About us

Cities nowadays thrive on data of all kinds that help local government and business to plan, monitor and innovate. It is unclear, however, if and how people benefit from such Big, Open and Linked Data (BOLD) cities, where it seems their every feature, movement and behaviour is monitored. This citizen perspective leads the research in the Centre for BOLD Cities. It is a collaboration of Leiden University, Delft University of Technology and Erasmus University Rotterdam.

The Centre for BOLD Cities is based on research and focuses on individual citizens and their experience in the (smart) city. The Centre aims to aid researchers in developing and conducting their research in this area, as well as to aid researchers in seeking out collaboration and joint initiatives. 

With these aims at its core, the Centre for BOLD Cities focuses on three themes: urban experience, urban health and urban environment.

BOLD cities use all kinds of data generated by - among others - sensor technologies, social media or classic census data. The emerging urban data landscape is diverse and complex, and involves big data as well as open or linked data. It includes data that is personal and impersonal, individual and aggregate, historical and real time, and so on. It raises questions about storage, analytics, presentation and visualization, but also about appropriate data-governance and management, and particularly about the social and individual consequences of the urban data revolution for people in the city.

The BOLD city landscape enables better services, as well as more intense forms of surveillance. How do people experience the BOLD city? To what kind of democratic control are data-decisions in the city subjected? How is privacy assured? Can people control their own data? Do certain people in the city benefit more than others? What kind of data struggles emerge? What qualifies as responsible data use in cities? Do cities differ in this respect? The Centre for BOLD Cities specialises in and focuses on these and related questions.


The Centre's Board consists of Ellen van Bueren (Delft University of Technology), Alexander Koutamanis (Delft University of Technology), Liesbet van Zoonen (Erasmus University) and Jaap van den Herik (Leiden University).   

You can contact the Centre for BOLD Cities via executive manager Luuk Schokker.