Princetonlaan 8a, 3584 CB, Utrecht +31 30 253 13 63

The Open City Initiative

The Open City Initiative is a new global network of transdisciplinary education, research, and societal partnerships. The focus is on issues related to cities as open frontier spaces that belong to everyone, and urban studies that are widely open to any discipline. In the face of current events (e.g. BLM, climate crises, pandemic-lockdown, widespread urban evictions) in established cities and the rapid pace of urbanisation across continents, there is an increasing need for an open platform to tackle the urgent societal questions regarding inclusivity, sustainability, and ‘openness’ of urban spaces and research. To provide such a platform, the Initiative has joined forces from geographers, urban planners, anthropologists, humanity and international development scholars at Utrecht University.

The Initiative will be launched through a series of webinars and workshops planned in two weeks from March 16 to March 26. They will provide an opportunity for sharing and exchange of knowledge about the Open City. A wide range of academic and nonacademic speakers will be present, such as NGOs, activists, researchers and students.

Who we are

The organization of the initiative is led by: Abigail Friendly, Kei Otsuki, Francesca Pilo (Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning); Martijn Oosterbaan (Department of Anthropology), and Babette Berrocal (Centre for Global Challenges, UGlobe) at Utrecht University.

If you have any questions regarding one of our events, please feel free to contact us by e-mail through:

Webinars & Workshops
  • Keynote: Open City: The Spatial Justice of Urban Sutainability | March 16, 14:30–15:45 (CET)
  • Webinar: Pandemic (In)securities: Violence and Order-Making | March 17, 13:00 – 15:00 (CET time)
  • Webinar: Coping with Corona in the Margins: Urban Vulnerabilities and Inequalities | March 18, 13:00 – 15:00 (CET time)
  • Workshop: Inclusive Cities and Global Urban Transformations | March 19, 13:00 – 15:00 (CET time)
  • Workshop: The More-Than-Human City | March 23, 10:00 – 12:00 (CET time)
  • Webinar: Sustainable Solutions for Open Cities: How Citizens Deal and Shape Energy and Climate Challenges | March 24, 13:00 – 15:00 (CET time)
  • Webinar: Politicizing the Pandemic: Legitimacy, Integrity and Governance | March 25, 13:00 – 15:00 (CET time)
  • The Open City Initiative: Future Steps | March 26, 15:30 – 16:45

For more information and how to register, visit the website here.

MLRF | Vacancy Communications and Event Management Specialist

Extended deadline: 10 March 2021

The Mekong Region Land Governance together with our partners; FAO and Land Portal will be organising the Mekong Regional Land Forum 2021 in May.  We are currently looking for a Communications and Event Management Specialist.  The application is pretty short as we will be closing on 24 February.  The Applicant will be contracted for 25 working days. Compensation will be commensurate with the successful applicant’s qualifications and competitive with global standards in the industry.  More information about the position here.

Land Portal | Job Opportunity: (Open) Data Officer

The Land Portal Foundation is seeking a dynamic and highly motivated (Open) Data Officer to join our dynamic data team in charge of leading the information and data sharing needs of the Land Portal.  The (Open) Data Officer will ensure all data harvested and published by the Land Portal is highly curated and managed and respond to open data standards and FAIR principles. The (Open) Data Officer will also contribute to advocacy and capacity building strategy and ensure uptake of such principles by the land community.

The successful candidate will also be welcomed into a small, dedicated  and disbursed team of international professionals that make up the Land Portal.  The Land Portal is an inclusive space and we encourage applications from women, and candidates from the Global South.

Organizational profile

At the Land Portal, we believe that data and information are powerful tools for achieving our vision of a land governance system that benefits those with the most insecure land rights and the greatest vulnerability to landlessness. However, information sources remain highly fragmented, unstructured, poorly curated and represent a narrow range of perspectives; they continue to be published in ways that do not facilitate maximum discovery, engagement and reuse. Until policy and decision-makers, intermediaries and grassroots groups have access to the data and information they need to make sound decisions, their initiatives will fail to achieve maximum impact.

The Land Portal exists to fill in these gaps, and to nurture a vibrant online platform to inform and engage with partners.  We do this by promoting open data and the sharing of best practices and stimulating debate and collaboration both on and offline. We provide a vital bridge for those grappling with complex land governance issues, from researchers and NGOs through to governments and grassroots communities, by  connecting people, facilitating dialogue and by mending fragmented information.

Raising awareness of “open data” and the critical role it plays in realizing tenure security for individuals and communities around the world continues to be a great challenge. To this end, we make use of every possible conference, meeting and speaking engagement to promote the concept of “going open,” while recognizing that, given the highly sensitive nature of land data (particularly for vulnerable communities), not everything can or should be made entirely open.

We set out an ambitious new strategy in 2019  to improve the documentation, mapping and monitoring of land governance issues; enrich and inform the global debate on land rights; and democratize access to the land governance “information ecosystem” and improve the flow of data between diverse actors.  The (Open) Data Officer plays an important role in building this information ecosystem.

Job Description

The (Open) Data Officer will be responsible for data ingestions and updates in the Land Portal database, with special attention to the Land Portal’s priority themes (Urban Tenure, Gender & Land, Land & Investments, Land Monitoring Initiatives, Community & Indigenous Land Rights), as well as support and contribution to Land Portal’s knowledge products including the State of Land Information work and and thematic and country portfolios and contribute to open data advocacy strategy and capacity building efforts.

Principal Tasks & Responsibilities:

  1. Keep the Land Portal Database constantly up-to-date and curated by updating Statistical, Bibliographic, and Project data importers and checking it against errors;
  2. Keep documentation for all re-run importers up-to-date.
  3. Ingest new Statistical, Bibliographic, and Project data in the Land Portal database, based on Land Portal priority themes. This includes:
    • Scope and triage new statistical, spatial and project datasets and bibliographic repositories to ingest that are relevant for Land Portal priority themes;
    • Collaborate with the Information Management & Advocacy Officer to develop quarterly data plans and prioritize sources for ingestion; assist in communication with data providers and other external parties;
    • Curate and perform preliminary quality checks for the data,
    • Develop scripts to ingest data, working with API and CSV files;
    • Run importers to generate RDF and upload RDF data to Virtuoso;
    • For bibliographic data importers, analyze and curate external metadata, map external data (metadata models, taxonomies, etc.) to the Library’s data model and, finally, profile missing publishers as organizations on the Portal (incl. documenting number of new publishers) before running the importer and ingesting data in the Library and Virtuoso;
    • Document process of ingestion for each importer on the process and the code for developers;
  4. Contribute in improving research methodology and performing of Open Data Assessments on Land Portal’s State of Land Information (SOLI)
    • Contribute to the continuous development and refinement of the research methodology of the State of Land Information (SOLI);
    • Write the Open Data Compliance assessment upon identified datasets and repositories based on SOLI scoping country exercises;
    • Review and provide comments to the Open Data Assessment Report written by the Land Data Advocacy & Management Officer.
  5. Assist with developing the Land Projects content type as well as ingesting relevant project data
    • Support the process of migration of Land Governance map Database into the land Portal; develop specification and oversee user needs assessment, development of specifications and web development in close collaboration with the GDWGL, Land Portal data and ICT teams;
    • Further enhance project (meta-)data model and identify possible new (standard) taxonomies to use;
    • In close collaboration the Land Data Advocacy & Management Officer, scope for, prioritize and triage potential land project databases and land individual projects/programs to ingest into the new Land Portal Database and assist in communication with data owners and other external parties;
    • Generate new project importers based on priority list. Analyze and curate external metadata, map external data model (metadata models, taxonomies, etc.) to the Land Portal’s model and, finally, profile missing project owners as organizations on the Portal before running the importer and ingesting data in Drupal and Virtuoso;
    • Document process of ingestion for each importer on the process and the code for developers.
  6. Provide support to the development of LandVoc
    • Provide IT support to the LandVoc website, (link is external);
    • Maintain and ensure consistent lists of concepts are recorded in all places Landvoc is used and/or stored (i.e. LandVoc website, AGROVOC Vocbench, internal Drive documentation and in Drupal) in collaboration with the Information Management Officer;
    • Provide advice and guidance on the future strategy and development of LandVoc based on expertise in semantic web and ontology management.
Qualifications and skills

The successful candidate will be selected against the following:

  • University Education (Masters level or higher, or equivalent) in Information Science, information management or any other relevant fields;
  • Programming skills (eg. Python, Java);
  • Knowledge of Drupal; Vocbench, Skosmos, Bootstrap;
  • Knowledge of Virtuoso;
  • Proven experience in data management (2 to 5 years);
  • Strong knowledge about open data, semantic web, linked data, controlled vocabularies and data sharing technologies;
  • Knowledge about data standards and metadata standards;
  • Fluency in English. Knowledge of other languages would be an asset;
  • Superior attention to detail;
  • Good drafting, communicating and presenting abilities;
  • knowledge of land governance related issues and land data landscape;
  • Experience working as part of an international distributed, remote team;
  • Disciplined – good at managing time.
  • Strong capacity to work in a team, autonomously, and respect tight deadlines.
Personal and Professional Attributes
  • Inclusive and effective communication skills and techniques with an ability to respectfully engage with, and communicate concepts to others;
  • High standard of ethics and integrity which inspires trust and confidence;
  • Enthusiasm and commitment to sustained effort through diligence and pursuit of high standards;
  • Commitment to ongoing personal and professional development which drives best practice.
  • Proactively utilizes initiative, innovation and a commitment to continuous improvement;
  • Strong collaborative skills which enable effective engagement within a high functioning, cohesive team;
  • Ability to employ sound judgment and decision making amongst competing demands;
  • Ability to show initiative in planning and developing new ideas and approaches, and to implement and communicate change effectively;
  • Problem-solving attitude;
  • Diplomacy, team spirit and willingness to take initiative;
  • Ability to meet strict deadlines.

The (Open) Data Officer will report directly to the Land Portal Team Leader and will be accountable to the Board of the Land Portal Foundation. She/he will work under the supervision of the Land Information Management & Advocacy Officer and will report time spent against the ToRs every month in the Land Portal Foundation’s Timesheets; She/he will develop weekly and quarterly work plans in close cooperation with the Land Information Management & Advocacy Officer and will report accordingly.


This position is home-based and will be staffed on a part-time (5-6 days/month) consultancy basis for a year following a probationary period of 3 months. The official language for this position is English. The salary level will depend on experience and seniority.

How to apply?

Please send your curriculum vitae (CV) and a cover letter explaining your interests and qualifications (addressed to Laura Meggiolaro, Land Portal Team Leader) no later than midnight CET on  19 March, 2021 or email your cover letter and CV to (link sends e-mail).

Please write “(Open) Data Officer –  Job Application” as the subject of the email.

Nominate a Climate Hero

What stories of frontline climate leadership need to be heard and amplified? The Human Impacts Institute, together with the Tenure Facility and the Ford Foundation, would like your help in amplifying the stories of frontline indigenous and local communities, with a particular focus on women and youth, from the global south who can inspire a ‘new normal’, championing resilience and equality in the face of the climate crisis.

The ”Climate Crossroads” series will showcase how traditional knowledge can help us redefine how to interpret our relationship with nature and each other, through freshly commissioned works of art. Ten leaders will be selected to highlight what we can learn about resilience, cooperation and interconnectedness as we move towards a post-pandemic world, and their stories will be turned into powerful and moving works of sound and animation.

Read more and nominate!

KPS&RL | Knowledge Management Fund

Deadline expression of interest: 12 March 2021

The Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law has launced a Knowledge Management Fund. The Knowledge Management Fund is the Knowledge Platform’s instrument to financially support activities arising from its network. The small-scale grants awarded by the Fund offer a low barrier to entry for innovative, agile and experimental proposals. The aim of proposals is to diversify thinking and evidence in the Security & Rule of Law (SRoL) field, particularly in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings (FCAS).

The KMF is an annual fund that awards grants for 9-month projects of up to €20,000 for events, research ideas and other initiatives that contribute to improving the quality of knowledge generated by the SRoL field, and its subsequent uptake.

More information

Blog | Ensuring women’s participation in land governance: “bringing the law home” in Tanzania

Despite Tanzania’s progressive legal framework on land rights and governance, many women are often left out of community decision-making due to social and cultural norms that persist in some areas of the country. In this guest blog at IIED, Isabella Nchimbi, programme officer at Tanzania Women Lawyers Association (TAWLA), discusses a participatory initiative in Tanzania that’s helping women make their voices heard when it comes to land governance.

Read the blog

Perspective | Five insights on internal displacement and human rights for Asia and the Pacific in terms of the Paris Agreements

In this perspective article, author Albert Salamanca, Senior Research Fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute’s Asia Centre, shares five insights on internal displacement and human rights for Asia in terms of the Paris Agreements. These insights have emerged from work in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, where the researchers mapped out the role of both disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) and human rights law and policy in responding to internal displacement.

Read more

Journal Article | Fit-for-Purpose Land Administration in Violent Conflict Settings

In this recently published journal article by C. Augustinus and O. Tempra in Land (MDPI), the authors address the question: what are the key features of fit-for-purpose land administration in violent conflict contexts? The article discusses case studies from Darfur/Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Honduras, Iraq, Jubaland/Somalia, Peru and South Sudan. The article is open access and can be found at the link below.

Read the full article here.

Second Arab Land Conference

Between the 22nd-24th of February the Second Arab Land Conference took place in Cairo, Egypt and online. The conference marked an important milestone in the roadmap towards establishing good land governance in the Arab region.

Have you missed the conference? Daily updates of the ins and outs of the conference can be found here (in collaboration with the Land Portal Foundation). Also have a look at the conference’s e-library, where you can find links to publications and other references and resources related to the programme’s sessions.

Both ENDS | New publication: Advancing inclusive land governance: Successful strategies and practices from the field

Both ENDS works together with a diverse network of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on inclusive land justice and land governance agendas. Collaborating and engaging with communities and decision-makers, these organisations actively identify, implement and advocate for inclusive land governance and sustainable land-use policies and practices that suit their local context.

This recently published guidebook provides a collection of their experiences, practices and strategies. The aim is to provide a source of inspiration as well as practical guidance that other organisations can draw upon to strengthen their own work towards achieving inclusive land justice.

Read the Guidebook here!