LDE Global Projects
Working together with the Majority World

Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Universities want to be relevant to society, not only in their own region, but also worldwide. Tackling urgent social challenges in one's own environment is one thing, to make a real difference, cooperation with the Majority World is a necessity.

Projects supported by LDE Global

LDE/BRIN Writing Academy on Sustainable Urbanisation

In the last decade, history has reached a tipping point: for the first time, the population of the world is more urban than rural. The city has moved to the centre of human experience - not just symbolically, as in the past, but quantitatively, as the new standard matrix of life. Urbanization mirrors the challenges of global sustainability: whether it involves flood prevention, disease prevention, the reduction of environmental footprints, the promotion of urban biodiversity, or making use of new digital affordances. If social, economic and environmental problems are concentrated in cities, the solutions, too, will increasingly emerge from city governments, urban-based enterprises, and urban residents.

Coordinator: prof.dr. Bart Barendregt (Cultural Antropology, Leiden University)

Report: Co-creation with researchers in Indonesia: ‘We welcome misunderstandings’

Right to information: working towards digital inclusion of the urban poor in India, Indonesia, and Kenya

This project builds on action research on digital inclusion of the urban poor in India, Indonesia, and Kenya. All three research projects focus on the right to the city of marginal urban groups, with an explicit focus on the question of access to information within a highly vulnerable context. Right to the City is an often-heard slogan that is not only popularly used by scholars and activists but also by architects and policy makers alike. Without contextualized information, it is impossible to realize the right to the city. The research focuses on marginal groups, in Chennai the focus is on urban poor resettled women, in Yogyakarta the focus is on young vulnerable youth, whereas in Nairobi the focus is on households in an inner-city slum.

Coordination: Dr. Maartje van Eerd (Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Erasmus University)

Towards a framework for community-based participatory research in informal settlements: a pilot in Mathare, Nairobi-Kenya

The project aims to co-create inclusive frameworks and partnerships for engaging in community-based participatory research in a more impactful way applicable for and crucially with vulnerable groups living and working in informal settlements. This proposal focuses on Mathare, an informal settlement within which grassroots organisations activated the Mathare Special Planning Area Research Collective (MSPARC), a consortium of civil society and slum dwellers in charge of spearheading participatory slum upgrading. MSPARC aims for a hybrid approach that remedies the shortfalls of the last SPA in the operationalization of community-based (re)development. M-SPARC offers a research and community network which brings in local contextual and external academic knowledge. The greatest struggle for MSPARC however is how to activate the community’s role in gathering meaningful spatial and non-spatial evidence and concretizing its application in participatory upgrading whilst engaging more practically with the interwoven technical, social and governance dynamics of planning. To shape the mechanisms for achieving this, the collective in June 2022 nominated the Kenyan main applicant (Nuvoni Center for Innovation Research) as the convener of MSPARC. Nuvoni is related to both the community in Mathare through ongoing research and to the LDE, which paves the way for collaboration. All partners of this proposal find the proposed CBPR approach indispensable to strengthen MSPARC action research capacities. It links the local knowledge in MSPARC to knowledge at LDE on cultural (Leiden University), technical (Delft University) and governance (Erasmus University) aspects of upgrading informal settlements.

Coordination: dr. Jan Fransen (Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Erasmus University)


The project starts with an educational program, in which the research/researchers can collaborate. In the first semester, this educational program, will focus on student groups from multiple master programs connected to LDE CfS, a.o. the MSc Industrial Ecology of TU Delft and Leiden University; the second semester consists of a LDE CfS interdisciplinary thesis lab (funded by municipality of Westland). Both semesters are based on a combination of disciplines and an approach to peer learning. The students will visit Morocco and the collaborating institutes. The aim is to involve (local) Moroccan researchers and students, to create a joint learning program as well as to break down language barriers. Already existing relations from LDE in Morocco/region, as there are with Sonia Messaoud (CBBC, Tunisia) and Maryem Hamidi (Mohammed V University of Rabat) will be affiliated with this program. Moreover, a formal connection with Moroccan knowledge institutions and other relevant stakeholders will be sought and facilitated by NIMAR.

Coordination: Peter van Bodegom (CML, LeidenUniversity)

The 5A’s Principles of Adequate Housing: A comparative research on housing justice between Bangladesh and the Philippines

The project aims to develop with partners (i.e. Netherlands, Philippines and Bangladesh) a common research strategy and methodology for conducting an international comparative housing study which cuts across the competences and disciplines of all the institutions (mainly urban management, housing, architecture, sociology and law) while contributing to long-term institutional goals regarding societal impact at the international level. The concrete output of this LDE project is to co-produce a research tool for the investigation of the 5A’s principles of adequate housing, namely availability, accessibility, affordability, acceptability, and adaptability that will be useful in the review and formulation of state’s housing policies and the desired domestication of housing rights.

Coordination: Dr. Alonso Ayala (IHS, Erasmus University)

Rekindling regional collaboration in Latin America:  Migration, Climate Change, and Economic integration in a comparative perspective to the EU

The project organizes a one-day conference with the University of São Paulo (Brazil) and Diego Portales (Chile) as main academic partners. It includes societal partners from the region, including the relevant regional organizations (MEROCSUR, ANDEAN Community, CARICOM, CELAC and CEPAL). Side meetings will take place between LDE-scholars, scholars from Latin America and representatives of national and regional bodies.

The conference focusses on three key challenges for the region: migration, climate change and economic integration. These challenges are interconnected. For example, climate change or economic stagnation and inequality drive migration, whereas economic growth must be sustainable and can address root causes of migration. Consequently, the Centre for Governance of Migration and Diversity (GMD), offers an ideal LDE anchor for this project.    

The conference serves two substantive goals: mapping current challenges in these three domains from the perspective of the Global South, and exploring regional solutions which fit the regional context and preferences. After all, one common mistake in (comparative) regional integration is to start from a prefab model of how regional integration should work, often based on the EU model, instead of from the reality on the ground in the region itself. The envisioned collaboration avoids this by connecting LDE scholars with scholars and organizations from the region to generate open exchange and novel ideas. Ideas that may also benefit the EU, which is facing similar challenges and can use fresh insights.  

A third, more overarching goal is to kick-start further collaboration between Latin American and LDE scholars, as well as between LDE scholars and societal partners in the region. Potential future collaborations include 1) joint (doctoral) summer schools, 2) joint supervision of  PhDs, 3) joint applications for research funding, from EU or Brazilian funding schemes, including FAPESP, 4) sharing of (digital) teaching materials and online classes, including a possible VIS-grant, and 5) joint projects for regional organizations in Latin America. These follow-up activities might also lead to more bilateral collaboration between LDE and Latin American Scholars, and to more exchange students, including for the LDE GMD Master, contributing more generally to ambition of LDE to deepen engagement with Latin America.

Coordinator: Armin Cuyvers (Leiden Law School)