Sabrina Huizenga

The experimental city: unpacking big data and citizen engagement in urban health labs

Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam,

Supervisors Prof. dr. R. Bal, dr. H. van de Bovenkamp, dr. L. Oldenhof


I hold a bachelor degree (HBO) in Art Therapy (2005) and an educational Masters in Urban Education (2011). In 2017 I obtained a master’s degree in Urban Sociology (cum laude) and wrote a thesis on HPV vaccination as a public issue.


The overarching aim of this PhD research is to explore whether Urban Labs can be viewed as a radically different, more inclusive mode of governance or the continuation of the status quo in a slightly altered form.

To address this topic I will study urban labs that focus on health care issues, with an emphasis on two phenomena that are deemed important for the functioning of Urban health Labs:

1) the use of ‘big’ monitoring data

2) citizen engagement and co-production

To describe the mundane practice and politics of urban labs from the inside out and understand this new form of governance from the outside in, ethnographic research will be conducted. The research will primarily take place in the municipality of Rotterdam, but there is flexibility to include other case studies in rural areas that deal with very specific problems in terms of the organization of healthcare. By researching experiments in both rural and urban settings, the role of context can be investigated as well.



Steijn, A.J., Voet, J. van der & Huizenga, S. (2017). Teamkenmerken en gepercipieerde prestaties van wijkteams. Rotterdam: Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.