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My passion is to help both students and professionals become (more) effective area developers—in the Netherlands and beyond. The evolution of cities and urban regions, and more specifically the work that politicians, planners, developers and investors do to shape that evolution, fascinates me. Understanding the mechanisms behind that work requires ongoing reflection and research. Combining strong academic rigor with high societal impact is important, and Delft University of Technology (TUD) enables me to do just that. In Delft, I currently co-lead a research and impact program on area development (in Dutch: gebiedsontwikkeling): a governance strategy that advances public-private collaboration and civic engagement in planning, funding and organizing complex spatial projects. Since 2004, my own research experience has been built around three main themes. 




Governing Urban Waterfront

For many people, today's ports are largely out of sight and often perceived as relics from an industrial past. Some may have an eye for the technological sophistication and the seamless logistical operation of the modern seaport, but most people only witness the historic maritime structures closer to the city center.


Today, some port areas may be in a fenced-off state of dilapidation, while others are opened up to offer basic but cheap space for startups and light manufacturing activities. Such areas may turn into 'hip' and vibrant sights of urban transformation, often leading to significant investments and change.


In my governance research, I focus on the places where modern water-bound industries get surrounded by urban functions. Here, I pose Robert Dahl's famous question "who governs?", and focus on networks and arenas in which actors vie for the capacity to shape the spatial future of the urban waterfront, i.e. the many sites where the port and city intersect on the water's edge. My work uncovers the mechanisms that shape the decisions and actions in these networks and arenas. 

Urban Development
Governance & Institutions


Urban development projects (UDPs) are major, long-term governance challenges that cut across public, private and third sector boundaries. They need enduring input from a variety of scientific domains and professional disciplines and are therefore essentially hybrid and transdisciplinary.


In research and practice, UDPs have long been treated simply as projects of a larger scope and scale. However, much of the project management literature will leave professionals in charge of these projects puzzled and ineffective. How are UDPs actually governed?


In my research, I study governance strategies that are somehow attuned to the interdependencies between public, private and third sector actors in the complex, iterative processes of contemporary urban development. I am particularly interested in the rules that shape the planning, development and investment work that leads to collaborative strategies and effective long-term partnerships for sustainable outcomes.


Dutch Area Development

Area development emerged in the Netherlands in the 1990s, and has since evolved into a specific domain of practice and research. As a practice, it focuses on area-based solutions to multifaceted spatial development problems, often leading to plans that attempt to integrate public, private and civic elements into feasible spatial projects.


In research, gebiedsontwikkeling is a connective domain. Studying and theorizing area development requires knowledge and experience from a broad range of disciplines, such as spatial planning, design and law, real estate, property development, politics and public administration, urban economics and sociology, as well as different types of (both technical and organizational) management.


As associate professor, I am part of a community of scholars and practice experts that actively develops the gebiedsontwikkeling domain in The Netherlands. I collaborate with them, learn from the respective area(s) of expertise and participate in (inter)national science and practice networks in order to study and advance the field.


My Research Activities

Academic Research
Proposals & Grants


  • 2019: NWO Transitions and Behaviour Proposal 'Changing Mobility Behaviour in a Transition Toward Sustainable and Inclusive Accessibility' in collaboration with professors Van Arem and Mugge (TU Delft)

  • 2018: ESPON EGTC Proposal 'European Sustainable Urbanisation through Port City Regeneration (ENSURE)' in collaboration with Ecologic Institute Berlin

  • 2017: Climate-KIC Sustainable Production Systems Loop Flagship Programme Proposal 'Circular Cities Co-Creation Platform' in collaboration with Chalmers University (Sweden)

  • 2016: ERA-NET Cofund Smart Urban Futures (ENSUF) Pre-Proposal 'SITES: Smart and Integrated Transformations for Economic Synergies: Co-Creating Strategies for the European Port-City Interface' in collaboration wth the University of Antwerp (Belgium), Gdansk University of Technology (Poland), and the Univesity of Porto (Portugal)

  • 2015: NWO Smart Urban Regions of the Future: Research Proposal 'Metropolitan and Mainport Economies in Tandem for Transition (MMETT)' in collaboration with Erasmus University Rotterdam

  • 2015: EU Marie Curie Actions International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES) Urban Knowlegde Network Asia (UKNA) - TRAVEL GRANT for a Case Study in Shanghai, China, in association with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences

  • 2011: Nicis Kennis voor Krachtige Steden [Knowledge for Strong Cities]: Proposal 'Katalysatorprojecten voor krachtige stedelijke regio’s' [Catalyst Projects for Strong Urban Regions] in collaboration with Erasmus Univesity and the Netherlands School of Public Administration

  • 2007: European Research Counsel (ERC) Proposal 'PORTCITI The Development of the Port-City Interface: Dynamics in decision-making' in collaboration with the Institute of Transport and Maritime Management of the University of Antwerp (ITMMA).

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Contract Research

  • 2023: Co-Leader of the Research Project 'Landschapsbewuste stadsrandontwikkeling: 25 jaar Haverleij' in collaboration with BPD, Heijmans and the City of 's-Hertogenbosch

  • 2021: C0-Leader of the Research Project 'Infrastructuur voor Duurzame Gebiedsontwikkeling' in collaboration with Vereniging Deltametropool for the Ministry of Infrastructure (I&W)

  • 2019: Project Leader and Co-Researcher in the Research Project 'Fondsen voor verstedelijking' for the Ministry of the Interior (BZK)

  • 2019: Project Leader and Co-Researcher in the Research Project 'GebiedsInvesteringsZone (GIZ): naar een praktijkexperiment' for the Ministry of the Interior (BZK)

  • 2019: Project Leader and Co-researcher in the Research Project 'Succesfactoren alternative bekostiging van openbaar vervoer en gebiedsontwikkeling' for the Ministry of Infrastructure & Water (I&W)

  • 2018: Project Leader and Co-Researcher in the Research Project 'Ruimte voor bedrijven' for the Municipality of Rotterdam

  • 2017: Research Proposal 'Innovatieve Stadshaven: Eilandje - Steenborgerweert' for Vespa AG Antwerp (not granted)

  • 2016-17: Co-Resercher in the Research Project 'Area Transformations' for the Dutch Ministry of Internal Affairs (BZK)

  • 2015-17: Project Leader and Principle Researcher in the Research Project 'Governance for Next Generation Waterfronts' for SmartPort Knowledge Institute

  • 2013: Co-Researcher in the Research Project 'Kennismotor' for the Municpality of Rotterdam                                                           

  • 2012: Project Leader and Co-Researcher in the Research Project 'Sturen tussen haven en stad' for the Municpality of Rotterdam/Programmabureau Stadshavens

  • 2011: Co-Researcher in the Research Project 'REAP2' for Programmabureau Stadshavens

  • 2011: Project Leader and Co-Researcher for the Research Project 'Sturen op Waarde 2' for the Municpality of Rotterdam

  • 2010: Project Leader and Co-Researcher for the Research Project 'Sturen op Waarde' for the Municpality of Rotterdam (together with Erasmus University Rotterdam).



2018: Co-Researcher and Co-Author of the Research Essays on Urban

Transformation for the National

Program Stedelijke Transformatie.

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Editorships & Peer Reviews

TU Delft is member of the Association of European Schools of Planning. Since 2005, I attended most annual AESOP of AESOP/ACSP conferences.

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