Willem Salet is professor emeritus Urban and Regional Planning, at the department of Planning, Geography and International Development Studies, University of Amsterdam. He chaired Urban Planning from 1998 to 2017. He was the Scientific Director of the Amsterdam study center for the Metropolitan Environment AME (1997-2003). He was the President of the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) 2008-2010 and was awarded AESOP Honorary Membership in 2016. As a sociologist and urban planner, Willem Salet specializes in the institutional aspects of metropolitan development. Institutions are conceived in sociological sense as the patterning of public norms. He investigates the cultural, legal and political dimensions of public norms in the making of sustainable metropolitan spaces.
Salet coordinated a lot of international and national comparative research into urban development, governance and strategic urban projects.
The present research focuses on the dialectical change of public norms and purposive strategies of public action. The book Public Norms and Aspirations: The Turn into Institutions in Action (New York, Routledge, 2018) epitomizes the argument of this conceptual framework in planning theory [ https://www.routledge.com/Public-Norms-and-Aspirations-The-Turn-to-Institutions-in-Action/Salet/p/book/9781138084957]. Public norms and purposive strategies are essentially different. The institutional aspects contain normative conditions to action; the purposive strategies concentrate on objectives, problem solving and the performance of action. The interaction of both dimensions is needed to legitimate and effectuate processes of public action. The dialectic relationships of institutional and purposive processes of public action are further explored by a selective group of authors in Salet, W. (ed.) (2018), The Routledge Handbook of Institutions and Planning in Action. New York, Routledge [https://www.routledge.com/The-Routledge-Handbook-of-Institutions-and-Planning-in-Action/Salet/p/book/9781138085732].
The project “Between self-regulation and formal government: the challenges of self-build housing and facilities [BESEFOGO]” is a cooperation of Universiteit van Amsterdam (Salet & Bossuyt), Hogeschool van Amsterdam (Majoor), and Universidade de São Paulo (D’Ottaviano & Pasternak). It is sponsored by NWO, ERSC and FAPESP. It investigates the different institutional conditions in the tension of regulation and self-regulation of urban development in global city-regions. A reader of comparable cases in Latin-America, Europe and Africa will appear in the autumn of 2019.
Urban Studies participates in the NWO-sponsored R-link project which investigates the potential of strategic (large-scaled) area development in cities via small-scaled initiatives. Prof. Willem Salet is involved as tutor of the thesis of Lilian van Karnenbeek on institutional actor persapectives. Willem Salet is tutor of Lilian van Karnenbeek, Kim Carlotta von Schönfeld, and Daniël Bossuyt.