Welcome to my website!
I am an associate professor in urban studies/geography/urban planning at TU Delft. Here I present my research activities, next to more information about myself and how to reach me. You can also glance through my publications.
Feel free to have a look and please don't hesitate to contact me if you share the same research interests, or think my research is of added value to your organisation. I am happy to discuss research cooperation.
After a long period of preparation, we finally got green light to start the new master ‘Metropolitan Analysis, Design and Engineering’ at the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS institute). This institute is a collaboration between TU Delft, Wageningen University and MIT. Together with Dr. Bas van Vliet (Wageningen University), I am coordinating the starter course of this master:’Metropolitan Challenges’.
Profile of the course ‘Metropolitan Challenges’
In this course on metropolitan challenges, students are introduced to various typologies of metropoles throughout the world, with the city of Amsterdam as a real life example. The course covers all aspects of what makes a metropolis. It integrates technical systems and networks, from the point of view that each system is open, and influences the other. It gives an historical-critical overview, with reasons for the existence and emergence of cities, and the technological challenges they face today. The emergence of the metropolitan landscape forces us to rethink, redesign and plan the environments we live and work in. The metropolis is approached as a web of interrelated socio-technical systems in which professionals are challenged to integrate knowledge and analytical, design and engineering skills. The course presents a range of conceptual views on technologies and practices in the cycles and spheres of urban mobility, water, healthcare and well-being, food, waste, and energy. All of these processes are intertwined in chains and cycles: the metropolitan metabolism. We have come to understand most of the individual chains or cycles but we do not yet fully understand their interconnectedness, nor are we able to optimise these connections to ours and the planet’s benefit. By understanding cities and urbanisation, and by putting together domain-specific knowledge on contemporary and future challenges in metropolitan areas, this course provides the basis for understanding the interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary dimensions of metropolitan challenges.
AMS is located in the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam (KIT), Mauritskade 62, Amsterdam.
For more info, see http://www.ams-institute.org/
My whole team visited the annual conference of the European Regional Science Association in Groningen, where we presented five papers in several special sessions. The papers were well-received and we had a fruitful discussion in each session. Congrats to the organisers of the conference for doing an excellent job! At the closing session, Marloes Hoogerbrugge and I received the Martin Beckmann Award for having published the best paper in Papers in Regional Science in 2016 (co-author Martijn Burger could not attend unfortunately). The award was handed over by Prof. Roberta Capello.
Martin Beckmann RSAI Annual award
Today I was informed that my paper ‘Borrowing size in networks of cities: City size, network connectivity and metropolitan functions in Europe’, co-authored by Martijn Burger and Marloes Hoogerbrugge, was considered the best paper published in the journal ‘Papers in Regional Science’ in 2016! As a result, we will receive the Martin Beckmann RSAI Annual Award, which will be presented to us at the annual conference of the European Regional Science Association in Groningen (early September).
The paper innovates in that it provides an entirely new perspective on the geographical dimension of agglomeration economies, showing that next to size and density, also network embeddedness of cities is crucial for agglomeration economies to develop (allowing them to ‘borrow size’).
The motivation given by the jury (Janice Madden, Carlos Azzoni and Erik Verhoef) is the following:
“Through an elegant scientific approach, the paper interprets the contrast that exists between the current dynamics in the Western European urban system and the bourgeoning literature stressing the importance of agglomeration for economic growth. The paper argues that rise of ‘city network economies’ leads to processes of borrowed size as well as the rise of agglomeration shadows in networks of cities, and finds that network connectivity positively enhances the presence of metropolitan functions, even if local size remains the most significant determinant for most types of functions. Based on the originality of the interest in the topic, and the important results achieved, the jury concluded that the paper was the best published one in 2016.”
The paper can be downloaded here.
Spatial Research and Planning
Mid-May the editorial board of the journal “Raumforschung und Raumordnung | Spatial Research and Planning” gathered in Berlin, where I was welcomed as one of the new international members of the editorial board. The journal is a forum for topics and debates relevant to the field of spatial sciences. The interdisciplinary journal addresses issues of spatial development and planning. It focuses on urban and regional planning, demographic change and urban transition, landscape development, environmental planning, sustainable development, adaptation to climate change, mobility, economic geography, regional governance, and planning theory.
My appointment, and that of the other new members (all from other countries than Germany) reflects the ambition of the journal to move from a primary focus on German-speaking countries to a broader international focus. Several decisions to foster this internationalisation were taken. If you have an interesting paper that fits the aims and scope of the journal, then please consider submitting to this very old geography and planning journal!
Rodrigo Cardoso and I organised four sessions at the AAG (Association of American Geographers) conference in Boston, MA last week (5-9 April) – a kind of ‘conference within a conference’-format. The theme was: ‘The process of Metropolisation: Reconfiguring the city at the regional scale’. Over 50 different conference participants visited the sessions.
20 papers were submitted, looking at metropolisation from different angles and with different methods, and they were presented by scholars from a wide variety of countries. We are currently exploring opportunities for a follow-up. Below is the call for contributions that was circulated – it gives a good insight in what the session was about.
Topic of the sessions:
“A reconfiguration of cities at larger territorial scales is underway. Formerly separate urban centres expand or coalesce into vast and interconnected urban regions, in a process of restructuring of economic activity, spatial forms and flows that some researchers have tried to capture under the concept of ‘metropolisation’. The processes underlying this transformation are tripartite: spatial processes of coalescence, expansion and connection contribute to gradually integrate (functionally, institutionally and culturally) cities into larger entities; the socio-spatial qualities and features once attributed to the ‘city’ are reconstructed by citizens, firms and institutions at the scale of that urban region; and policymakers and planners develop strategies towards that goal. Such processes of urban region formation have become important for policy, not only to respond to the spatial transformations of the territory, but also because the alleged benefits of size and agglomeration can arguably be achieved through integration with larger territorial scales. Deeply integrated and networked urban regions can try to organise agglomeration economies comparable to single, large conurbations of comparable size. Therefore, we can understand metropolisation not so much as cities dissolving into loose urban regions, but rather urban regions consolidating as extensive cities.
But urban regions are not just constructed by functional or economic processes. They involve long-term historical processes of spatial and social change, which leave behind territorial and socioeconomic fault-lines. The complexity of urban regions and their integration processes demand a re-examination of issues of governance, metropolitan identity-building, inter-city cooperation, shapes and actors of formal and informal networks, inequality and segregation, infrastructural and functional configurations, among many others.
As we acknowledge new dimensions of metropolitan integration, more unanswered questions emerge. The purpose of this session is to start sketching answers to some of them.”