Human Geography, Planning and International Development Studies (GPIO)
The major characteristics of our scientific approach are:
- A clear focus on the study of space-society relations (both in and between the global North and the global South), where space and society are seen as mutually constituting entities;
- A substantive focus on the urban (especially urban transformation processes), on social, economic and environmental aspects of development and sustainability, with a special emphasis on problems of social inequality and environmental injustice.
- A profound awareness of the multi-scalar nature of space-society relations, and the need to adopt an inter-scalar approach to studying these relations and their governance;
- A strong inclination for multi-disciplinarity, i.e. studying the space-society interface from different, mutually complementing disciplinary perspectives;
- A solid interest in (international) comparison in recognition of the importance of varying institutional and spatial settings;
- A firm footing in society, implying that (a) our research agenda and teaching programs are inspired and co-shaped by our interest in addressing pressing societal problems/questions, (b) our research is always embedded in theoretical frameworks, (c) we seek to team up with societal partners (public and private) when opportune, and (d) our work not only analyses space-society relations, but also contributes to meaningful interventions directed at mitigating societal problems;
- A strong desire to reflect critically on existing bodies of knowledge and existing policy responses;
- A deliberate choice to firmly ground our understanding of complex space-society relations empirically resulting in (a) focus on fieldwork and primary data collection, and (b) preference for theoretical and methodological pluralism (eclecticism) and innovation.
In addition we seek to keep abreast with developments in the professional field in order to ensure relevant teaching and training of our students.