Can data research bring unregistered young people back onto the radar?

News - 20 July 2017

The Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for BOLD Cities plans to put 'Big, Open and Linked Data’ techniques to a new use. It aims to use data research to help track down young people who are not in employment or in receipt of benefits, no longer attend school, and are not officially registered.

For its project entitled ‘Big Data for Youth Policy’, the Centre for BOLD Cities is receiving incentive funding as part of the Dutch Science Agenda's themed programme ‘JOIN – Young people in a resilient society’.

According to estimates from Statistics Netherlands (CBS), there are around 66,000 young people who have gone missing from the official records. This potentially places them at risk because they often face multiple forms of social deprivation and can suffer mental health issues as well. There is also a fear of this group drifting into crime or becoming radicalised.

Because these young people can be found on almost no official records, municipalities are unable to provide them with the support they need to fully participate in society, socially, economically and culturally.

Urban social data platform

A central component of the Centre for BOLD Cities project is the urban social data platform Social Glass, developed by the TU Delft data scientist Alessandro Bozzon (faculty of EEMCS, Web Information Systems) in the research team. It can be used to combine structured city data with unstructured dynamic data originating from sensors or social media. 

The Centre for BOLD Cities plans to use this platform to investigate whether it is possible to bring these young people back onto the radar. At the same time, the research team is convinced of the need for the project to take account of and do justice to the world as experienced by these 'invisible young people'.

Science and cities join forces

The research team consists of data scientists, social scientists and cultural scientists. In the project, the Centre for BOLD Cities is collaborating with the Knowledge Centres Urban Big Data and Stedelijke Arbeidsmarkt (Urban Labour Market) from Erasmus University Rotterdam and the City of Rotterdam. The four major municipalities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht are also involved.

The scientists

Erasmus University Rotterdam

  • Team Leader Prof. Liesbet van Zoonen, Professor of Sociology in the Faculty of Social Sciences/scientific director of the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for BOLD Cities.
  • Dr Jason Pridmore, Department of Media and Communication, Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication.

Delft University of Technology

  • Dr Allessandro Bozzon, Web Information Systems, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science. 
  • Dr Achilleas Psyllidis, Web Information Systems, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science.

Leiden University

  • Dr Marike Knoef, Economics department, Faculty of Law.
  • Dr Sarah Giest, Public Administration Institute, Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs.

Theme programme JOIN - Young people in resilient societies

The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) has provided funding for eight routes in the Dutch Science Agenda, amounting to up to € 2.5 million each. The Route ‘Towards Resilient Societies’ received funding for the theme programme JOIN – Young people in a resilient society, led by Dr Bas van Bavel from Utrecht University. This theme programme is being developed by a large number of consortia. The sub-project ‘Big Data for Youth Policy’ is part of the theme programme.

Dutch Science Agenda (Nationale Wetenschapsagenda)

The grants of up to € 2.5 million have been awarded to three themes selected by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science that align with the routes set out in the Dutch Science Agenda. The Dutch Science Agenda brings together issues on which Dutch science will focus particular attention in the near future. They are based on 12,000 issues submitted by the general public.

The Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for BOLD Cities applies data research in contributing to solutions to urban issues. The perspective of city residents features prominently in this. ‘BOLD’ stands for ‘Big, Open and Linked Data’.