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Utrecht University starts platform for innovative solutions for a healthy urban living

14 May 2020

How do you make an urban environment livable and healthy? And how do you combine data and knowledge from public organisations with the innovative entrepreneurial power of companies and the experiences and behaviour of residents? On May 14th the virtual kick-off of the Data and Knowledge Hub Healthy Urban Living took place. The partners within the hub, in collaboration with residents, will develop concrete and practical solutions with an impact on healthy living in urban areas.

The hub is an independent and open public-private platform initiated by Utrecht University, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the Economic Board Utrecht. Together with several other partners, as well as residents, the partners will develop scientific and data-driven concepts and measures: evidence-based products and services that have a positive effect on the health of everyone who lives, works or recreates in an urban environment. Now and in the future. Examples include initiatives such as the Snuffelfiets external link and Gebiedsontwikkeling Cartesiusdriehoek. 

First webinar in a series

Because of the measures set for the fight against the new coronavirus, it was a virtual kick-off, during a well-attended webinar. No less than 180 participants saw Erik Gerritsen (Secretary General of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport) express his enthusiasm about the new platform in a video message. Professor Roel Vermeulen (Utrecht University) and Erik Tielemans (RIVM) shared some background information about the platform and looked ahead to the webinar series. The webinars provide insight into projects and opportunities for collaboration. During the kick-off webinar many participants already shared ideas and exchanged data.

The webinar of May 14th, as well as the other webinars organized by the hub, are available on the website of the Data and Knowledge Hub Healthy Urban Living external link.

Growing platform

Utrecht University, the RIVM and the Economic Board Utrecht are the founding partners of the hub. In the meantime, various partners have joined: Province of Utrecht, Municipality of Amersfoort, Future City Foundation, Mecanoo, UMC Utrecht, Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, Civity and Urban Sync. Other public and private organisations in the Netherlands can also join and/or make use of the data and knowledge within the platform. Check out the website external link for the possibilities to collaborate.

Our ultimate goal is that people live healthily for longer

Our ultimate goal is that people live healthily for longer

We know far less about the exposome than we do about the human genome. So far, we only understand about half of the disease burden for which we know the environment plays a role. If we want to prevent people from becoming ill, then we need to understand the other half too. We therefore want to systematically analyse the exposome for the first time. We will start with research into the causes of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The techniques and insights from this research will also be applicable to other chronic conditions.

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