Digital Cities & Communities

How to build smart, enjoyable cities and hinterlands

Digital technology can help to create infrastructure with which to manage urbanisation, population growth, mobility, effects of climate change and transition to greater sustainability. By ‘monitoring citizens’ behaviour, smart cities could optimize urban planning and transport, and utility and community services such as waste collection and law enforcement. Smart cities should provide their own citizens safety and liveability, and interact optimally with surrounding rural communities. These and related societal challenges are addressed in programme line Digital Cities & Communities.

23 November 2017

Digital Society Research Agenda

6 November 2018

Kick-off community of Digital Society researchers triggers inspiring debates

9 October 2018

Digital Society Conference 27 November

8 October 2018

The Misinformation Crisis in a Digital Society

Academics that are working on finding solutions to societal challenges related to Digital Cities & Communities:

Jacqueline Bloemhof (Wageningen University)


Jacqueline Bloemhof is Full Professor and Chair of the Operations Research and Logistics Group. Her main field of research is sustainable supply chain management, both in forward chains (food and other agricultural distribution networks) and closed loop supply chains (recycling and recovery of products, parts, materials or energy). She published on these topics in a large number of articles in ISI journals in the field of Operations Research and Environmental Science, Engineering and Environmental Sciences.

Liesbet van Zoonen (Erasmus University Rotterdam)


Academic director of the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Big Open and Linked Data (BOLD) Cities. Our agenda concerns the responsible application of data science for public values and the public good in urban environments. This involves anything from smart mobility solutions to data driven benefit systems. As a matter of principle, we collaborate with local government, creative professionals and citizen groups. We designed the SHARED values as a criterion for human centred information technology, and use this in our own research to assess if and how data science projects in the city serve the benefits of the city and its citizens.


There are loads of small and big research projects about the digitisation and datafication of cities. Many cities pride themselves on being ‘smart’. However, to date there is little exchange between the plethora of initiatives, there is little insight in best practice, let alone that scaling and spreading can be considered. Our aim with the ‘Digital Cities and Communities’ theme of the VSNU agenda is to scope existing research, labs, experiments and try-outs, build an ‘observatory’ to monitor future work and establish mechanism for spreading and scaling that are relevant to all partners of the quadruple helix, i.e. knowledge institutes, (local) governments, creative industry and civil society.

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