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Dr J.J. (Jannes) Willems

Assistant professor in Urban Planning
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
GPIO : Urban Planning

Visiting address
  • Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
  • Room number: C4.15
Postal address
  • Postbus 15629
    1001 NC Amsterdam
Contact details
  • Profile

    Jannes Willems is an assistant professor in urban planning at the University of Amsterdam. His research is motivated by a desire to explain how urban environmental planners and water managers are preparing cities and regions to cope with climate change through the creation of new water infrastructures, and their impact on communities and ecosystems. Jannes researches how infrastructures can enable sustainability transformations, focusing on the techno-politics of infrastructure provision: a low-salience, yet highly complex policy domain with profound implications on cities and regions. He has worked in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research teams and conducted empirical fieldwork in Western-European cities.

    Jannes teaches in the bachelor programmes Human Geography & Planning and Future Planet Studies, and the master programme Urban and Regional Planning. He is one of the editors of the Dutch professional magazine Rooilijn and the European online platform In Planning. He also co-hosts the Dutch podcast Onder Planologen.

    Previously, he was affiliated with Erasmus University Rotterdam as a postdoctoral researcher (Department of Public Administration & Sociology). He was involved in the European Interreg project BEGIN and the KIMA research programme Marker Wadden. In 2019, he has started with Jitske van Popering a NWO SURF research into the platforms Amsterdam Rainproof and Water Sensitive Rotterdam. Jannes defended his dissertation in at the University of Groningen (Department of Spatial Planning & Environment) in 2018. His dissertation entailed institutional change in the Dutch waterway sector, in the light of replacing major ageing infrastructure assets.

    Jannes obtained his Research Master in Regional Studies (cum laude) and his Bachelor Environmental & Infrastructure Planning at the University of Groningen. In 2015, he was a 'visiting student' at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (Environmental Policymaking & Planning group). During his master, he conducted fieldwork in Brazil as part of a research project of the Federal Universidade de Pará.

    Expertise and research fields

    • Spatial planning, water infrastructure, climate adaptation, institutional analysis, infrastructure planning and management

    Relevant links

  • Research

    Current research projects

    • GREEN-INC: Growing Effective & Equitable Nature-based Solutions through Inclusive Climate Actions (role: PI; 2024-2017; with Dr Danielle MacCarthy and Dr Mendel Giezen);
    • Urban Blue Justice (2023-2028; with Dr Hebe Verrest and Dr Karen Paiva Henrique);
    • Ways of Water-Port of Amsterdam (2024-2026; with Dr Elisabeth Krueger, Prof Maria Kaika and Prof Annemarie van Wezel);
    • Urban Food Commons (2023; with Dr Ciska Ulug and Dr Ying-Tzu Lin).

    Jannes has received research funding from amongst others the EU Driving Urban Transitions partnership, NWO and UvA's Centre for Urban Studies.

    Research methods

    Qualitative methods: interviews, focusgroups, workshops, participatory observation

  • Teaching & PhD Supervision


    • Bachelor Human Geography & Planning: Introduction to Spatial Planning, Urban Dynamics: Amsterdam in context, and SPIEC – seminar;
    • Bachelor Future Planet Studies: Introduction Spatial Planning, Food and the City, and bachelor thesis supervision;
    • Master Urban and Regional Planning: Climate-Proof Development of Cities.

    PhD supervision

    • Fernando Schrupp Rivero: “Earthworks in the Bolivian Amazonia: Vivir Bien, Flood Mitigation, and the Ichilo-Mamoré Waterway” (with Prof Maria Kaika);
    • Lekha Samant: "Planning Climate Justice in Urban Blue Spaces across the urban North and South" (with Dr Hebe Verrest and Dr Karen Paiva Henrique).
  • Publications


    • Custers, G., & Willems, J. J. (2024). Rotterdam in the 21st century: From ‘sick man’ to ‘capital of cool’. Cities : The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning, 150, Article 105009. Advance online publication.
    • Kuitert, L., Willems, J., & Volker, L. (2024). Value integration in multi-functional urban projects: a value driven perspective on sustainability transitions. Construction Management and Economics, 42(2), 182-198. [details]


    • Brorström, S., & Willems, J. (2023). Getting integrative urban regeneration strategies done: Insights from Antwerp and Gothenburg. International Review of Administrative Sciences, 89(2), 346-362. [details]
    • Willems, J. J., Kuitert, L., & Van Buuren, A. (2023). Policy integration in urban living labs: Delivering multi-functional blue-green infrastructure in Antwerp, Dordrecht, and Gothenburg. Environmental Policy and Governance, 33(3), 258-271.
    • Willems, J. J., van Popering-Verkerk, J., & van Eck, L. (2023). How boundary objects facilitate local climate adaptation networks: the cases of Amsterdam Rainproof and Water Sensitive Rotterdam. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 66(7), 1513-1532. [details]


    • Willems, J. J., & Giezen, M. (2022). Understanding the institutional work of boundary objects in climate-proofing cities: The case of Amsterdam Rainproof. Urban Climate, 44, Article 101222. [details]
    • Willems, J. J., Ellen, M., Veerbeek, W., Ashley, R., & van Buuren, A. (2022). Policy transfer in urban water management: evidence from ten BEGIN cities. In T. Bolognesi, F. Silva Pinto, & M. Farrelly (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Urban Water Governance (Routledge Environment and Sustainability Handbooks). Routledge.


    • IJff, S., Veraart, J., Willems, J. J., Duijn, M., van den Berg, N., & Stouten, M. (2021). Innovatieve governance voor Building with Nature: Lessen uit het Marker Wadden-project. Landschap, 2021(1), 25-33.
    • Willems, J. J., Duijn, M., IJff, S., Veraart, J., Nuesink, N., Ellen, G-J., & van Buuren, A. (2021). The lifecycle of public value creation: eroding public values in the Dutch Marker Wadden project. Public Money & Management.
    • Willems, J. J., Kenyon, A., Sharp, L., & Molenveld, A. (2021). How actors are (dis)integrating policy agendas for multi-functional blue and green infrastructure projects on the ground. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 23(1), 84-96.




    • Willems, J. J. (2018). Beyond maintenance: Emerging discourses on waterway renewal in the Netherlands. Transport Policy, 72, 1-12.
    • Willems, J. J., Busscher, T., Woltjer, J., & Arts, J. (2018). Co-creating value through renewing waterway networks: A transaction-cost perspective. Journal of Transport Geography, 69, 26-35.
    • Willems, J. J., Busscher, T., Woltjer, J., & Arts, J. (2018). Planning for Waterway Renewal: Balancing Institutional Reproduction and Institutional Change. Planning Theory and Practice, 19(5), 678-697.
    • Willems, J. J., Busscher, T., van den Brink, M., & Arts, J. (2018). Anticipating water infrastructure renewal: A framing perspective on organizational learning in public agencies. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 36(6), 1088-1108.


    • Gilliard, L., Wenner, F., Lamker, C. W., Van den Berghe, K., & Willems, J. J. (2017). Potentials of Entrepreneurial Thinking for Planning: Debates during the 11th AESOP Young Academics Conference. DISP, 53(3), 94-100.



    • Willems, J. J., Klanker, G., de Boer, H., Saïd, M., & de Graaff, T. (2022). Meerwaarde uit vervangings- en renovatieprojecten. O.T.A.R., 103(4), 42-45.






    Media appearance


    • Willems, J. J. (2018). Navigating waterway renewal: Actor-centred institutional perspectives on the planning of ageing waterways in the Netherlands. University of Groningen.
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    No ancillary activities