For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!
You are using a browser that is no longer supported by Microsoft. Please upgrade your browser. The site may not present itself correctly if you continue browsing.

Awarded Seed Grants

Centre for Urban Studies

In 2015, the Centre for Urban Studies started with its seed grant programme, which aims to support and facilitate research initiatives of CUS’ research staff. This a complete list of all the Awarded Seed Grants by the Centre for Urban Studies.

'Beyond Technosolutionism: exploring the role of the social sciences in 'smart cities' and unraveling the impact of mobility innovations'

Awarded to Anna Nikolaeva

In this project Anna Nikolaeva zooms in on and then unravels solutions related to mobility and see how social scientists can intervene earlier, asking critical questions such as: What do these innovations mean in terms of the larger societal effects? How do they affect the way that people engage with each other and with their wider social and spatial environment? What practices and subjectivities do they bring to life or marginalise?
This project positions mobility not as case or focus but as a medium through which a variety of changes are and will be happening in tech-driven urban projects, a Trojan horse, of sorts.
This seed grant supports the organization of a seminar in Amsterdam where guests aim to answer key questions on if and how social scientists can become more visible and relevant in the very early stages of urban innovations.

'Towards a CUS Agenda for Future Smart Cities'

Awarded to Marco te Brömmelstroet

With the new chair on Urban Mobility Futures, the Centre for Urban Studies has created a direct link with the urban development company AM for a five-year period. Due to its manifestations in a large range of urban development projects and the increasing importance of innovation in 'smart city' projects in their tendring attempts, AM is deeply embedded into a much wider ecology of relevant businesses and clients. This awarded seed grant supports a first step towards exploring the connections between academic critical thinking and the ongoing practices of such an important player in urban development. The aim is to develop a constructive-critical dialogue about the future of our cities through the organization of multiple workshops with academics and practitioners.

'Post-Growth Planning: foundations for an urbanization beyond competition'

Awarded to Federico Savini, Antonio Ferreira and Kim Carlotta von Schönfeld

This grant will support the organization of a symposium to rethink the dominance of economic growth ambitions in contemporary urban and regional planning. The aim of the symposium is to enable the editing of a book about post-growth planning. The book will offer range of contributions that reflect on the multiple dimensions, instruments, narratives and visions of a planning paradigm that is emancipated from ideals of perpetuous economic growth. In particular, the scholars aim at achieving an interdisciplinary account of the broad constellation of practices of post-growth that aim to promote alternative forms of urban living based on principles of commoning, solidarity, reciprocity, well-being and happiness.

'Critical Perspectives on Governance by Sustainable Development Goals: Education, Sustainability and Inclusive Development'

Awarded to Mieke Lopes Cardozo, Maarten Bavinck and Joyeeta Gupta

This CUS seed grant supports the organization of the oncoming CSDS conference on the 23rd and 24th of June 2020. The Sustainable Development Goals reflect an integrated scholarship on social and environmental issues and has led to a global political determination of priorities. If this is to be implemented, this will have impacts on the way we conduct research and teach. For a part, the 2020 CSDS conference centres around how the SDGs reshape our education agenda in the area of urban studies. During the conference there will be specific 'urban' sessions on e.g. the circular city, degrowth and education for sustainability.

'Public Conversations on Gentrification and Art in the Bijlmer'

Awarded to Tracian Meikle

From the perspective of Art as a part of the Commons, various kinds of public art become a part of cities through the initiatives of governmental agencies, NGO's and other private initiatives. However, Art as Commons can mask the inequalities that are present in the process of creating art pieces and spaces. What are the assumptions that are being made when public art is brought into a certain neighbourhood?
 What are the structures of power that are made apparent when one troubles the neutrality of art as the commons? How does art for the public reflect, re-inscribe or diminish inequalities within the public that it seeks to serve? These questions are explored by looking at public art and creative projects in the Bijlmer neighbourhood in Amsterdam.

'Managing Urban Airspace - A Pilot Study'

Awarded to Tina Harris

City skies are becoming more crowded. Aviation regulators are faced with several tensions: how to facilitate an increasingly aeromobile population in and out of major airports, how to ‘simplify’ urban airspaces, and how to simultaneously curb CO2 emissions. The main solutions to these tensions are fixes that modify time and/or space in order to increase capacity and maintain the smooth flow of air traffic into and over urban areas. This pilot project aims to bring together air traffic controllers (ATCs) from two cities – Kathmandu and Amsterdam – in order to better understand the effects of these urban technological-environmental transformations on their working lives: learning new systems and technologies while dealing with increased stress and a global labour shortage in ATCs.

'The Canal Belt as Gucci Bag' - research project

Awarded to Fenne Pinkster and Willem Boterman

Since its construction in the 17th century, the Canal Belt has been a place of great symbolic and economic importance for the city and the country. Today, it is a world renowned place attracting visitors from around the globe. Yet the Canal Belt is more than a place of business and leisure for all of the city and beyond. It is also a residential neighbourhood and home to diverse range of residents, from born-and-raised Amsterdammers to new international residents. In this study, Pinkster and Boterman investigate how residents appreciate living in this highly dynamic environment, exploring how the neighbourhood functions both locally and globally as an aspirational residential space for many, while at the same time identifying possible challenges and tensions that arise in the everyday by the combination of different functions. By expanding their study to include the experiences of new residents, the researchers hope to provide further insight into the future of Amsterdam’s city center as a place of residence.


'Alternative Urban Futures - Towards a Critical Research Agenda'

Awarded to Letizia Chiappini

More than ever, alternative urban futures are needed if any prospect is to be retained of an urban world that is socially just, environmentally sustainable, and capable of caring for the diversity of urban life. This event marks the launch of two co-edited books. Both publications cover alternative urban spaces across civic, private, and public spheres that emerge in response to the great challenges that urban actors are currently confronted with. The event will bring together contributors in order to spark an international dialogue about the production of alternative urban spaces.

The event will consist of three parts: a tour of alternative sites and urban commons in Amsterdam, an academic workshop where chapter authors and invited CUS academics will discuss the possibilities of a shared research agenda on seeking alternative urban futures and a public event where selected speakers will present work pertaining to alternative urbanism in Amsterdam, followed by a panel debate with academics, activists, planners, and politicians.


'The urban politics of immigration and diversity in Amsterdam and New York City' - international workshop

Awarded to Floris Vermeulen and Els de Graauw

This workshop brings together politicians from New York City and Amsterdam with urban scholars to discuss different urban approaches to immigration, integration, representation, and diversity.  The aim is to reflect critically on different urban approaches to managing and leveraging immigration-induced diversity. This international workshop is part of Pakhuis de Zwijger's 'We Make The City' programme.


'It's the (new) law: responsibility, flexibility and city futures' - seminar series

Awarded to Tuna Tasan-Kok, Michiel Stapper, Danielle Chevalier and Martijn van den Hurk

In these seminar series, that bring together academics from various disciplines and public-sectpr planners and politicians, the discursive and practical implications of the new 'Omgevingswet' (Environment and Planning Act) are explored and discussed. In particular, the processes of responsibilisation, flexibilisation and experimentation are deliberated in relation to real-life cases.


'The new geographies of the European City' - seminar

Awarded to Wouter van Gent, Marco Bontje and Willem Boterman

This seminar seeks to answer the question: what constitutes the European city in the 21st century? How may we understand its specific institutional and spatial context and what are the social implications across the continent? The wish is to edit a special issue based on our central question for a journal such as Urban Studies or Cities.


'Gentrification throughout the ages' - workshop

Awarded to Cody Hochstenbach and Tim Verlaan

This seed grant aims to bring together academics from the fields of urban geography, urban history and other urban studies-related subdisciplines to fill the remarkable gap on the historical understanding of gentrification. As output the organisers hope to publish the workshop papers in a special issue of the peer-reviewed City journal.


‘Commoning work - an art project’

Awarded to Marguerite van den Berg and Lisette Olsthoorn

This seed grant envisions a collaboration across the arts and sciences on the topic of the urban commoning of labour. A plan for a visual art project on women’s experiences with (reproductive) labour will be developed, as well as a grant proposal for a more extensive project.


'Urban Scene Investigation' - international workshop

Awarded to Jan Rath

A series of international workshops will focus on how the proliferation of urban amenities affects the cultural consumption of the new middle classes, and how those processes relate to urban identities, life styles and the urban commons.


Digital affordances and urban politics’ - international workshop

Awarded to Francesca Pilo'    

Digital technologies can democratize access to urban knowledge production and policy formulation, but can equally enable increased surveillance and the commodification of private information. This project aims to explore how both urban residents and governance actors negotiate this tension between democracy and control. International urban scholars will come together during a workshop to explore this question from different disciplinary and methodological perspectives.


'The Right to Build' - international exhibition and week of self built housing

Awarded to Willem Salet, Daniel Bossuyt and Stan Majoor

Housing construction worldwide is increasingly directly commissioned by residents themselves. The international exhibition 'The Right to Build', the accompanying publication, and a series of seminars works towards an international comparison of practises of self built housing. The events will take place during fall 2019.


‘Horizons, Chronicity & the City’  

Submitted by Alana Osbourne 

This international, two-day workshop aims to be a multidisciplinary event in which  scholars working on issues around temporality and space are invited to debate with researchers at the Centre for Urban Studies/UvA. The workshop will focus on understandings of horizons and the merging of past, present, and future temporalities with the urban. 

Expected output: international participants are invited to write a one-page think piece, so that the invited speakers and other participants can familiarize themselves with each other’s work and bring all their different questions and thoughts to the table for discussion. Liaison with LAMC (Laboratoire d’Anthropologie des Mondes Contemporains) at the ULB in Brussels with PhD and postdoc candidates. 


Masterstudio ‘The Circular City: Planning for Resourcful Cities’  

Submitted by Federico Savini & Zef Hemel 

The studio is a yearly recurring teaching programme consisting of one week full of lectures, activities and workshops around the central theme of circular economy and spatial transformations. It aims to bring together international scholars, Dutch thinkers and activists in the field of circular urban development, students and urban professionals. Classes are open to participants (free for CUS PhD students) upon registration. The results of the studio will be presented during a public debate at Pakhuis de Zwijger.  


‘The State of Conflict’ 

Submitted by David Laws 

This conference reflects on the significance and changing character of political practices and social relations in the Netherlands through the lens of conflict. It will bring together a diverse group from civil society, government, the private sector, and the research community to analyse and discuss trends in Dutch society. The day is hosted by prof dr Alexander Rinnooy Kan. At the end of the day, the first National Negotiation Award will be awarded, in cooperation with the Dutch newspaper NRC. 


‘Urban Heritage-Making: Cultural Forms, Local Histories and Redevelopment’

Submitted by Carolyn Birdsall, Linda van de Kamp, and Anastasiya Halauniova

  • An academic workshop with international guests, at which invited and pre-circulated papers are discussed with the idea of forming a special issue on the topic of urban cultures, heritage and redevelopment.
  • A “Museum Day” in collaboration with Amsterdam Museum. Taking place in the Amsterdam Museum auditorium, this second day will include a moderated and public round-table and an interactive performance by the interdisciplinary artist collective Moving Matters Traveling Workshop titled ‘In/Heriting Cities’.
  •   A Special Issue of Journal Cultural Geographies.


‘City Talks – A CUS Podcast Series’

Submitted by Carolina Maurity Frossard

  • An academic workshop with international guests, at which invited and pre-circulated papers are discussed with the idea of forming a special issue on the topic of urban cultures, heritage and redevelopment.
  • A series of podcasts open to public.


‘The right to govern the city – RMUS Symposium 2017’

Submitted by Jelke Bosma, Eline Splinter, Justus Uitermark, and Wouter van Gent

  • The Open City Symposium, held on the 7th of June in Lola Lik (Bijlmer Bajes). The symposium connected the Centre to a wider audience by bringing together academics as well as practitioners by approaching various cases from both academic and practical perspectives during a public discussion. The symposium offered students and researchers at the Centre for Urban Studies a chance to engage, connect and discuss with senior academics and experts from the field.
  • A series of blog posts
  • A documentary on the activities of the Resma students in Urban Studies


‘Critical Comparative Urbanism Seminar Series’

Submitted by Hebe Verrest and Rivke Jaffe

  • Seminar series support to develop a closer engagement amongst CUS scholars with debates on the geographies of urban theory. In doing so, it also fosters dialogue between different disciplines and it increases the visibility of the CUS in- and outside the UvA.


'The Impact of Urban Tourism'

Submitted by Fenne Pinkster and Willem Boterman

  • Contributed to the current public debate in Amsterdam about the local impacts of global tourism by presenting research findings of a recent case study in the Amsterdam Canal Belt (Pinkster & Boterman 2016)  to a broad academic and non-academic audience at a public event organized in close collaboration with societal partners (De Groene Amsterdammer, Felix Meritis, Vrienden van de Amsterdamse Binnenstad and the Mayor’s office). 
  • Contributed to the development and strengthening of an academic network through the invitation of international scholars for a joint workshop & consortium meeting with the purpose of developing an international comparative urban research project;
  • Writing a joint grant proposal with international colleagues.


‘Securitizing Urban Housing: A Comparative Approach’

Submitted by Frank Muller

  • Cooperation and developing a network of scholars who work in/on European cities and beyond on urban security issues.
  • An Urban Lecture by a keynote on urban security in Pakhuis de Zwijger, June 2017.
  • A PhD workshop in which urban securitization processes across different (postcolonial) contexts were discussed between experts and PhD students, June 2017.
  • Two week residence of Dr. Lirio Gutierrez from National University Colombia.
  • Cooperation between CUS and National University of Colombia: Frank Muller will be part of their research theme and conduct a case study.
  • Presented papers are edited in a themed issue in the Debates Section of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.
  • Interview with Dr Zeidermann for City Journal.


‘Mapping denied spaces through new urban methodologies’

Submitted by Karin Pfeffer and Christien Klaufus

  • A two-day workshop with 12 (inter)national scholars in Amersfoort, held 14-15 February 2017.
  • A new approach to study exclusionary spatial processes within urbanization has been developed, with the objective to establish a research network for the development of a larger grant proposal, based on the integration of different methodologies for mapping and in-depth exploration of what we call “Denied Spaces”.


‘SAGA High Dosage Tutoring in Amsterdam’

Submitted by Bo Paulle

  • A one-day conference disseminated the results among scholars including CUS members and people from the field of the first SAGA* consulted high dosage tutoring effort in the Netherlands (* SAGA Innovations is a non-profit organization based in Boston, is spearheading the effort to bring a very specific form of tutoring to massively disadvantaged inner city students across the US and beyond).
  • Various organisations and people from the field are now involved in the High Dosage Tutoring research in Amsterdam-West, these include Joppe de Ree of the Centraal Planbureau, Monique van Londen of the Universiteit Utrecht, Kimon Moerbeek of Kennisland, policy advicers of the Education Department Gemeente Amsterdam and Marjolein Moerman of the PvdA.


‘PLATFORM: The Urban Commons of Culture: Collective Action and Cultural and Creative Industries’

Submitted by Robert Kloosterman, Amanda Brandellero, Claartje Rasterhoff, Rosa Koetsenruijter

  • An online platform bringing together a multi-disciplinary team of experts on culture and creative industries in urban contexts across different departments at the University of Amsterdam and to share and disseminate this knowledge for the benefit of stakeholder communities, particularly of those located in Amsterdam through an on-line platform.


 ‘Sounds of Amsterdam. Reframing sound as a resource supporting urban transformations’

Submitted by Edda Bild, Adeola Enigbokan, Michiel Huijsman, Mercedes Zandwijken

  • Follow-up on former seed grant to develop a network with scholars and people from the field on urban sound.
  • A two-day workshop in June 2017 brought together locally-based urban researchers with planners, designers, policy makers, local artists and citizens, to collaborate on an exploratory research into how sound, and the design of aural experience, can contribute to debates on urban change and renewal in Amsterdam.
  • A joint paper.
  • A joint research proposal.

‘Who Can Stay: A Comparative Study of Mobility Control in Amsterdam and Yangon’

Submitted by Darshan Vigneswaran

  • Comparative research in Amsterdam and Yangon, exploring what factors determine who can stay in the city, by building on pilot research conducted by students from Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Business Administration and Law at the University of Amsterdam and forges a collaboration between these students and their counterparts at the University of Yangon (UY) in Myanmar.
  • A workshop in Pakhuis de Zwijger to present the results to a larger audience.


‘Two month research visit Dr. Sahil Gandhi, University of Mumbai’

Submitted by: Niels Beerepoot.

  • A half-day seminar will be organised to bring together the researchers in CUS working on urban issues in India (e.g. Jan Nijman, Karin Pfefffer, Champaka Rajagopal, Isa Baud, Randhir Kumar). Researchers elsewhere in the Netherlands working on urban India will also be invited. Bridging gaps between GoG and Development Studies.
  • During the stay at CUS a grant proposal will be written for the next round of the Social Science Collaboration India - the Netherlands programme (NWO-ICSSR SSCIN programme).
  • Two peer reviewed papers are targeted to be written during the stay at CUS.


‘The feminizing city? Productions of space for the post-Fordist sexual contract’

Submitted by: Marguerite van den Berg.

  • A joint workshop to be organized in May 2017 at the University of Amsterdam. It will be organized for a group of approximately 30 participants from CUS and ARC GS and from other universities in the Netherlands.
  • The goal of this workshop is twofold: 1) to better understand the impact of the changing gendered division of labour for cities and 2) to forge connections between researchers in the field of gender studies and feminist theory on the one hand and urban sociologists and geographers on the other hand (organized in UvA in CUS and ARC-GS). Conversations between these academic communities are rare (both internationally and at UvA) but pivotal in order to understand profound changes to the way cities are organized.
  • Publication of the book Genderfication – The urban gender revolution (Palgrave, 2017).


‘The enduring relevance of the Chicago School of Sociology for contemporary urban studies’

Submitted by: Dennis Rodgers.

  • One day workshop, which took place in March 2017.
  • An innovative edited collection to be submitted to a major interdisciplinary urban studies journal such as IJURR or Urban Studies.
  • A public lecture was held in the CUS’ Urban Lecture Series.


‘The urban professional: Changing cities in times of dispersed and specialized urban knowledge’

Submitted by: Federico Savini.

  • An international symposium on ‘urban professionals’ was held in Amsterdam on March 2017.
  • Edited book publication within a top-ranked publisher (to be delivered mid-2017).
  • International grant application for further research cooperation (Horizon 2020, ORA-NWO Grant, or JPI Urban Europe).


‘Conductors and Computers: recovering the human infrastructures of smart, high-tech, and technologizing cities’

Submitted by: Olga Sezneva.

  • International workshop: a 3-day workshop at the Center for Urban Studies in 2018.
  • Aiming to prepare a proposal for ORA 2017. 
  • The Russian National Science Foundation supports international collaborative projects in the field of Urban Development, and applied for the International RNSF grant in the fall 2016. 
  • Prepared a bid for Horizon2020 in 2017.


‘Three day international seminar on Institutions in Action’

Submitted by: Willem Salet.

  • Seminar on 2-4 December 2016.
  • Publication of a book (2017-2018).


‘Homing the Dutch: On the Planning and Politics of Belonging’

Submitted by: Fenneke Wekker (PhD) and Jan Willem Duyvendak.

  • Special issue, published by the peer reviewed journal Home Cultures in 2016.
  • Seminar on the Urban Planning of Belonging, which we was organized on the 2nd of November 2016.


‘Mobile Urban Lab Experiment on Meaningful Encounters in Amsterdam’

Submitted by: Tuna Tasan Kok.

  • Walking Urban Lab, which was held on the 26th of October 2016.
  • The primary goal has been to open new perspectives for a larger scale research by conducting a small-scale experiment in a selected neighbourhood. An interdisciplinary field research experiment has been done, which allowed to develop a methodology to be implemented with the participation of not only academics but also of policy makers in the future for a larger, transformative research project.
  • Evening event at Pakhuis de Zwijger on the 25th of October.


‘Post-industrial development strategies as a topic in comparative urban studies – A joint workshop of the UvA Centre for Urban Studies and Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, Leipzig, Germany on collaborative project proposals’

Submitted by: Marco Bontje.

  • Joint workshop to foster dialogue between researchers in the fields of urban studies, human geography and political science from the UvA Centre for Urban Studies (UvA-CUS) and Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IfL), Germany. Held on the 18th of October 2016.
  • Potentials for collaborative research proposals in comparative urban studies have been identified.
  • Intensification of international collaboration between UvA-CUS and IfL. Building on earlier successful collaborations between UvA-CUS and IfL during a Marie Curie Host Fellowship of Marco Bontje at IfL (2002-2004), the Dutch-funded project ‘Innovative City-Regions’ (2004-2007) and the EU FP6-project Accommodating Creative Knowledge (ACRE, 2006-2010) the first step to a collaborative funding application have been made.


‘Mapping and Sharing Amsterdam Sustainability’ (student internship)

Submitted by: Hebe Verrest and Joos Drooglever Fortuijn.

  • Seminar in September 2016, which presented the results of the collection and selection of sustainability initiatives in Amsterdam.
  • Launched special online platform:


‘Urban Public Space and Data Gathering: a multi-disciplinary challenge’

Submitted by: Edda Bild (PhD).

  • A workshop on urban public space held in September 2016. We discuss multidisciplinary collaboration between different sciences and practice for acquiring a holistic understanding of the urban experience.
  • A workshop on urban public space held in September 2016. We discuss multidisciplinary collaboration between different sciences and practice for acquiring a holistic understanding of the urban experience.


‘Urban Security and Spatial Interventions: Bringing Anthropology and Planning into Dialogue’

Submitted by: Francesco Colona (PhD).

  • A one-day workshop titled ‘Urban Security and Spatial Interventions’, which took place September 2016.
  • A master-class by Stephen Graham with junior researchers from the UvA, Radboud University and York University, September 2016.
  • A seminar ‘Geographies of Fear’ with Dr Naomi van Stapele (Anthropology, UvA).
  • New international collaborations and exchanges have been developed to create a common language that enable to enter into interdisciplinary dialogue about infrastructures and spatial security and policing interventions in urban areas, engaging researchers from different universities and departments.


‘Valorisation project: Opgroeien in de drukke stad’ (Growing up in a busy city)

Submitted by: Lia Karsten.

  •  Book publication ‘De nieuwe generatie stadskinderen. Ruimte maken voor opgroeien’.
  •  SPUI25 debatavond on the 9th of June 2016.
  •  Pakhuis de Zwijger debatavond ‘City as a Lab’ on the 29th of June 2016.


‘New Perspectives on Urban Living in Contemporary Romania’

Submitted by: Oana Druta (PhD) and Richard Ronald.

  •  A half-day workshop focusing on housing and urban living, organized on June 10th 2016.
  • The final product of the workshop was a report of activity that serves as base for future research proposals and European grant applications.


‘CUS Spring Workshop: The Political and the City’

Submitted by: Various Centre of Urban Studies PhD’s such as Francesco Colona, Thijs Jeursen, Tracian Meikle, Carolina Frossard, Alana Osbourne, Lior Volinz, Davide Gnes, Retna Hanani and Yannis Tzaninis.

  •  A two-day workshop, organized on June 7 and 8, 2016.
  • Dialogue and critical engagement between junior researchers who focus on similar themes have been fostered, from a wide array of disciplinary standpoints. With the facilitation of invited senior scholars, participants can presented their works-in-progress, opening them up for discussion and feedback and future cooperation.


‘Amsterdam Fair City - International lessons - INURA Amsterdam’

Submitted by: Virginie Mamadouh, Wouter van Gent and Justus Uitermark.

  •  A public event with INURA Amsterdam on international experiences with struggles for a Fair City, organized May 9th 2016.
  •  PhD Workshop. Urban Research and Activism: 'Applied Research, Academic Advocacy or Research Activism?', organized in mid-May 2016.
  • Links with ETH Zürich, WTZ Berlin and Humboldt Universität have been fostered; worked on a collaborative funding application.


‘Power, Citizenship and Participation in ‘smart’ urban environments’

Submitted by: Dorien Zandbergen.

  • One-day workshop organized by the University of Amsterdam, the Centre for Urban Studies, Maastricht University and the Gr1p Foundation, hosted in the building of the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, which took place in March 2016.
  • Outcome of the workshop will be an inventory of initiatives, pilots and concepts currently in play in Smart City design. This enables the three teams involved (see seed grant application for more info) to derive insights as to what we have to contribute to existing and evolving debates, and to identify critical issues that remain to be addressed.
  • The inventory has been made accessible to the teams and to the research community in general via the GR1P website by the publishing of a special report on the current Smart City developments