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Urban Geographies

Urban Geographies

Crucial urban transformations and current debates on interrelated social, cultural and economic issues in cities and metropolitan areas form the backdrop for this research.

The aim of the Urban Geographies (UG) programme group is, first of all, to gain better understanding of the diverse and complex mutual relationships between the development of urban spaces and places, time-space behaviour, individual life courses and life chances. Although interesting research topics in themselves, the shared connections between these phenomena are crucial and therefore form the central focus of this programme. Researchers focus on the way spaces and places are affecting social behaviour and social opportunities, as well as how social behaviour and social interactions are creating and reshaping spaces and places.

Three increasingly interrelated issues form the core of the current programme, namely:

  1. New urban dynamics and the emergence of new cities. New trajectories in urbanisation and suburbanisation fall under this framework. In addition, attention is given to the emergence of new city concepts and related discourses such as the knowledge city, the cultural city and the creative city.
  2. Life courses and time-space behaviour. Key questions in this framework relate to the consequences of continuing individualisation for daily and lifetime trajectories in time and space.
  3. Spatial inequalities, segregation, integration and neighbourhood effects. This framework focuses on major theoretical, societal and methodological issues relating to the development and interlinkages of social and cultural spatial configurations as well as the effects of spatial inequalities on life chances of specific populations.

This programme group's research mission is to have a significant role in international and national scientific and societal debates regarding the mutual relations between developments in and of urban spaces and places as well as social and spatial behaviour and life opportunities.

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Programme Group Leader

mw. prof. dr. R.K. (Rivke) Jaffe

Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

Programmagroep: Urban Geographies

Research Staff

Our Research Staff

Our Projects

  • HOUWEL: Housing markets and welfare state transformations: How family housing property is reshaping welfare regimes

    Funded through the European Research Council’s Starter’s Grant Scheme, this study is concerned with housing markets and welfare state transformations, and looks to how family housing property practices have interacted with different welfare regimes.

    Introduction 

    The starting point of this project is the emerging reliance on housing markets and family housing property as an alternative to welfare state provision across advanced societies. While family owned housing has been an implicit part of welfare provision in many societies, it has, in recent years, gained a broader significance along with state restructuring in public spending and housing market transformations.

    Aim 

    This study aims to advance understanding of how emerging socioeconomic conditions, in which housing markets have assumed a more prominent role, are forging new welfare system pathways and types of welfare state. The total project seeks to achieve this understanding through a comparison of six countries: England, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Romania. These societies represent more or less typical cases of contemporary housing and welfare regimes. Based on the observations above, comparisons are to be carried out in each country that address the following core questions:

    •  How, and to what extent, have different welfare regimes focused housing provision and consumption around market-centred forms of home ownership?
    • How has this been a means to support welfare system restructuring?
    • How have households been (re)oriented around home purchase as a way to build up resources to support their own economic security and well-being, and has economic security been enhanced or undermined by increased investment in private housing property?
    • How are post-crisis transformations in socioeconomic conditions restructuring social inequalities in terms of access, exclusion or exposure to housing markets?

    Content 

    HOUWEL seeks to integrate theories of welfare regimes with debates on housing systems, markets and policy. The study has fundamental implications for understanding pre and post-crisis developments in welfare capitalism, as well as divergent reactions and responses between regimes.

    It is probable, considering current fiscal pressures on national budgets and demographic changes in dependency ratios between young and old, that residualisation in welfare provision will continue.

    Moreover, this is likely to accentuate market and family provision further, with greater emphasis on family property assets and housing investments as means to sure-up welfare self-reliance.

    Thus, while the second half of the last century featured decline in the family base of welfare in favour of collective provision, this trend appears to be reversing in the twenty-first century.

    Furthermore, along with growing demands on the family as a welfare provider, a reorientation in family life is also occurring. This involves, on the one hand, a rise in one-person households, lone-parent and childless couples, and on the other, greater pressure on the family as a means of support with an increase in multigenerational and reconstituted families/households, and adult children staying on indefinitely in the natal home.

    • Funded by: ERC Starting Grant  
    • Period: 1-2-2012 until 31-1-2017
    dhr. prof. dr. R. (Richard) Ronald

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Programmagroep: Urban Geographies

  • Educational inequality and socio-spatial strategies of parents

    The main question of this NWO funded research project is how educational inequalities can be explained through the socio-spatial strategies of school choice of different groups of parents. To address this question, the investigator will draw on the case of primary schools in the Netherlands.

    Education is the most crucial factor in facilitating social mobility but may also play a major role in the reproduction of social inequalities. A wide body of sociological literature addresses the question of how parents strategically use different resources to gain access to desired education. Geographic studies stress the central role of neighbourhood for access to education. This project will integrate sociological and geographical perspectives on educational inequalities by studying how parents of disparate ethnic and social class backgrounds develop different socio-spatial strategies to secure access to ‘good’ schools.

    The main question of this research project is how educational inequalities can be explained through the socio-spatial strategies of school choice of different groups of parents.To address this question will be drawn on the case of primary schools in the Netherlands. In the educational landscape of the Netherlands, parents have the freedom to select any school and economic resources do not play a significant role for access to education. Nonetheless, educational inequalities in the Netherlands are significant and school segregation is high.

    • Funded by: NWO 

    • Period: 1-01-2016 until 31-12-2019

    dhr. dr. W.R. (Willem) Boterman

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Programmagroep: Urban Geographies

  • S RECIPE- Smart Shrinkage Solutions - Fostering resilient cities in inner peripheries of Europe

    This NWO ERA-NET funded research project offers the best practice and most feasible solutions to the problem of urban shrinkage – a continuous population decline affecting more than 1,500 cities all over Europe. By learning from the experience of the cities that once were on the edge of an abyss but have bounced back to life, by sharing the key ingredients of their success across Europe and beyond, this project enables as many shrinking cities as possible to adapt, transform, and thrive in the face of continuously and often dramatically changing circumstances.

    Smart shrinkage solutions – fostering resilient cities in inner peripheries of Europe is a project aimed at harnessing the innovative policy potential of Applied Sciences, Interdisciplinary Sciences, and Social Sciences, working together with urban practitioners and policy-makers to identify a) what works in a shrinking city context, and b) how the underlying forces of urban shrinkage can be reversed in order to convert these cities into sustainable, liveable, and economically resilient urban environments.

    Building on the state-of-the-art theorisation of the phenomenon, and applying a pioneering Future Performance Framework in combination with the Urban Futures methodology, this project aims at

    i) tackling the key socio-economic causes of urban shrinkage

    ii) future-proofing sustainability actions in urban re-development and regeneration, and

    iii) enhancing the role of long-term strategic planning.

    With the explicit intention to ensure the relevance of today’s actions in the future, this project will embolden civic leaders, national, and international stakeholders to embrace the best smart shrinkage practices and apply the most forward-looking urban resilience solutions. Shaping the inner peripheries of urban Europe to greater resilience, the project will ultimately enable shrinking cities to adapt, to transform, and to thrive in the face of continuously and often dramatically changing circumstances.

    • Funded by: NWO ERA-NET Cofund Smart Urban Futures
    • Period: 1-03-2017 until 29-02-2020
    dhr. dr. M.A. (Marco) Bontje

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Programmagroep: Urban Geographies

  • BRIGHT FUTURE - Bright future for black towns: reinventing European industrial towns and challenging dominant post-industrial discourses

    The recent economic crisis has shown the problems of past developmental strategies, which have focused on large cities and have emphasized service-oriented economies as the only possible future. But the reality in Europe is that the majority of people still work and live in small towns reliant on industrial production.

    The BRIGHT FUTURE project regards this industrial past and present as something distinctly European and as a strength, since those towns already possess unique skills, knowledge, attitudes, heritage and more. We wish to incorporate those elements (social & organisational innovations) into new urban strategies, better fitted to European towns.

    BRIGHT FUTURE is a project with the main objective to develop place-specific urban strategies for industrial towns in Europe by respecting their strengths, needs and expectations. The goal is to go beyond dominant economy-driven post-industrial strategies, which are more suited for large cities and to adopt new post-industrial narratives better suited to European urban realities. We are interested in assets and strengths of particular case studies. They will lead to new social and organisational innovations enabling small towns to adapt, to be resilient, and to be sustainable.

    Those innovations are considered to be the key outcome of the project and streamlining them into planning and institutional practices is important. The project will have an impact on small towns that are trying to adapt to urban change:

    • by increasing understanding of how cities that are dependent on manufacturing can thrive in the future;

    • by understanding their economic, cultural and social dynamics;

    • by gaining practical knowledge about the innovation and inspiration that can be taken from different cities and replicated or transferred to other situations.

    To achieve this goal the project has a strong trans-disciplinary focus involving non-academic participants in the research.

    • Funded by: NWO ERA-NET Cofund Smart Urban Futures

    • Period: 1-03-2017 until 29-02-2020

    dhr. dr. M.A. (Marco) Bontje

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Programmagroep: Urban Geographies

  • De Regio als Garderobe

    Dit onderzoeksproject, dat gesubsidieerd wordt door Kennisplatform Corpovenista in samenwerking met de gemeentes Amsterdam, Almere en Eindhoven, is een vervolg op het onderzoeksproject 'De Buurt als Jas' (2015).

    Dit voorstel is er op gericht inzicht te verwerven in de functie van woonmilieus voor uiteenlopende typen huishoudens, binnen een stedelijk-regionaal perspectief. De functie van woonmilieus kan worden getypeerd door bestudering van het verhuisgedrag van huishoudens die een bepaalde transitie (van de ene naar de andere situatie) doormaken. De transities kunnen worden aangegeven in demografische, sociaaleconomische en culturele domeinen.

    In demografische zin valt te denken aan alleenstaanden die op een zeker moment gaan samenwonen; koppels die na enige tijd kinderen krijgen; kinderen die later weer het huis uitgaan en oudere stellen die uiteindelijk nog een transitie ervaren door het wegvallen van één van de partners, waarna men als alleenstaande verdergaat. Dit zijn slechts voorbeelden van demografische transities. Verfijning met leeftijden, éénoudergezinnen, het uit elkaar vallen van huishoudens en het langere tijd in één stadium blijven van huishoudens, zal leiden tot meer verfijnde demografische transitietypen.

    In sociaaleconomische zin valt te denken aan de inkomenssituatie van huishoudens. Men kan een overgang meemaken van een laag naar een middeninkomen, of van een midden naar een hoog inkomen, of andersom, en dergelijke. Ook kan men hier aan de overgang van een situatie zonder werk naar een situatie met werk denken (of omgekeerd); of een overgang van studie naar baan, of van werkend naar pensionering. Ook hier kan een veel verfijnder typering van transities worden bereikt door over een bepaalde periode preciezere inkomensverandering vast te stellen en door ook meer verfijning in de factor ‘werk’ aan te geven (deeltijd, tijdelijk, vast, zzp, enz.)

    In culturele zin valt te denken aan een verandering van opleidingsniveau; maar ook aan een transitie van werkkring of beroep. Uit literatuur is bekend dat genoemde culturele verschillen (ook het beroep) samenhangen met een oriëntatie op specifieke woonmilieus, die een specifieke ligging en signatuur hebben.

    De transities gaan vaak gepaard met een verhuizing van het ene naar het andere woonmilieu. Met deze informatie over transities en het verhuisgedrag, kan de ‘functie’ van woonmilieus worden bepaald. Dat kan per domein gebeuren (demografisch, sociaaleconomisch, cultureel), maar vervolgens ook op basis van de domeinen samen. Kort gezegd kan er uiteindelijk worden bepaald bij welke typen huishoudens een bepaald woonmilieu het beste past. We hebben hiervoor eerder de metafoor van ‘De Buurt als Jas’ gebruikt. De buurt (of woonmilieu) moet passen als een jas.

    Omdat we inzicht hebben in vertrek vanuit en vestiging in bepaalde woonmilieus van elk van de transitietypen, verkrijgen we ook inzicht in de relaties tussen woonmilieus die gepaard gaan met bepaalde huishoudenstransities. Daardoor zien we welke woonmilieus fungeren als ‘donor’ van andere woonmilieus en kunnen we op basis van huishoudensprognoses indicaties geven van verschuivingen in die relaties tussen woonmilieus.

    Het is voor een stedelijke regio of een metropolitaan gebied dat functioneert als één woningmarkt, uiteraard van belang om te weten of alle woonmilieus waaraan uiteenlopende typen huishoudens behoefte hebben wel in voldoende mate aanwezig zijn, of de Regio als Garderobe op orde is. Past de verzameling woonmilieus wel goed bij de huishoudens die in de regio (willen) wonen? Er kan sprake zijn van mismatches, in die zin dat er wellicht van bepaalde woonmilieus teveel zijn; of dat er, gelet op de aanwezige huishoudens, van andere woonmilieus te weinig zijn.  Met het door het onderzoek verworven inzicht, kan aangegeven worden in hoeverre er van een matching sprake is dan wel van een mismatch. Ook kunnen aanwijzingen gegeven worden voor gebiedsontwikkeling en herstructureringsbeleid, om uiteindelijk een adequate Garderobe aan milieus tot stand te brengen.

    Het onderzoek zal worden gericht op de metropool-regio’s Amsterdam, Rotterdam en Eindhoven; de inzichten zijn echter voor alle stedelijke regio’s in Nederland toepasbaar omdat de gehele breedte aan huishoudens transities en woonmilieutypen de revue zal passeren; de bevolking van 18+ kan in de beschouwing worden betrokken. Aanvankelijk wordt het onderzoek uitsluitend gericht op revealed preferences (feitelijk gedrag).

    • Subsidieverstrekker: Kennisplatform Corpovenista, Gemeente Amsterdam, Gemeente Almere, Stichting Woonbedrijf
    • Projectduur: 1-10-2016 tot 1-11-2018
    dhr. prof. dr. S. (Sako) Musterd

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Programmagroep: Urban Geographies

    dhr. dr. W.P.C. (Wouter) van Gent

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Programmagroep: Urban Geographies

    dhr. dr. C. (Cody) Hochstenbach

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Programmagroep: Urban Geographies

  • Investing in inequality: how the increase in private housing investors shapes social divides

    Housing increasingly serves as a site for investment. Structural housing-market transformations contribute to the rise of private housing investors buying property to rent out (“buy-to-let”). This project investigates the rise of private investors in the Netherlands, and investigates consequences for access to affordable housing, uneven wealth accumulation, and spatial inequality.

    NWO Veni

    dhr. dr. C. (Cody) Hochstenbach

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Programmagroep: Urban Geographies

  • Transforming Citizenship through Hybrid Governance: The Impacts of Public-Private Security Assemblages

    This project is an anthropological study of how citizenship is being reconfigured through hybrid forms of governance. It researches these transformations by focusing on public-private ‘security assemblages’, with particular emphasis on the role of the private security industry.

    Much recent scholarly debate has focused on shifting modes of governance in a context of neoliberal globalization. Specific attention has focused on how governance is increasingly achieved through networks or assemblages of state, corporate and voluntary actors. Such assemblages of state and non-state actors blur the lines between public and private, and between local, national and transnational. This research will extend this debate by investigating the implications this form of governance has for how different groups enact and experience citizenship, concentrating on public-private security assemblages as hybrid, multi-scalar governance structures. It will examine how forms of ‘differentiated citizenship’ are produced, and how political subjectivities shift, as a result of these forms of security governance.

    Methods

    These transformations in citizenship will be analyzed through a multi-sited, comparative analysis of security assemblages in Jerusalem (Israel), Kingston (Jamaica) and Nairobi (Kenya). The project will research the composition, operation and regulation of public-private security assemblages, with special attention to the global mobilities of security experts and expertise.

    In each setting, the project will study the practices and discourses that structure relations between state and non-state security providers, clients and those seen as threats. It will focus on the ‘security encounter’ between these different actors, in which new social relationships and subjectivities are produced. The project is expected to lead to the development of an anthropological theory of security governance with both theoretical and applied relevance.

    For more information visit: http://security-assemblages.com 

    • Period: 01/04/2014 to 31/03/2019
    • Funding: European Research Council 
    mw. prof. dr. R.K. (Rivke) Jaffe

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Programmagroep: Urban Geographies

  • The politics of security: The impacts of public-private security assemblages on governance and citizenship

    This NWO Vidi funded project will research how governance and citizenship are being reconfigured through public-private ‘security assemblages’, with particular emphasis on the role of the private security industry.

    Recent scholarly debate has focused on transformations of governance and citizenship in a context of neoliberal globalization. Specific attention has focused on how governance is increasingly achieved through networks or assemblages of state, corporate and voluntary actors. Such assemblages blur the lines between public and private, and between local, national and transnational. 

    This research will extend this debate by studying these hybrid, networked forms of governance in relation to the global preoccupation with security. The project will investigate to what extent public-private security assemblages function as hybrid governance structures, and the implications this has for how different groups enact and experience citizenship. It will examine how urban spaces and populations are governed, and how political subjectivities shift, as a result of these hybrid forms of security provision.

    Research method 

    These transformations in governance and  citizenship will be analyzed through an ethnographic study of security assemblages in three cities with high levels of insecurity: Kingston (Jamaica), Recife (Brazil), and Miami (USA).

    The research investigates the practices and discourses that structure relations between state and non- state security providers, clients and those seen as threats, focusing on the ‘security encounter’ between these actors.

    The comparative analysis will provide insight into how public-private security partnerships affect state sovereignty and legitimacy, and whether this impact varies in different urban contexts. By addressing the consequences of security privatization for rights and accountability, the project will be able to make evidence based policy recommendations to inform the development of security provision that is not only effective, but democratic and equitable. By connecting the anthropology of the state and security anthropology, this research will move towards a theoretical rethinking of the politics of security.

    • Funded by: NWO Vidi
    • Period: 1-11-2013 until 1-11-2018
    mw. prof. dr. R.K. (Rivke) Jaffe

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Programmagroep: Urban Geographies