Need support?

Need support?

Our research and expertise centre offers knowledge, inspiration, and support to organisations, federations, and government bodies that want to create a sustainable, active, and liveable environment which is tailored to its users.


We carry out practical studies on the design of physical and social environments, as well as how they affect people’s behaviour and the choices they make. This research primarily relates to the use of public spaces for sport, exercise, play, relaxation, and coming together.


We provide knowledge, inspiration, and support to organisations, federations, and government bodies that want to create a sustainable, active, and liveable environment which is tailored to its users.


We offer custom training, workshops, and lectures.



Many young people show growing concern about the climate crisis and are determined to take action and make their voices heard. Both local governments and youth organizations want to involve young people in sustainability projects, by having them actively participate in the (re)design of public spaces. But how do you approach this concretely if you are a youth organization, city or municipality?

These evidence-based arguments can help to raise the profile of sport and exercise in public space, as well as linking them with other policy domains.

What environmental factors have an impact on healthy ageing? In this project, we seek to develop a screening and monitoring tool to map the age-friendliness of cities.

Gender-inclusive spaces thrive
The name of the G.I.R.L! project – from the Dutch ‘gender inclusieve ruimte leeft’, or ‘gender-inclusive space is alive’ – illustrates our objective perfectly: we want to make the concept of inclusive space come alive and bring attention to the issues of teenage girls. We look at whether urban sports can empower girls to claim their place in public spaces.

Our aims: to meet, connect, inspire, and share knowledge! One of the ways we do this is by giving lectures at conferences and knowledge days. Discover where to find us this autumn!

Although urban sport is becoming increasingly popular among young people, finding suitable spaces to practise can be a challenge. This is where the Urban Sports Kickstart Guide comes into play! The tool provides tools for identifying spaces, useful tips for setting them up, and inspiring examples from home and abroad.

Youth engagement and environment tool
Bringing youth together to think about public space is the ultimate aim of the YET project. We let young people’s creativity run wild!  

Start working with data to improve the activities of your community.

To the Exercise Scan!

Inclusion through Physical Activity & Sport
IncluPAS is an EU-funded social-sports project that promotes social inclusion through sport and exercise initiatives. The project is set up for and by socially vulnerable adolescents aged 14 to 18. 

How can we integrate outdoor play into an urban environment? We started examining this question together with the city of Bruges and developed a useful framework and tool to detect opportunities for play.

We explore the increasing space-related and infrastructural challenges of urban sports in collaboration with sports federations and local governments.

From knowledge and insights toward informed choices and innovative, broadly supported urban policies. We use a structured method to identify the existing urban sports landscape of cities and communities.

In collaboration with several Bruges city services and local residents, we explore opportunities for more exercise in the district.

Club Brugge’s Olympiapark as an added value for the neighbourhood: how can its offer, animation, and promotion be aligned with citizens’ needs and requirements?

The Wetenschapscafé (‘Science Café’) podcast welcomes guests Lore Cuypers (Howest - Vital Cities) and Sven de Visscher (HoGent), who talk about the ‘Stad in Beweging’ (‘The City on the Move’).

Finding your way through data: measure, understand, and take decisions for an active environment. 

You can read all about it in our white paper! 

Why invest in Exercise Routes? What are the prerequisites for a successful implementation?

You can read all about it in our white paper!

The Learning Platform was developed through the IncluPAS Erasmus+ sports project. It offers inspiration, tutorials, instruments, and practical examples for you to apply in your own particular context, organisation, or project. 

Do you want to get into the school environment and maximise the opportunities that children and young people have to play, exercise, and practise sport, both inside and outside the classroom? 

As part of Howest’s course in Sport & Exercise, students can take the ‘Vital Cities’ elective module. The module can also be taken by external individuals.

In this week-long session, 140 students from Howest’s courses in Applied Architecture, Sport & Exercise, and Physical Education team up on eight specific cases which focus on URBAN SPORTS & CULTURE. 

In 2018, Bruges gained the designation of a ‘child- and youth-friendly city’. Because 2023 marks the fifth anniversary of this award, we want to celebrate our excellent partnership with the city during this day of inspiration, entitled ‘Building a child- and youth-friendly city together’, held at the Sport Innovation Campus on 25 October 2023. 

Vital cities team

Lore Cuypers

Lore Cuypers

Human Movement Sciences & Environmental Psychology
Ann Decorte

Ann Decorte

Social Transformation Processes & Impact
Eva Saelens

Eva Saelens

Gender, Diversity, and Inclusion
Anton Renard

Anton Renard

Mobility & Social Economy
Tom Broekaert

Tom Broekaert

Architecture & Design of the Public Space