Because of the high residential density, cities are great places to foster change. Change in terms of sustainable consumption, healthy life-styles and societal participation. Important topics are (food) waste, energy and water use, food use, (non-point) pollution and climate change impacts in urban areas.

Research of the UCE group concentrates on the economic behaviour, institutions, and the incentives that can contribute to more sustainable urban consumption and healthy lifestyles, focusing on the role and participation of consumers and households, municipal authorities and institutions, firms and NGO’s and the interactions between them. By applying a behavioural economics approach, behaviour with respect to judgment, choice and social decision making is studied, taking into account subjective factors, context and (expected) consequences of behaviour.

Next, the Urban Economics group focuses on the impacts of urbanization on actors and activities in the urban-rural interface. Important issues in this respect are the economic analysis of the changed relation between food production and consumption as well as the management and design of green/blue areas in cities and rural areas around cities. The research of UEC focusses on the economics of spatial planning for urbanization and the development of optimal interaction between cities and rural areas, for example in the context of regional food supply systems, climate change mitigation, nature conservation and recreation activities.