City

Scientists involved: Victor Bekkers (EUR), Beitske Boonstra (EUR), Ellen van Bueren (TU Delft), Machiel van Dorst (TU Delft), Jurian Edelenbos (EUR), Maarten van Ham (TU Delft), Frank van Lenthe (Erasmus MC).
Methodology lead: Nikki Brand (TU Delft)

Modern urbanization leads to important social inequalities, in most large cities and in particular in Rotterdam. Challenges related to from low socio-economic status are relatively exacerbated in the Rotterdam-South neighbourhood, which is the focus of our City theme: high degree of cultural and religious diversity, high unemployment rate, high debt level, low life-expectancy and various health issues… These issues are so interwoven that it is not possible to solve them from one discipline only. Examples: (i) a significant proportion of indebted people are also people with poorer health; a sociological approach therefore needs to be combined with health aspects; (ii) poor people often live in badly isolated houses, resulting in higher expenses for example for heating, and poorer health due to humidity and drafts; technical solutions for housing can therefore have positive socio-economical and health impact. An interdisciplinary approach is therefore obviously needed.
Next to that, these issues are not new and many initiatives have been already taking place in the past. There is much knowledge accumulated at different organizations and parties, such as municipality, National Program Rotterdam-South (NPRZ), and local (citizen) organizations. A transdisciplinary approach is therefore also necessary in order to avoid knowledge fragmentation and instead bring together the results and lessons learned of as many as possible past and present initiatives and programs.
Together with our partner NPRZ, we have identified four topics that we want to approach in a coherent manner with social inequalities as common thread: Debt and poverty, Education and inclusivity, Housing and diversity, Healthy living environment. The governance aspects are also of crucial importance and will also be recurrent in our program. Practically, the wealth of data that is available from many different databases will serve as backbone of our projects and will support a longitudinal study to try and understand how all the various aspects listed above interact in the daily life of inhabitants of Rotterdam-South. Last but not least, citizen participation will be a corner stone of our program: for the citizens, with the citizens.