65 years of making cities work for all

This year, the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) commemorates its 65th anniversary. The institute stands out as one of the organisations in the field of city development that has made a lasting impact throughout the years. This article brings together reflections on the notable contributions IHS has had on urban environments worldwide.

A Legacy of Excellence

Since its establishment in 1958, IHS has been at the forefront of research, education, and capacity building in urban development. Located in Rotterdam, Netherlands, the institute was first associated with the Bouwcentrum, a non-profit development institute for housing, building and physical planning, with the goal of helping rebuild Rotterdam after the Second World War. In 1971, IHS was called the Bouwcentrum International Education (BIE), and 10 years later, it changed its name to the Institute for Housing Studies (IHS). In 2000, IHS moved premises to the Woudestein campus of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, and it became part of the Erasmus Holding.

Empowering Urban Professionals

One of the key strengths of IHS lies in its ability to equip urban professionals with the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate the complexities of urban development. Over the past 65 years, the institute has trained urban planners, policymakers, architects, and other urban practitioners, creating a global alumni network of more than 10 000 people.

Cutting-Edge Research

IHS has been a place where researchers have the opportunity to generate valuable insights and innovative solutions for urban challenges. Through its research initiatives, the institute has addressed pressing issues such as affordable housing, climate change resilience, urban governance, and sustainable transportation, driving positive change in urban environments such as India, Indonesia, Ghana, Colombia and many more. 

"Cities will be critical in addressing global issues of sustainability, inclusivity and prosperity, and IHS staff and alumni will continue to play a great role in making cities work for all."

David Dodman, IHS General Director 

Transformative Impact

The impact of IHS can be witnessed in cities across the globe. IHS alumni have taken their knowledge and expertise back to their home countries, implementing sustainable urban policies and initiatives that have improved the quality of life for millions of people. The institute also contributes to societal goals through direct engagements in research and advisory and training projects which equip, transform and shape the communities, organizations, and people toward sustainable and inclusive urban development. Our influence can be seen in areas such as slum upgrading, participatory planning processes, and urban regeneration, which have transformed communities and empowered marginalized populations.

Fostering Local and International Collaboration

IHS has always recognized the importance of local and international collaboration in addressing global urban challenges. Over the years, the institute has formed partnerships with academic institutions, governments, and organizations worldwide, such UN-Habitat, World Bank, Cities Alliance, etc. But also on a local level in the Netherlands and Europe. These collaborations have enabled the exchange of ideas, best practices, and lessons learned, fostering a global network of urban professionals committed to sustainable urban development.

Looking to the Future

As IHS celebrates its 65th anniversary, it continues to evolve and adapt to the changing urban landscape. The institute recognizes the emergence of new challenges, such as rapid urbanization, digital transformation, and social inequality. With an eye toward the future, IHS continues to inspire urban professionals and drive positive change in our rapidly urbanizing world.

IHS over the years

IHS over the years
  • Graduation ceremony of the IHS PhD candidate Hung Viet Ngo

IHS over the years

1/6 Image source: wederopbouwrotterdam.nl
Fototechnische Dienst, Stadsarchief Rotterdam, 1965-1967
Graduation ceremony of the IHS PhD candidate Hung Viet Ngo
IHS alumni on their graduation day
Graduation ceremony of the IHS PhD candidate Hung Viet Ngo
IHS alumni on their graduation day

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