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The Open City Initiative

The Open City Initiative is a new global network of transdisciplinary education, research, and societal partnerships. The focus is on issues related to cities as open frontier spaces that belong to everyone, and urban studies that are widely open to any discipline. In the face of current events (e.g. BLM, climate crises, pandemic-lockdown, widespread urban evictions) in established cities and the rapid pace of urbanisation across continents, there is an increasing need for an open platform to tackle the urgent societal questions regarding inclusivity, sustainability, and ‘openness’ of urban spaces and research. To provide such a platform, the Initiative has joined forces from geographers, urban planners, anthropologists, humanity and international development scholars at Utrecht University.

The Initiative will be launched through a series of webinars and workshops planned in two weeks from March 16 to March 26. They will provide an opportunity for sharing and exchange of knowledge about the Open City. A wide range of academic and nonacademic speakers will be present, such as NGOs, activists, researchers and students.

Who we are

The organization of the initiative is led by: Abigail Friendly, Kei Otsuki, Francesca Pilo (Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning); Martijn Oosterbaan (Department of Anthropology), and Babette Berrocal (Centre for Global Challenges, UGlobe) at Utrecht University.

If you have any questions regarding one of our events, please feel free to contact us by e-mail through:

Webinars & Workshops
  • Keynote: Open City: The Spatial Justice of Urban Sutainability | March 16, 14:30–15:45 (CET)
  • Webinar: Pandemic (In)securities: Violence and Order-Making | March 17, 13:00 – 15:00 (CET time)
  • Webinar: Coping with Corona in the Margins: Urban Vulnerabilities and Inequalities | March 18, 13:00 – 15:00 (CET time)
  • Workshop: Inclusive Cities and Global Urban Transformations | March 19, 13:00 – 15:00 (CET time)
  • Workshop: The More-Than-Human City | March 23, 10:00 – 12:00 (CET time)
  • Webinar: Sustainable Solutions for Open Cities: How Citizens Deal and Shape Energy and Climate Challenges | March 24, 13:00 – 15:00 (CET time)
  • Webinar: Politicizing the Pandemic: Legitimacy, Integrity and Governance | March 25, 13:00 – 15:00 (CET time)
  • The Open City Initiative: Future Steps | March 26, 15:30 – 16:45

For more information and how to register, visit the website here.