feedback and a public debate. The seminar series will run from October 2017 until May 2018, closed by a final event that will bring together scholars and Amsterdam policy-makers in a roundtable on mobility in Amsterdam.


'Mortgaged Lives: the Biopolitics of Debt and Home-Ownership'

Awarded to Maria Kaika

This project aims to develop methods that link political-economic processes that drive the financialisation of housing to the socio-spatial experience of living with mortgage debt and home repossessions. With Barcelona (300,000 Spanish homes repossessed) and Athens (300,000 Greek households pending evictions) as laboratories, the project pilots an innovative research method for data sourcing by organizing a community theatre and making a documentary together with Hans Busstra, Independent documentary filmmaker (EO, KRO, VPRO Tegenlicht). The documentary will be screened during a public event autumn 2017.