The contribution of small-scale and bottom-up urban development initiatives to solving societal challenges

R-LINK covers five years of research under the lead of Prof. dr. Leonie Janssen-Jansen (Wageningen University). The multidisciplinary research consortium brings together researchers and practitioners working on urban development, citizenship, urban planning and governance, law, and psychology. The R-LINK-project is divided in six interrelated subprojects. The overall research question is: How can strategic urban ambitions and spatial and societal challenges be realised while concurrently pursuing community-linked incremental urban development through new alliances?

Small-scale and bottom-up initiatives, and incremental urban development dominate various political agendas. These initiatives, termed Community-Linked Incremental Urban Developments (CLIUDs), remain underexplored. CLIUDs evolve around the concept of ‘linking social capital’ with an emphasis on the capacity of citizens and community to engage with those in power. It remains unclear how these increasingly popular new initiatives and alliances connect with long-term social and spatial issues of accessibility, urban vitality, inclusiveness, sustainability and economic competitiveness. In fact, discrepancies exist between CLIUDs and the necessary level of scale, time frame and governance for resolving strategic urban challenges.

R-LINK aims to find smart solutions to address economic, social and environmental challenges through spatial transformations via CLIUDs. These transformations through CLIUDs affect and contest conventional urban development and governance models, thus requiring new action perspectives for civil servants and other practitioners in urban development. R-LINK proposes to bridge the gap between the practice of large- scale, strategic urban ambitions and policies and that of the new alliances (government, market or citizen initiated) for CLIUDs.

R-LINK is designed in close collaboration with practitioners and relevant stakeholders. Its implementation brings together scientists, the public sector, civil society and market players. This ensures co-creation of new knowledge and a practical focus. At the same time, the multidisciplinary expertise within the consortium enables fresh intellectual and transdisciplinary insights to be developed on the issue of how to realise strategic urban ambitions through CLIUDs and how to improve existing practices.

Project duration:
1 January 2016 – 31 December 2020

Wageningen University, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, University of Amsterdam, City of Groningen, City of Amsterdam, Antea Group, Rijckenberg Advies Stedelijke Ontwikkeling D&D, Metabolic, Boeletuin, Pakhuis de Zwijger, Tertium

Project leader:
Prof. dr. Leonie Janssen-Jansen, Professor of Land Use Planning, Environmental Science Group at the Wageningen University

Phone: +31-317-481762 / +31-317-486187


Related information:

Contact person:
Prof. dr. Leonie Janssen-Jansen, Professor of Land Use Planning, Environmental Science Group at the Wageningen University

Phone: +31-317-481762 / +31-317-486187


Project management:
Michiel Hulshof/Emma Smit at Tertium