Centre of Expertise Urban Vitality

About Urban Vitality

From top-level sports to top-level healthcare

Amsterdam is vibrant. It always has been. The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) wants to keep it that way. With Urban Vitality as a research priority area, we are finding out how the AUAS can help Amsterdammers to maintain a vital and healthy lifestyle, in their neighbourhoods, schools and sports clubs.

Various groups in Amsterdam can use our assistance when it comes to improving their health and lifestyle. For example, vulnerable senior citizens who still live at home, overweight children or patients recovering from heart disease. We also focus on another end of the health spectrum, supporting elite athletes by researching ways to optimise their training methods.


At AUAS, we are researching ways to strengthen the vitality of these groups. People with different cultural backgrounds and socio-economic status, from all corners of Amsterdam: New-West to the Centre to the Bijlmer. To achieve this, we work closely with the municipality, healthcare institutions and hospitals. And of course, the people of Amsterdam themselves.

Our researchers and students are working on projects that seek to answer the following questions:

· What is the best type of care to promote recovery among elderly heart disease patients following hospitalisation?

· How can daycares help parents with a low socio-economic status and/or migrant background to promote a healthy lifestyle for their children?

· Can an app encourage overweight children to get moving more outdoors? · Do intensive care-patients recover better when using a super-fast portable treadmill? · Will a new training/practising method help elite athletes and professional musicians and dancers to perform better under pressure?

Everything that we do, for all of our target groups, is focused on encouraging people to move and eat responsibly. This is because the group of Amsterdammers with an sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet is continuing to grow.

We therefore ask ourselves: · How can we keep neighbourhoods easily accessible for the elderly? (Age Friendly City) · How can we get more people moving? (for example via green spaces, sport equipment in parks and apps) · Is it better to treat joint disorders by addressing lifestyle rather than medicating patients? · Do people recover better following hospitalisation if they consume enough protein?

Our students often conduct their research with AUAS lecturers and professors, many of whom have a PhD. These research teams are often multidisciplinary and work in cooperation with other parties committed to promoting health among Amsterdammers, such as:

· Amsterdam UMC (university hospital)

· TNO (The Netherlands Organisation for applied scientific research)

· Healthcare centres

· Sports institutions

· Immigrant and refugee centres

· Associations for patients and professionals

We also work closely with corporate partners, such as app-developers and nutrition companies.

Living labs Most of the Urban Vitality research takes place in living labs, real-life settings in the city where residents, patients and athletes actively contribute to our research.

Many of the lecturers at the AUAS also conduct research. They apply the latest insights from research in their classrooms. Students learn to adapt to a constantly changing society and to come up with new solutions for urban issues. In this way, we foster an investigative attitude among the next generation of nurses, paramedics, dieticians, sports lecturers and entrepreneurs. This enables AUAS students to directly contribute to a healthy city upon the completion of their studies.

Published by  Urban Vitality 2 May 2019