The Urban Futures research programme of the Department of Human Geography and Planning investigates urban issues in the context of an ongoing worldwide trend of increasing urbanisation.

A prominent role in research and academic inquiry

The institute’s objectives strongly coincide with UN Sustainable Development Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Urban Futures aims to play an internationally prominent role in research and academic inquiry into sustainable social and economic urban development and the governance of cities. Urbanisation processes are studied both in OECD countries and in the Global South. From a methodological point of view, Urban Futures adopts a dynamic perspective, with an emphasis on flows and transitions, and conceptualises cities as systems of networks in which flows of people, knowledge, goods, and capital circulate.

Urban Futures research programme

The Urban Futures research programme is divided into two main research themes, Social Urban Transitions and Economic Urban Transitions. Together they cover four main research areas. Besides our Urban Futures Research Programme we make sure that our scientific knowledge is disseminated in our teaching programmes as well as in primary and secondary eduction in the Netherlands.


11 April 2016
Utrecht University, the University of Toronto and the Chinese University of Hong Kong will carry out joint research into healthy urban living.
call for posters
30 March 2016
This 2-day workshop focuses on the politics of mobility and examines the nature of different types of mobilities.
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5 November 2015
An international group of researchers led by Utrecht University, show that the diversity in poor neighborhoods has many positive effects.
28 September 2015
The Earth Sciences and Human Geography and Planning Bachelors programmes of the Faculty of Geosciences have scored highly in the Best Studies survey.
9 September 2015
The Executive Board of Utrecht University has appointed Prof. Dr Maarten Hajer as Professor of Urban Futures in the Faculty of Geosciences.