Anders Utrecht


Workshop Report – citizens and university: how to sustain long-term collaboration for sustainable cities?

11 November 2021 Solutions to sustainability challenges entail collaboration between a diversity of actors. Universities are increasingly engaged in transdisciplinary research, supported by the idea that they should partner with citizen initiatives, business enterprises and governmental agencies. In addition to producing knowledge, universities are expected to play an active role and contribute to transformations through these collaborations. However, collaborations often face challenges due to organisational and institutional differences, short term and long-term expectations and strategic orientations. Therefore, the following questions emerge:

How do researchers and citizen activists as well as business entrepreneurs and public policymakers align their agendas and interests?

How can collaboration be maintained and effectively developed to ensure the collective pursuit of sustainable and inclusive society building for the long term?

What kind of strategies can be (co)developed for social change? Who should take leadership in such collaborative projects?

Anders Utrecht, Open City Network and Citizen Engagement and Urban Sustainability (CITEUS), each of which are supported by Utrecht University’s Transforming Cities Hub, came together to explore answers to these questions. Researchers from these initiatives have been collaborating with various citizen initiatives and planned this workshop to initiate an open conversation.

In total, 20 participants from citizen organisations and academia working on sustainable and inclusive city making in the global South and North participated. During the workshop, they exchanged their experiences and ideas through presentations, group discussions and breakout sessions. Read the full workshop report here to learn more about the main findings and discussion points.