About IHS

IHS, Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Campus Woudestein

About us

The Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) is an education, advisory and research institute which falls under the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences and the Erasmus School of Economics. For 65 years, it has been our mission to develop human and institutional capacities, to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life in cities.

Looking at cities from different perspectives, we educate urban professionals with diverse backgrounds, consult national and local governments from the Global South and engage in cutting-edge urban research. Bringing practical experience from real-life projects back to the classroom, we inspire collaboration and co-creation of urban knowledge. Together with our partners we work at the forefront of urban development to improve the wellbeing of people living in cities. IHS is about making cities work. 

Our network of alumni includes over 10 000 active urban experts all over the world, ranging from architects, social scientists, economists, to public administration workers, civil servants, and government officials. 

Vision and Mission

We envision cities that are liveable and just as well as socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.
Our mission is to inspire and empower urban professionals and citizens to make cities work for all.

Our approach

IHS' approach to the problems faced in reducing poverty and improving the quality of life in cities is based on the cross-fertilization of three activities: education, advisory services and applied research.  

IHS strongly believes in linking theory and practice: staff members spend a substantial amount of time working in the field, possessing applicable expertise within the context of different countries they have worked in, and thus providing support, training and services that are relevant for course participants and clients.


The birth of IHS is associated with the foundation of the Bouwcentrum and the reconstruction of Rotterdam, a city that was heavily destroyed during the WWII bombardments. In response to increasing international demand for the experiences of the Bouwcentrum, an international training wing was established in 1958 to provide international education and transfer knowledge and expertise to professionals from developing countries, seeking solutions in housing and construction sectors. This was called the Bouwcentrum International Education-BIE. BIE became independent in the ‘70s and in 1982, it was transformed into the Institute for Housing Studies – IHS. In the beginning of the ‘90s, IHS changed its name into Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies. 

In the early 2000s, IHS became part of the Erasmus University Rotterdam and is now located in the Woudestein Campus.

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