Key research interests: neighborhood belonging; everyday life in cities; lived experiences of urban segregation, gentrification & concentration of poverty; social mix; loss of place
I am Associate Professor Urban Geography at the department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. What I love about Urban Geography, is that you can encounter the urban transformations and social challenges you read about in text books and academic papers as soon as you step out into the city. Much of my inspiration for research and teaching comes from such everyday observations, in Amsterdam where I was born and raised, but also in other cities that I have visited over the years.
My research agenda concerns the geography of everyday urban life, referred to as de geleefde stad in Dutch. I explore how residents experience, use and produce urban space, studying the different ways in which neighborhoods form meaningful places for residents (or not) and raising questions about place-based processes of in- and exclusion, feelings of belonging and loss, encounters with difference, and place-making and place-claiming. An important element in my research is how these lived experiences of the city are shaped by - but also contribute to - macro-processes of polarization, segregation and fragmentation of urban space. I have investigated these processes in a wide range of neighborhoods, from marginalized neighborhoods targeted by urban renewal to white working class areas and elite spaces in the city like the Amsterdam Canal Belt, but always focusing on how residents of different positionalities make sense of their urban surroundings and shape them ‘from below’.
My teaching responsibilities currently include the Bachelor courses Introduction to Human Geography and Introduction to Urban Geography, and the Master course on Advanced Urban Geographies. I also supervise thesis projects for Bachelor, Master and Research Master students. I am strategically engaged in our academic program as head of the Education Committee (OC) for our bachelor and master programs in Human Geography and Planning.
June 2019: New working paper on resident experiences of territorial stigmatization in the Bijlmer
Very happy that our working paper 'On the stickiness of territorial stigma: diverging experiences in Amsterdam’s most notorious neighborhood' is now available online as part of the Center for Urban Studies Working paper series. It is based on extensive fieldwork in Amsterdam Bijlmer in collaboration colleagues Marijn Ferier and Myrte Hoekstra. You can find the paper here, or feel free to e-mail me for a copy.
February 2019: CUS seed grant for follow-up research in the Amsterdam Canal Belt
Together with colleague Willem Boterman, I have been awarded a Center for Urban Studies seed grant to continue our research in the Amsterdam Canal Belt. In this study, we will investigate the area's status as an aspirational residential space, questioning how new residents make a place for themselves in this highly dynamic neighborhood that is undergoing both touristification and supergentrification. This study will serve as a 'mirror' for the previous study on how long term residents experience living in the Canal Belt and explore alternative meanings of place.
December 2018: new publication on politics of place in a 'super-diverse' neighbourhood
Myrte Hoekstra and I wrote a paper on the politics of place around a community center in the highly diverse Van der Pek neighborhood in Amsterdam. The paper can be found online as open access article in Social and Cultural Geography.
April 2018: Organizing AAG workshop on Geographies of discontent
Together with colleague Myrte Hoekstra, I am organizing three workshop sessions at the AAG 2018 conference on 'Geographies of discontent: loss of place and the emotional ramifications of spatial change'. I am also presenting a paperof my own on territoriality and loss of home.
If you are writing a thesis in the field of Urban Geography or Urban Studies and are considering me as a supervisor, please have a look at my research page for potentially shared interests and at the list below for some examples of recent thesis topics that I have supervised:
My research interests include a wide range of questions about how people relate to urban places, focusing on how residents' everyday routines become locally embedded (or not!), how neighborhood enables or limits their opportunities to improve their lives, and how - when neighborhood forms a meaningful place to residents - it is then acted upon. I have studied these questions in different types of neighborhoods (from low income neighborhoods to the Amsterdam canal belt) and for different groups of residents, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Specifically, I have studied...:
- Robin-Jan van Duijne (2017-2020) Peri-urbanization in India, co-promotor
- Myrte Hoekstra (2013-2017) Governing diversity and experiencing difference, copromotor
- Annalies Teernstra (2009-2014) Processes of neighborhood upgrading and downgrading, copromotor
- Doske van der Wilk (2014-2017) Gentrifying public space, daily supervisor
- Elise Schillebeekx (2019), Aankomstwijken in Vlaanderen, Universiteit Antwerpen/KU Leuven (promotores: Prof Dr Stijn Oosterlynck & Prof Dr Pascal de Decker)
- Alana Osbourne (2018), Touring Trench Town: Commodifying Urban Poverty and Violence in Kingston, Jamaica, Universiteit van Amsterdam (promotores: Prof Dr Rivke Jaffe & Prof Dr Michiel Baud)
- Emily Miltenburg (2017), A different place for different people, Universiteit van Amsterdam (Promotores: Prof Dr Herman van der Werfhorst & Prof Dr Tom van der Meer)