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Urban Planning

Urban Planning

Urban Planning research and teaching at the University of Amsterdam focuses on the relationships between the social, spatial, and environmental dimensions of urban processes, and on ways of purposefully and positively impacting on them.

Research

Our approach to research is characterized by the pursuit of an intimate link between theoretical depth and empirical grounding, with a particular emphasis on concept driven, action-orientated research and case study analysis. We aim to develop knowledge that is valuable not only to the academic community, but also has strong social impact, and helps shape urban futures. Key areas of research are: urban governance, critical transport studies, political ecology, urban sustainability and conflict. The empirical field of our research is international in scope, although Amsterdam features prominently as the city in which we are not only located, but also socially immersed and politically engaged. We are institutionally embedded within the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research and the Center for Urban Studies at the University of Amsterdam, but our research scope and research collaborations reach out to academic institutions in over twenty countries across the world. Within Amsterdam we have active interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research collaboration with, for example, the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, the Free University, the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and the Municipality of Amsterdam.

Teaching

All the staff of the Urban Planning programme group is actively involved in teaching the Bachelors programme in  Human Geography and Urban Planning  and the Masters Programme in  Urban and Regional Planning , and the Masters Research Programme in Urban Studies. These programmes target different student groups, but common to all is that they aim at cultivating in students a both critical and constructive attitude towards different ways of understanding and impacting social, spatial and environmental processes in cities.

Mission and aim

The mission of the Urban Planning group is furthering research and teaching on social, spatial, and environmental processes in cities, their interrelationships, and ways of purposefully and positively impacting on them.

The aim of the Urban Planning group is to contribute to the capacity of cities to cope with urgent social, spatial, and environmental challenges.

Programme Group Leaders

mw. prof. dr. M. (Maria) Kaika

Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

Programmagroep: Urban Planning

dhr. prof. dr. ir. L. (Luca) Bertolini

Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

Programmagroep: Urban Planning

Our Projects 

  • Between self-regulation and formal government: the challenges of self-build housing and facilities - BESEFOGO

    A NWO and FAPESP sponsored international collaboration project between the University of Amsterdam and Universidade de São Paulo.

    This project deals with the topic of self-build housing and local facilities in Brazil and the Netherlands. Self-build is defined in this research as the practice in which people produce their own house and (collective) neighbourhood facilities.
    This can be with or without the hiring of outside expertise (architect, constructor, labourers etc.) or official funding outlets (bank loans, mortgages etc.). Formal institutions and governance systems face increasing difficulties in both countries to satisfy the need for good quality, affordable housing, which is an important condition for sustainable urban development.
    Brazil has a long history of low quality informal self-build housing areas that face the challenge to improve regarding tenure security, safety, access to basic needs like sanitation, energy, water and public transport.
    On first sight conditions in the Netherlands are completely different. However, also here we see growing attention, and even stimulating policies, to enhance self-building of housing and facilities to create more affordable, consumer-tailored housing options for low-income people.

    The main research question is “How is the capacity for self-regulation in practices of self-build housing and facilities related to formal governance and regulation domains and how can this relationship be optimized to create more sustainable forms of urbanization?”
    This question is studied more in detail – and with the use of different methodologies – by addressing sub-research questions regarding the mapping of self-build practices, the experience of self-build practices by residents and their socially sustainable effects in terms of provision of affordable housing and enhanced networks in each locale. In all these questions the relationship between the practices of self-regulation and the formal governance practices and regulations play a sensitizing role.

    Research Methods

    Methodologically, the project aims to combine more class policy and planning studies with ethnographic methods. The work is organized in several distinctive workpackages that have their own end products. Most studies on housing compare systems internationally on the basis of quantitative measurements with little regard for local complexity, diversity and cultural contingency. By introducing ethnographic elements this research project aims to better understand informant discourses and connect them to material, cultural and historic contexts.

    dhr. prof. dr. W.G.M. (Willem) Salet

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Visit the BESEFOGO project website

  • Public accountability to residents in contractual urban redevelopment-PARCOUR

    Contracts, deeds, by-laws and other regulatory instruments are used as planning tools to regulate actors (from the public, private and civil sectors) involved in the regeneration of previously developed land. PARCOUR argues that contractual relationships create a specific form of governance that have important implications for the democratic legitimacy of projects for Sustainable Urban Development (SUD).

    By studying diverse planning tools in Brazil, UK and the Netherlands, PARCOUR will engage in the comparative evaluation of public accountability in relation to residents. It is also important to acknowledge that both the realisation of the public interest through the use of these planning tools and the accountability of the public sector in contractual processes are under researched.

    The main outcome of PARCOUR will be the clear evaluation of public accountability, and clear definition of public interest, focusing on dissemination of this knowledge among public authorities with interactive research.

    Project phases

    The project has 3 phases:

    1. Desk research: Understanding different ways in which the public interest is constructed and operationalised in diverse contexts;
    2. Field work and analysis: Testing the legitimacy of the planning tools that are able to implement actions for the public interest;
    3. Dissemination: Distributing the results to academy and practice.

    Funding

    A total budget of approximately 5.4 million euros was jointly made available by the research councils FAPESP (Brazil), ESRC (United Kingdom) and NWO (The Netherlands). The joint call is part of the policy of NWO to stimulate research cooperation with emerging science nations and to stimulate research on sustainability.

    • NWO funded project 1 Oct 2015 - 1 Oct 2018
    mw. prof. dr. M.T. (Tuna) Tasan-Kok

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Programmagroep: Urban Planning

  • Community Data-Loops for energy-efficient urban lifestyles (CODALoop)

    There is tremendous urgency for reducing cities’ energy footprint through behavioral change. However, we hardly know how to enable individuals to learn to use energy responsibly in their daily lives. This newly funded project combines information, cognitive and social sciences into a real-life experiment in urban neighborhoods.

    CODALoop will provide:

    1. a deeper understanding of learning and behavioral change to reduce energy consumption in an urban setting;
    2. a tested prototype of an interactive web-based platform for sharing data about individual and community energy consumption choices;
    3. a tailored set of policy and market recommendations for the wider application of this platform.

    Consortium

    UvA/AISSR is the main applicant of this project. The project is coordinated by Luca Bertolini who is also director of the Centre for Urban Studies. Dutch partners are: prof. dr. ir. Luca Bertolini (PI, UvA), Federico Savini PhD (UvA), Karin Pfeffer PhD (UvA), Beatriz Pineda Revilla (UvA), Alessandro Bozzon PhD (TUD), Stefano Bocconi PhD (TUD), Amsterdam Economic Board/Amsterdam Smart City, PBL, Nudge.

    • Funded by: the ERA-NET Cofund Smart Cities and Communities programme.
    • Project duration: May 1, 2016 - April 30, 2019.
    dhr. prof. dr. ir. L. (Luca) Bertolini

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Programmagroep: Urban Planning

    Deliverables

  • Smart Cycling Futures

    The new research programme 'Smart Cycling Futures (SCF)' investigates how smart cycling innovations ─ including ICT-enabled cycling innovations, infrastructures, and social innovations like new business models ─ contribute to more resilient and liveable Dutch urban regions.

    Cycling booms in many Dutch cities. While smart cycling innovations promise to increase cycling’s modal share in the (peri-)urban transport system even further, little is understood of their impact or cost and benefit. Cycling innovations benefit urban regions in terms of accessibility, equality, health, liveability, and decreasing CO2-emissions when socially well embedded.

    Going beyond analysis, this research consortium will assess the economic, social, and spatial impacts of cycling on urban regions. It brings together four Dutch regions through academic institutions (three general and one applied-science universities); governmental authorities (urban and regional); and market players (innovative entrepreneurs). Together, they answer practice-based questions in a transdisciplinary and problem-oriented fashion.

    Consortium

    UU (prof. Rob Raven), UvA/AISSR (Marco Brömmelstroet and Luca Bertolini), TUE, Tilburg Universiteit, Windesheim, Min. van WVS, Stadsregio Amsterdam, gemeente Amsterdam, gemeente Eindhoven, gemeente Utrecht, gemeente Zwolle, provincie Noord-Brabant, provincie Utrecht, provincie Overijssel, CROW.

    • Funded by: NWO
    • Project period: April 2016-March 2021
    dhr. prof. dr. ir. L. (Luca) Bertolini

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Programmagroep: Urban Planning

    dhr. prof. dr. M.C.G. (Marco) te Brommelstroet

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Programmagroep: Urban Planning

  • CYCLEWALKMODE - Sharing best practices and experience on data collecting and processing and involvement of users in order to improve planning of cycling and walking as modes of transport in urban and functional urban areas

    During the last decade, the acknowledgement of the social and environmental costs that are connected to transport and mobility patterns based on individual motorised traffic has been consolidated and the shift towards more sustainable mobility is reflected in the policy instruments for the current programming period. Walking and cycling, and active mobility in general, are being supported to cover shorter distances, as it is normally required in urban and functional urban areas. However, people switching to active mobility have to deal with severely inadequate conditions of walking and cycling infrastructure, often unaccessible, unsafe, discontinuous and not ensuring connections from point A to B. Their characteristics are completely different in the various countries, but differences are also between neighbouring cities, due to a general lack of standards in approaches and requirements recognised and applied in the EU. Local and regional administrations taking advantage of the funds available are now rushing in building walking and cycling facilities, but do not fully consider all factors influencing the decision on the characteristics that the infrustructure shall have and it urgent to act.

    CYCLEWALK MODE will provide an opportunity for the local and regional administrations involved to compare and share approaches and ensure more informed decision making process on walking and cycling infrastructure, with the result of increasing the share of active mobility and low carbon mobility. Through study visits, complemented with assessment walking and cycling tours, technical working tables with stakeholders, and the Urban Cycling Institute providing trainings and full technical and scientific advise to the technical offices and the regional experts and universities, the project will ensure taking up of quality criteria for proper walking and cycling infrastructure in the policy instruments and projects, implemented according to share standards.

    • Funded by: ERDF Interreg Europe
    • Project duration: 01-01-2017 - 31-12-2021

    Visit the CYCLEWALKMODE project website

    mw. M.A. (Meredith) Glaser MPhil

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Programmagroep: Urban Planning

    dhr. prof. dr. M.C.G. (Marco) te Brommelstroet

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Programmagroep: Urban Planning

    dhr. prof. dr. ir. L. (Luca) Bertolini

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Programmagroep: Urban Planning

    Interreg Europe
  • Noord/Zuidlijn metro impact evaluation

    On 22 July 2018 the new ‘Noord/Zuidlijn’ metro line connecting the North and the South side of Amsterdam through the city centre has been inaugurated. What is the impact of such a large-scale new infrastructure for the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area?

    By comparing the situation before and after it goes into operation, the Noord/Zuidlijn offers a unique opportunity to investigate the effects of a large scale new infrastructure on mobility patterns and behavior, socio-economic and spatial aspects, as well as quality of life. The research project is a collaboration between different universities and local government bodies. The focus of the contribution of the University of Amsterdam is on assessing effects on land use and public space.

    • Project duration: 1 June 2017 – 30 July 2021
    • Partners: City of Amsterdam, Vervoerregio Amsterdam, Delft University of Technology, University of Amsterdam (UvA), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU), Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI)   
    • Related informationNoord/Zuidlijn
    dhr. prof. dr. ir. L. (Luca) Bertolini

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Programmagroep: Urban Planning

  • The Mobile City

    The Mobile City innovation program caries out experiments that develop and test innovations for the integration of mobility, technology and place in city (regions).

    The experiments are organized together with public and private stakeholders, stimulated by five provinces. The practice orientated combination of experiments and knowledge development aims at building a better integration of mobility and the city, on different scales, in urban regions.

    Partners: University of Amsterdam, University of Twente, Radboud University, Design Academy Eindhoven, UUM (Formerly Het Noordzuiden), Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, Provinces of Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Noord-Brabant.

    Visit The Mobile City project website

    dhr. prof. dr. ir. L. (Luca) Bertolini

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Programmagroep: Urban Planning

  • What is Governed in Cities: Residential Investment Landscapes and the Governance and Regulation of Housing Production

    This project draws on a precise comparative, inter-disciplinary methodology to examine the inter-relationships between contemporary investment flows into the housing markets of major metropolitan centres and the governance arrangements and public policy instruments that are designed to regulate them. Our case studies are the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, Greater London, and Grand Paris. The project asks what is governed in major cities and draws on two streams of analysis: mapping and explaining the types of investment that are shaping housing production in the 3 cities; and developing understandings of the effectiveness of public policy instruments that are in place to regulate them. The project is timely as major cities have been faced with unprecedented development pressures as their populations and economies have expanded and their built environments have become highly attractive locations for global investment. These pressures have been particularly acute in the production and consumption of housing, where the impacts of investments on markets, citizens, and places are generating a widely perceived crisis and set of governmental challenges to produce affordable housing.

    The project follows two streams of analysis. First we examine investment landscapes and the effectiveness of regulations and policy instruments that are designed to control them. We do this systematically and comparatively. Second we analyse the types of investment that are shaping housing markets and their impacts on people and places. We explore its sources, objectives, and designed outcomes. The research meets an increasingly urgent need to develop better understandings of the complex relationships between markets, planning controls, and the quality of life of citizens in a context of escalating political tensions between different socio-economic groups and major global economic and social changes.

    Website 

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    mw. dr. S. (Sara) Özogul

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Programmagroep: Urban Planning

    mw. prof. dr. M.T. (Tuna) Tasan-Kok

    Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

    Programmagroep: Urban Planning