Dr R. Ronald (1972) has been appointed professor of Housing, Society and Space at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences.
Richard Ronald’s research focus is on housing in relation to socioeconomic and spatial transformations in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Over the last two decades, he has carried out extensive research in Japan and South Korea, paying particular attention to the shifting role of housing in managing social and demographic change. He has published numerous books and articles on these countries, but also more recently on China and elsewhere in the East Asian region. These have highlighted, among other issues, growing disalignments between housing market processes, state interventions and family practices, which are reinforcing the emergence of new social risks and social fragmentation in these contexts, and helping transform East Asian cities.
In Europe and the Netherlands, Ronald’s research has emphasized the changing role of housing within welfare state structures as well as the ongoing colonisation of residential real estate markets by global finance. In his recently completed European Research Council project, Ronald led a team of researchers in a series of studies looking at post-crisis housing sector and policy restructuring. This also involved a comparative investigation of how households and families in different European contexts are reorienting themselves around the accumulation of housing wealth and debt as a means to cope with shifting conditions of social, economic and welfare security.
At the UvA, Ronald coordinates several courses within the Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes in Social Geography and Urban Planning in the area of housing systems and housing policy. He is also the director of both the Research Master’s programme in Urban Studies and the Urban Studies Summer Programme.
As professor, Ronald will focus the dynamic interactions between housing practices and systems in relation to specific socioeconomic and spatial contexts. The built object of the home forms the starting point for a wider engagement with cultural, political and economic development. While it has long been central to policy and political debates, in recent decades the increased embeddedness of housing with global circulations of capital on the one hand, and processes of urban exclusion and inequality, on the other, have raised the profile of housing systems, especially urban ones, as well as the need for deeper understanding of them. The chair also has a role in and particular relevance to the direct context of Amsterdam; a city often defined by vernacular forms of domestic architecture and space as well as the modern housing system that has historically constituted a bedrock of social equity. At the same time, this chair in housing forms a critical lens for cross-urban and international comparison, and thus represents an important bridge between the university and the city of Amsterdam as well as with other cities and social contexts across the globe.
Ronald has been affiliated with the UvA’s department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies since 2010. From 2013 to 2016, he held the part-time chair in Housing and Social Change at the University of Birmingham, where he was appointed honorary professor in 2016. Among other things, Ronald has been a visiting research fellow at the National University of Singapore and a visiting professor at Kyung Hee University in Seoul. Between 2002 and 2006, Ronald was based at Kobe University in Japan where he received funding and fellowships from the Japan Foundation and the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science. He is also co-chair of the European Network for Housing Research’s (ENHR) Home Ownership and Globalisation working group. In addition, he is chief editor of the Journal of Housing Policy and editor of the book series The Contemporary City (Palgrave Books).