The twenty-first century is a time of massive urbanization across the globe. Since 2007, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, while the increase in the world population is expected to take place mainly in the cities. Life in modern cities entail a lot of challenges that require scientific insights.
In 2018 the OU started an interdisciplinary research programme Safety in Urban Environments (SUE) that focusses on safety issues in urban context. In a mix of short term research projects and Ph.D. projects, this two year programme investigated safety issues in urban contexts in the Netherlands, Europe and worldwide, in past and present societies.
SUE involved all faculties of the Open Universiteit in its projects and activities. In addition to its alignment with the disciplinary research lines of the faculties, SUE closely follows the research profile of the OU Institutional Plan (Innovative, Open, and Connected) and its indicators (DALI). SUE is also linked to the Rights and Humanities Sectoral Plan of the SSH Council (April 2019), and various 'routes' within the National Science Agenda.
In 2020 the SUE programme was continued in a new research line Safety and Resilience in Urban Environments (RSUE). This research line builds heavily on the SUE program but now more explicitly recognizes the role of resilience, a concept that is closely linked to safety. Several SUE projects already focused on resilient societies (e.g. Resilient societies, the role of the cities; Future Urban Energy). Resilience is about resilient, robust systems that can respond adequately to various challenges. Both safety and resiliency are important characteristics of urban environments that contribute to its livability. However, they will be investigated in the context of changing, varying and sometimes conflicting cultural perceptions and representations of safety and resilience.
Recently started projects
Read more on the research line, the themes and projects on the website Safety and Resilience in Urban Environments.