Safety is a hot topic. Especially in those places where large numbers of people spend time, live and work. Places like our cities. Safety is frequently under threat here. Think about terrorist attacks, shootings, robberies, human trafficking and other forms of crime and violence. The coronavirus pandemic clearly has safety implications too.
Needless to say, we implement all kinds of measures to make our cities safer. We take account of our personal safety (terrorism and criminality), but also our digital safety (cyber attacks), health safety (coronavirus measures, access to health care, first aid, vulnerable groups in the city) and safety in terms of infrastructure (safe roads, buildings and bridges). We do everything in our power to make city dwellers feel relatively safe. But this has wide-ranging consequences for society. For example, how does striving for safety impact on privacy and individual liberty? And whose safety takes priority?
We also examine the actions taken against those who create unsafety. What does the police do? What about special investigating officers? Does the public trust them? At the Open Universiteit we research all such matters, providing expert advice, offering ethical and cultural-scientific reflections on safety and urban living, and contributing to legal solutions or psychological interventions.
This program includes three key themes: