The Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) is an international centre of excellence of the School of Economics (ESE) and the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS) of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands, operating on a global scale by offering post-graduate education, training, advisory services and applied research.
Today more people live in cities than ever before. Our urban future confronts us with great innovations and challenges. Cities need urban professionals who can understand, face and manage these developments by creating urban futures that improve the quality of life in cities. IHS trains and advises these professionals on a global scale through its integrated approach in education, advisory services and research that offers practice and theory on urban management and development.
IHS is an international centre of excellence associated with the Erasmus University Rotterdam and operating on a global scale that offers specialized postgraduate education, training, advisory services and applied research in the fields of urban management, housing and urban environment with the mission to develop human and institutional capacities to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life in cities.
As part of the post-World War II reconstruction of the Netherlands, a building centre of excellence called Bouwcentrum was founded in Rotterdam, in 1948. Its primary mission was to develop methodologies and technologies to foster fast production of affordable and adequate housing and generate innovative approaches of addressing severe housing shortage experienced in the Netherlands.
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 an 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 Institute for Housing Studies – IHS. In the beginning of the ‘90s, IHS changed its name into Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies.
Joining Erasmus University
In the early 2000s, IHS joined the EUR’s Woudestein campus, which came in line with the Dutch governmental policy of stimulating the collaboration between international education institutions like IHS and universities of the Netherlands. That same year, an organizational reform started at IHS, which marked the first step towards integration with Erasmus University Rotterdam. This status was formalised in 2004 and since then, IHS is officially a part of Erasmus University Rotterdam.
A centre of excellence
In 2007, IHS received the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour award, for leading the way as a global centre of excellence and knowledge through its high-quality teaching programmes in housing, urban management and urban environmental management and planning. This award is granted every year on World Habitat Day, a day established by the United Nations General Assembly to raise awareness about the state of human settlements.
"This is the most prestigious award given by the United Nations in recognition of work carried out in the field of human settlements development." (UN-HABITAT Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka)
Making cities work
In 2008, humankind reached a historic milestone: more than half of the world’s population was living in urban areas. IHS recognizes the global impact of cities, as well as the importance of sustainable development, which is why our research, educational programmes and advisory services provide valuable assistance in tackling the multi-faceted challenge of urbanization. In over 55 years of activity, more than 8,500 professionals from 140 countries have received training at IHS. The IHS alumni are active urban experts, ranging from architects, social scientists, economists, to public administration workers, civil servants, and government officials.
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