Nanda Piersma Appointed Professor by Special Appointment Urban Analytics

The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) Executive Board has appointed Nanda Piersma, Amsterdam Data Science Management Team, as professor by special appointment researching ‘Urban analytics’. Piersma’s appointment will start on 1 September 2017 and run for four years. ‘Urban Analytics’ will centre on big data analysis to provide a basis for new products and services which can contribute to solutions for many of the challenges facing Amsterdam in the 21st century. This new research group is (the strengthening of) a collaboration between the Technology and the Digital Media and Creative Industry faculties (both AUAS) and the CWI. The CWI is the national research centre in the field of mathematics and theoretical computer science. Regieorgaan SIA, the national body promoting practice oriented research, will contribute financially towards this research.


In the coming decades, cities such as Amsterdam will be increasingly confronted with expanding urbanisation, growth and rising population densities. These issues will present a range of challenges for these cities, for example regarding liveability, mobility, increasing energy requirements, air pollution and forms of government and cooperation. The challenge will lie in the appropriate reaction and anticipation of these issues, in which maintenance – or improvement – of the environment and sustainability are essential. The city – Amsterdam – must remain both sustainable and liveable.

New solutions

Developments in ICT and the availability of large scale information (Big Data) permits an insight into issues and enables new solutions for many urban challenges to be considered. The basis consists of the measuring, storage and analysis of large volumes of data (data science) which can throw up new insights regarding (urban) environments. These insights can provide a conduit to new services and products.


The amount of data available is only set to increase in the decades to come. Therefore this research group will focus on the transfer of the data into useful information to help stimulate concrete action; action which will benefit people as end users of these products and services. Large amounts of data also have a downside, particularly when considering the security implications of personal details and the necessary transparency of these collected details. The research group will also consider the questions these issues raise.

AUAS students

Nanda Piersma (54) is a familiar name at AUAS. She has managed various degree programmes since her arrival in 2002. As senior lecturer-researcher, she has also been responsible for the Data Science specialisation of the bachelor’s programme in Applied Mathematics since 2014. In addition, she is responsible for the AUAS Urban Technology research group’s Urban Analytics team. The ‘Urban Analytics’ research group will closely involve AUAS students in their activities in the years to come and there will be a close connection with various AUAS bachelor and masters courses.

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