nLab Hurewicz cofibration




topology (point-set topology, point-free topology)

see also differential topology, algebraic topology, functional analysis and topological homotopy theory


Basic concepts

Universal constructions

Extra stuff, structure, properties


Basic statements


Analysis Theorems

topological homotopy theory

Homotopy theory

homotopy theory, (∞,1)-category theory, homotopy type theory

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see also algebraic topology



Paths and cylinders

Homotopy groups

Basic facts




In algebraic topology and homotopy theory, Hurewicz cofibrations are a kind of cofibration of topological spaces, hence a kind of continuous function satisfying certain extension properties.

Specifically, a continuous function is a Hurewicz cofibration (Strøm 1966) if it satisfies the homotopy extension property for all target spaces and with respect to the standard notion of left homotopy of topological spaces given by the standard topological interval object/cylinder object.

A pointed topological space (X,x)(X,x) for which the base-point inclusion {x}X\{x\} \xhookrightarrow{\;} X is a Hurewicz cofibration is called a well-pointed topological space. A simplicial topological space all whose degeneracy maps are Hurewicz cofibrations is called a good simplicial topological space.

In point-set topology Hurewicz cofibrations are often just called cofibrations,for short. If their image is a closed subspace they are called closed cofibrations.

Beware that there are other relevant classes of cofibrations between topological spaces, notably the Serre cofibrations, and (in homotopy theory and model category-theory, at least) also often just called “cofibrations”. But “closed cofibration” always refers to closed Hurewicz cofibrations.

In fact, the notion of homotopy extension property makes sense in any category with a chosen cylinder object; and in this generality one also speaks of h-cofibrations (following Mandell, May, Schwede & Shipley 2001, p. 16).



(Hurewicz cofibration)
A map (continuous function) i:AXi \colon A \xrightarrow{\;} X betwee topological spaces is a Hurewicz cofibration if it satisfies the homotopy extension property for all spaces, hence if

  • for any map f:XYf \colon X \longrightarrow Y and any left homotopy η:A×[0,1]Y\eta \,\colon\, A \times [0,1] \longrightarrow Y such that η(,0)=fi\eta(-,0) = f \circ i, there exists a left homotopy η^:X×[0,1]Y\widehat{\eta} \,\colon\, X \times [0,1] \longrightarrow Y such that η^(i×id)=η\widehat{\eta} \circ (i \times id) = \eta;


  • given a commuting diagram in TopSp of solid arrows as shown below, there exists a dashed arrow η^\widehat \eta making all sub-diagrams commute:


(re-formulation in terms of right homotopies)
In a convenient cartesian closed category TopSpTopSp of topological spaces (such as that of compactly generated topological spaces) the product \dashv internal hom-adjunction

TopSp() [0,1]()×[0,1]TopSp TopSp \underoverset {\underset{ (-)^{[0,1]} }{\longrightarrow}} {\overset{ (-) \times [0,1] }{\longleftarrow}} {\;\;\;\;\;\bot\;\;\;\;\;} TopSp

allows to pass to adjunct morphisms in Def.

TopSp(A×[0,1],Y) TopSp(A,Y [0,1]) η η \array{ TopSp \big( A \times [0,1] ,\, Y \big) &\simeq& TopSp \big( A ,\, Y^{[0,1]} \big) \\ \eta &\leftrightarrow& \eta' }

and equivalently express the above diagram of left homotopies as the following (somewhat more transparent) diagram of right homotopies, where ev 0:Y [0,1]Yev_0 \,\colon\, Y^{[0,1]}\to Y denotes evaluation at 0 γγ(0)\gamma \mapsto \gamma(0):

In this equivalent formulation, the homotopy extension property is simply the right lifting property against the evaluation map ev 0:Y [0,1]Yev_0 \;\colon\; Y^{[0,1]} \xrightarrow{\;} Y out of the path space of YY.

(e.g. May 1999, p. 43 (51 of 251))


(closed cofibrations)
A Hurewicz cofibration i:AXi \colon A\to X (Def. ) is called a closed cofibration if the image i(A)i(A) is a closed subspace in XX. In this case the pair (A,X)(A,X) is also called an NDR-pair.


(Non-)Closed images


Every Hurewicz cofibration i:AXi \colon A \to X is injective and a homeomorphism onto its image. If XX is Hausdorff, then ii is closed.

(tDKP 1970 (1.17)).


In the category of weakly Hausdorff compactly generated spaces, the image i(A)i(A) of a Hurewicz cofibration is always closed. The same holds in the category of all Hausdorff spaces.

(e.g. May 1999, Sec. 6.2, p. 44 (52 of 251))

But in the plain category Top of all topological spaces there are pathological counterexamples:


Let A={a}A =\{a\} and X={a,b}X=\{a,b\} be the one and two element sets, both with the codiscrete topology (only XX and \varnothing are open subsets of XX), and i:AXi:A\hookrightarrow X is the inclusion aaa\mapsto a. Then ii is a non-closed cofibration.

(Strøm 1966, p. 5)

Characterization for closed subspace inclusions

When the image of a Hurewicz cofibration is a closed subspace – which is automatically the case in weakly Hausdorff topological spaces, by Prop. HurewiczCofibrationsInCGWHSpacesAreClosed – then there are a number of equivalent reformulations of the defining homotopy extension property (Def. ).

Via retracts of the pushout-product with 0[0,1]0 \hookrightarrow [0,1]


A closed topological subspace-inclusion AiXA \xhookrightarrow{\;i\;} X is a Hurewicz cofibration precisely if its pushout product with the endpoint inclusion 0:*[0,1]0 \,\colon\, \ast \xhookrightarrow{\;} [0,1] into the topological interval

(1)X×{0}A×[0,1]X×[0,1] X \!\times\! \{0\} \,\cup\, A \!\times\! [0,1] \; \xrightarrow{\;\;\;\;\;\;} \; X \times [0,1]

admits a retraction rr:

(Strøm 1968 Thm. 2; review in May 1999, Sec. 6.4, p. 45 (53 of 251); AGP 2002, Thm. 4.1.7; Gutiérrez, Prop. 8.3)


Let AiXA \xhookrightarrow{i} X be a closed topological subspace-inclusion of compactly generated topological spaces which is a Hurewicz cofibration. Then for YY any compactly generated topological space, the k-ified product space-construction Y×Aid Y×iY×XY \times A \xhookrightarrow{ id_Y \times i } Y \times X is itself a Hurewicz cofibration.

(e.g. AGP 2002, Ex. 4.2.16)

Since compactly generated spaces with the k-ified product space construction form a cartesian closed category, the operation Y×()Y \times (-) is a left adjoint and hence preserves the pushout in (1). It follows that the retract which exhibits, according to Prop. , the cofibration property of ii, may be extended as a constant function in YY to yield a retract that exhibits the cofibration property of Y×iY \times i.

Via neighbourhood deformations


A closed topological subspace-inclusion AiXA \xhookrightarrow{\;i\;} X is a Hurewicz cofibration precisely if the following condition holds:

There exists:

(1) a neighbourhood UU of AA in XX

AUX A \xhookrightarrow{\;} U \xhookrightarrow{\;} X

(2) a left homotopy η\eta shrinking this neighbourhood into AA relative to AA, in that it makes the following diagram commute:

(3) another continuous function ϕ:X[0,1]\phi \colon X \xrightarrow{\;} [0,1] which makes the following diagram commute:

and in fact such that only AA is the preimage of zero: A=ϕ 1({0})A \,=\, \phi^{-1}(\{0\}).

(This is due to Strøm 1966, Thm. 2; recalled, e.g., in Bredon 1993, Thm. 1.5 on p. 431)

Assorted facts


If XX is a normal topological space then any inclusion AXA \xhookrightarrow{\;} X is an h-cofibration iff its factorization AU AA \hookrightarrow{\;} U_A through any open neighbourhood U AXU_A \subset X of AA is an h-cofibration.

(AGP 2002, Prop. 4.1.9)


The composition of two h-cofibrations is itself an h-cofibration.

(e.g. AGP 2002, Ex. 4.2.17)

Interaction with (fiber) producs



A 1 A 2 i 1 , i 2 X 1 X 2 \array{ A_1 & & A_2 \\ \big\downarrow {}^{\mathrlap{i_1}} & , & \big\downarrow {}^{\mathrlap{i_2}} \\ X_1 & & X_2 }

is a pair of Hurewicz cofibrations, with i 1(A 1)clsdX 1i_1(A_1) \underset{clsd}{\subset} X_1 closed, then the inclusion

A 1×X 2X 1×A 2 X 1×X 2 \array{ A_1 \times X_2 \;\cup\; X_1 \times A_2 \\ \big\downarrow \\ X_1 \times X_2 }

into the product space of the codomains is itself a Hurewicz cofibration.

(Strøm 1968, Thm. 6)


(fiber product of Hurewicz fibrations preserves Hurewicz cofibrations)

X 0 X p 0 p B 0 B E 0 E \array{ X_0 &\hookrightarrow & X \\ {}^{\mathllap{p_0}}\downarrow && \downarrow^{\mathrlap{p}} \\ B_0 &\hookrightarrow& B \\ \uparrow && \uparrow \\ E_0 &\hookrightarrow& E }

be a commuting diagram of topological spaces such that

  • the horizontal morphisms are closed cofibrations;

  • the morphisms p 0p_0 and pp are Hurewicz fibrations.

Then the induced morphism on fiber products

X 0× B 0E 0X× BE X_0 \times_{B_0} E_0 \hookrightarrow X \times_B E

is also a closed cofibration.

(Kieboom 1987, Thm. 1).


(Cartesian product preserves Hurewicz cofibrations)

A 1 A 2 i 1 , i 2 X 1 X 2 \array{ A_1 & & A_2 \\ \big\downarrow {}^{\mathrlap{i_1}} & , & \big\downarrow {}^{\mathrlap{i_2}} \\ X_1 & & X_2 }

is a pair of Hurewicz cofibrations, then their image under the product functor is, too:

A 1×A 2 X 1×X 2 \array{ A_1 \times A_2 \\ \big\downarrow \\ X_1 \times X_2 }


This is the special case of Prop. for BB and B 0B_0 being the point space

Strøm’s model structure

The collections

make one of the standard Quillen model category structures on the category Top of all topological spaces Strøm's model category.

The identity functor id:TopTopid \colon Top \to Top is left Quillen from the classical model structure on topological spaces (or the mixed model structure) to the Strøm model structure, and of course right Quillen in the other direction.

Top StromididTop Quillen. Top_{Strom} \stackrel{\overset{id}{\longleftarrow}}{\underset{id}{\longrightarrow}} Top_{Quillen} \,.

This means in particular that any retract of a relative cell complex inclusion is a closed Hurewicz cofibration.


Relative cell complex inclusions


Any relative CW complex-inclusion is an h-cofibration.

Proofs may be found spelled out in: Bredon 1993, Cor. I.4 on p. 431, Félix, Halperin & Thomas 2000, Prop. 1.9, Mathew 2010b

More generally, every retract of a relative cell complex inclusion is a closed Hurewicz cofibration.

This is part of the statement of the Quillen adjunction between then classical model structure on topological spaces and the Strøm model structure (see below).

Points in locally Euclidean Hausdorff spaces


Any point-inclusion into a (finite-dimensional) locally Euclidean Hausdorff space (e.g. a topological manifold) is an h-cofibration.

This is a simple special case of the general Prop. below, but we give an explicit proof:

By definition of locally Euclidean spaces, any point has a neighbourhood UU which is chart, being a Euclidean space that may be identified with a vector space n\mathbb{R}^n with the given point being the origin 0 n0 \,\in\, \mathbb{R}^n:

{0} nUX. \{0\} \;\in\; \mathbb{R}^n \;\simeq\; U \;\subset\; X \,.

Now let:

  • η:U×[0,1]X\eta \colon U \times [0,1]\to X the homotopy given by (x,t)(1t)x(\vec x, t) \mapsto (1-t)\cdot \vec x;

  • KB 1(0)K \;\coloneqq\; B_{\leq 1}(0) the closed ball of unit radius around the origin in n\mathbb{R}^n (hence compact by Heine-Borel);

  • ϕ:X[0,1]\phi \colon X \to[0,1] be given by:

    1. xmin(x,1)x \mapsto min\big( \| x\|, 1 \big) on UU (the distance from the origin cut off at 1),

    2. x1x \mapsto 1 on the complement XKX \setminus K.

    It is manifest that this is a well-defined function and that the restrictions ϕ| U\phi|_{U} and ϕ| XK\phi|_{X\setminus K} are continuous functions. Moreover, since compact subspaces of Hausdorff spaces are closed, XKX \setminus K is open and {U,XK}\big\{ U ,\, X \setminus K \big\} is an open cover of XX. Therefore (by the sheaf-property of continuous functions), ϕ\phi is continuous on all of XX.

It is immediate to see that this data satisfies the conditions discussed in Prop. . Since Hausdorff spaces are T 1 T_1 , so that all of their points are closed, that proposition applies and implies the claim.

Closed submanifolds of Banach manifolds


Let XX be an absolute neighbourhood retract (ANR) and AiXA \xhookrightarrow{i} X a closed subspace-inclusion. Then ii is a Hurewicz cofibration iff AA is itself an ANR.

(Aguilar, Gitler & Prieto 2002, Thm. 4.2.15)


Let XX be a paracompact Banach manifold. Then the inclusion AXA \hookrightarrow X of any closed sub-Banach manifold is a Hurewicz cofibration.


Being a closed subspace of a paracompact space, AA is itself paracompact (by this Prop.). But paracompact Banach manifolds are absolute neighbourhood retracts (this Prop.) Therefore the statement follows with Prop. .

Further examples


(point inclusion into PU(ℋ))
The projective unitary group PU(ℋ) on an infinite-dimensional separable Hilbert space is


Named after:

Original articles:

Textbook accounts:

Lecture notes:


The fact that morphisms of fibrant pullback diagrams along closed cofibrations induce closed cofibrations is in

The terminology “h-cofibration” is due to:

Last revised on May 31, 2022 at 17:54:42. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.