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Building Resilient Economic Agglomerations adressing Transportation and Health Effects: Urban form, location choice and transport solutions for high air quality and low-carbon cities

This project analyses the interactions between urban form, economic welfare, energy use by and emissions from households and firms. Increasing urban density and increasing city size tend to reduce households’ average energy consumption. However, increasing population density also tends to reduce local air quality. This trade-off as well as urban policies to stimulate the transition towards low carbon cities are subject of study. This is done by collecting data in four very different European cities – Amsterdam, Istanbul, Gothenburg and Barcelona – and by developing a spatial-economic equilibrium model that can be used for policy simulations. BREATHE engages policy makers and companies from the four cities.

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  • Project Consortium

    Academic Partners:

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Dr. Steven Poelhekke (Principal Investigator)
    Dr. Peter Mulder
    Prof. dr. Henri de Groot
    Prof. dr. Erik Verhoef
    Postdoc: Dr. Saul Basurto Hernandez
    University of Gothenburg, Sweden
    Dr. Jessica Coria
    Dr. Wolfgang Habla
    Sabanci University Istanbul, Turkey
    Dr. Eren Inci 
    Dr. Zeren Taspinar

    Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
    Prof. dr. Jeroen van den Bergh   
    Martina Siskova MSc

    Cooperation Partners:
    Amsterdam City Region (Stadsregio), The Netherlands
    Martin Bekker

    Ecorys, The Netherlands
    Maaike Zwart    
    Walter Hulsker
    Traffic & Public Transport Authority of Gothenburg (Trafikkontoret Göteborg), Sweden
    Carin Ström

    Department of Transportation at Istanbul Metroplitan Municipality (IBB), Turkey
    Serap Cetinkaya

    Barcelona Metropolitan Transport Authority, Spain

    European Metropolitan Transport Authorities (EMTA)
    Ruud van der Ploeg (General Secretary)     
    EMTA Barometer 2014  

    Ioannis Tikoudis 
    Walid Oueslati 

    Project Manager and Contact Person:

    Hadewijch van Delft
    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
    Phone: +31-20-5982191

    START OF THE PROJECT: 1 June, 2016


  • Outreach


    Delaprez, Y., and Poelhekke, S. (2018). Onderzoek naar schone lucht - Wetenschapsnotitie, online publication on
    Coria J., and Zhang, X.B. (2017). Optimal environmental road pricing and daily commuting patternsTransportation Research B 105: 297-314.

    At the BREATHE project meeting held in Barcelona on June 19, 2017, Wolfgang Habla (together with Efthymia Kyriakopolou) held a presentation on 'Electric vs. conventional vehicles: environmental externalities and urban spatial policies', which will soon appear as a working paper.
    'Electric vehicles and residential energy consumption: an indirect rebound effect' by Efthymia Kyriakopolou, Wolfgang Habla, Erik Verhoef was presented on several conferences: ITEA, Barcelona (June 2017), EAERE, Athens (July 2017), 3th International Workshop The Energy Transition in Land Transportation, Paris (November 2017), Workshop Opportunities and Challenges for Low-Carbon Mobility, Mannheim (September 2018), and at the American Economic Association - ASSA - meeting (Atlanta, Georgia, January 2019).

    At the JPI Urban Europe Projects Meeting II in Amsterdam on April 14, 2016, a poster presentation was given by principal investigator Steven Poelhekke.

  • About BREATHE

    BREATHE falls under the ERA-NET Cofund Smart Cities and Communities (ENSCC). ENSCC was established by the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) Urban Europe and the Smart Cities Member States Initiative (SC MSI) in order to initiate a transnational joint call for RDI (Research Development and Innovation) proposals addressing new solutions in the urban field, and demonstrating the feasibility of their implementation. ENSCC is supported by the Europan Commission and funded under the Horizon 2020 ERA-NET Cofund scheme. Also SURF (Smart Urban Regions of the Future), which is part of VerDuS (Verbinden van Duurzame Steden - Connecting Sustainable Cities) is involved in sponsoring BREATHE. More information