Urban Journalism Network

International investigations, local focus

The Urban Journalism Network promotes high-quality digital journalism by collaborating across European cities to investigate urban issues. 75 percent of Europeans live in cities, sharing a myriad of problems. In our research on urban challenges, we combine a data-based approach with on-the-ground local reporting. For five years, the network members have been collaborating on investigations covering one of the most pressing issues faced by European cities: housing crisis.

The European investigation #GroundControl goes to the bottom of the problem of the housing unaffordability: Land ownership. Where can we still build affordable housing? Who owns the land that remains unused? And how much common land have cities lost over time – selling it off at low prices to largely unknown companies?

In the Student Housing investigation, we analyzed the emerging trend in the real estate market – building private student dormitories. It’s a paradox: even though housing for students is becoming less and less affordable across Europe, private investments in student housing are on the rise.

The #GhostDebts investigation exposed the global trade of unpaid debts, known as Non-Performing Loans, since the start of the financial crisis. Whilst the project #Cities4Rent revealed the major owners of housing funds across Europe.

Alongside investigations, the network publishes regular data-driven stories on common challenges faced by European cities, such as demographics, migration, and the energy crisis. In addition, it develops technology for better data-collection and visualization across languages and experiments with AI in order to advance reporting and publishing techniques.

Our investigations have won and been shortlisted to multiple awards, including the European Press Prize in the category of Innovation in 2022.

Find more about the investigations and the data visual comparisons on urban challenges in the sub-pages.

If you have comments or questions about the network, do get in touch.

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