As a consortium of Higher Education Institutes (HEI) in urban areas we are increasingly aware that we, students, teaching & research staff, have a role in contributing to develop a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient economy and society in our cities. We build on experience since 2007 with an international intercity cooperation programme for students: International Virtual Consulting Firm (IVCF) related to city marketing questions from companies & municipal departments.
In 2021 the needs of cities and HEIs have changed. Cities struggle to reclaim a balance between the popular central area and unpopular peripheral areas. The narrative of cities needs to be enlarged. Urban peripheral areas are new centres of interest. HEIs need to prepare students to be critical thinkers in the age of information and for jobs which have not yet been defined. The Researching the City: Mapping Imaginaries (IMAGE) method combines these needs. A new approach uses mapping tools to bring attention to the peripheral, often neglected, areas of our cities and maps them as enclaves of dynamism and creativity.