Photographer: DK

dr. K. (Karin) Pfeffer

  • Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
    GPIO : Governance and Inclusive Development
  • Visiting address
    REC BC
    Nieuwe Achtergracht 129  Amsterdam
    Room number: C4.12
  • Postal address:
    Postbus  15629
    1001 NC  Amsterdam
    T: 0205254003


I am a geographer, Associate Professor Geographic Information Science (GIS) and coordinator of the GIS lab of the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR). I am also one of the co-ordinators of the Methods Expertise Center (MEC; of AISSR.

Research and research projects

With respect to research I participate in the research group Governance and Inclusive Development. My fields of interest are the generation of information from different spatial data sources in urban areas using GIS and Remote Sensing techniques and how information is used in urban management.

My specific research topics are:

  • Urban poverty and spatial inequalities
  • Mapping and analyzing urban deprivations / slum areas
  • Urban remote sensing
  • Geo-technologies and digital technologies
  • Geographic information analysis and spatial knowledge
  • Acoustic environment of urban public spaces
  • Smart urbanism and urban lifestyles
  • Urban patterns and processes
  • Participatory mapping / qualitative GIS


Teaching domains are the introduction to geographical information systems, advanced geographical information systems, introduction to statistics, use of GIS in various disciplines of the Social Sciences such as planning or development issues.

This academic year, I teach methodological courses in the Master's programme Human Geography, and GIS electives for the Research Master’s programmes of the Graduate School Social Sciences of the University of Amsterdam.

Current Projects

Currently I am involved in the following research projects

2016-2020 A New Urban Epoch? Alternative ways to measure urbanization using VHR remote sensing data

This PhD project explores the potential of Very High Resolution satellite images to research urbanization processes and patterns of small towns at the rural-urban transition and provide alternative measures and conceptualizations of contemporary urbanization.

2016-2019: CODALoop - Community Data-Loops for energy-efficient urban lifestyles

CODALoop aims at enabling behavioural change in energy use through the design, implementation and assessment of learning and behavioural adaptation feedback loops, supported by a web-based platform through which qualitative and quantitative data are shared. More information at:

2016-2019: DynaSlum: Data Driven Modelling and Decision Support for Slums

DynaSlum processes very high-resolution remote sensing images and builds high-resolution agent-based models that can describe the growth dynamics of slums in Bangalore. – More information at:

2014-2018: Inclusive partnerships and innovation platforms for sustainable landscapes and greater food sovereignty among tree crop farmers in Ghana and South Africa

The related PhD project that I supervise within this project focuses on the effects of tree-crop farming on the mosaic landscape employing remote-sensing based land use change detection as well as participatory GIS. More information at:

2014-2017: Sound and the city: The nature of the interaction between patterns of human activity and sound in public spaces

This PhD project investigates how activity influences the way how people interpret and evaluate the auditory environment of urban public spaces and how the auditory environment of an urban public spaces affords particular activities in these spaces.

2013-2017: SIM-CITY

SIM-CITY studies and develops an agent-based complex network system to interactively explore socio-economic scenarios that can support decision makers of large urban areas, notably Bangalore in India. The PhD project that I supervise explores the effect of wages on human well-being. More information at:

Past Projects

Before I was involved in:

  • Co-editing the book on Geographies of Urban Governance -
  • The European project chance2sustain researching how governments and citizens in cities with differing patterns of urban economic growth make use of participatory (or integrated) spatial knowledge management to direct urban governance towards more sustainable development.
  • Investigating the role of spatial information infrastructures for tackling urban poverty in Indian cities
  • Setting up a regional monitoring system for the region of Amsterdam
  • A European research network for the application of Geomorphology and Environmental Impact Assessment to Transport Systems.

​I am supervising the following PhD projects:

  • Robbin-Jan van Duijne, A New Urban Epoch? Alternative ways to measure urbanization using VHR remote sensing data
  • Beatrix Revilla Pineda, Enabling Sustainable Energy Lifestyles through ‘Learning and Behaviour Adaptation’ Feedback Loops in urban communities
  • Edda Bild, Sound and the city: The nature of the interaction between patterns of human activity and sound in public spaces
  • Guowei Lyu, The impacts of different types of Transit Oriented Developments (TODs) on land use, spatial accessibility, and commuting time in the Chinese context
  • Tara Saharan, Livelihood trajectories in sub-standard settlements in Durban, South Africa and Chennai, India
  • Bharath Pavelli, Effects of living wages on human wellbeing in Bangalore, India; a computational approach
  • Kirstin Konti, Multi-Level Groundwater Governance
  • Kwabena Asuboteng, The impacts of different types of Transit Oriented Developments (TODs) on land use, spatial accessibility, and commuting time in the Chinese context
  • Julius Muchemi, Domestication of International Environmental Policy in Developing Countries: Linking Community and National Monitoring of UNFCCC REDD+ Policy Mechanism in Kenya

Earlier, I have supervised the following PhD projects

  • Christine Richter (2014), Digital transformations in Indian cities: between paper list and GIS map
  • Tara van Dijk (2014), Sub-altern Urbanism in India Beyond the Mega-City slum


  • Miranda Sara, L., Pfeffer, K., & Baud, I. (2017). Unfolding Urban Geographies of Water-Related Vulnerability and Inequalities: Recognising Risks in Knowledge Building in Lima, Peru. In S. Bell, A. Allen, P. Hofmann, & T-H. Teh (Eds.), Urban water trajectories. (pp. 81-98). (Future city; No. 6). Cham: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-42686-0_6 [details]
  • Roy, D., Lees, M., Pfeffer, K., & Sloot, P. M. A. (2017). Modelling the impact of household life cycle on slums in Bangalore. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 64, 275-287. DOI: 10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2017.03.008 [details]
  • Kuffer, M., Pfeffer, K., Sliuzas, R., Baud, I., & van Maarseveen, M. (2017). Capturing the Diversity of Deprived Areas with Image-Based Features: The Case of Mumbai. Remote Sensing, 9(4), 384. DOI: 10.3390/rs9040384 [details] [PDF]


  • Baud, I., Pfeffer, K., & Scott, D. (2016). Configuring knowledge in urban water-related risks and vulnerability. Habitat International, 54(2), 95-99. DOI: 10.1016/j.habitatint.2015.12.019 [details]
  • Lyu, G., Bertolini, L., & Pfeffer, K. (2016). Developing a TOD typology for Beijing metro station areas. Journal of Transport Geography, 55, 40-50. DOI: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2016.07.002 [details]
  • Miranda Sara, L., Jameson, S., Pfeffer, K., & Baud, I. (2016). Risk perception: The social construction of spatial knowledge around climate change-related scenarios in Lima. Habitat International, 54(2), 136-149. DOI: 10.1016/j.habitatint.2015.12.025 [details]
  • Pfeffer, K., & Verrest, H. (2016). Perspectives on the Role of Geo-Technologies for Addressing Contemporary Urban Issues: Implications for IDS. European Journal of Development Research, 28(2), 154-166. DOI: 10.1057/ejdr.2016.4 [details]
  • Veldhuizen, E., & Pfeffer, K. (2016). Crossing boundaries: Mapping spatial dynamics of urban phenomena at micro scale to support urban management in the Amsterdam urban region. BELGEO, 2016(2). [details] [PDF]
  • Alberts, A., Pfeffer, K., & Baud, I. (2016). Rebuilding women's livelihoods strategies at the city fringe: agency, spatial practices, and access to transportation from Semmencherry, Chennai. Journal of Transport Geography, 55, 142-151. DOI: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2015.11.004 [details]
  • Bild, E., Coler, M., Pfeffer, K., & Bertolini, L. (2016). Considering Sound in Planning and Designing Public Spaces: A Review of Theory and Applications and a Proposed Framework for Integrating Research and Practice. Journal of Planning Literature, 31(4), 419-434. DOI: 10.1177/0885412216662001 [details]
  • Kuffer, M., Pfeffer, K., & Sliuzas, R. (2016). Slums from Space: 15 Years of Slum Mapping Using Remote Sensing. Remote Sensing, 8(6), [455]. DOI: 10.3390/rs8060455 [details] [PDF]
  • Kuffer, M., Pfeffer, K., Sliuzas, R., & Baud, I. S. A. (2016). Extraction of slum areas from VHR imagery using GLCM variance. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, 9(5), 1830-1840. DOI: 10.1109/JSTARS.2016.2538563 [details]
  • Martínez, J., Pfeffer, K., & Baud, I. (2016). Factors shaping cartographic representations of inequalities. Maps as products and processes. Habitat International, 51, 90-102. DOI: 10.1016/j.habitatint.2015.10.010 [details]


  • Brandellero, A., & Pfeffer, K. (2015). Making a scene: exploring the dimensions of place through Dutch popular music, 1960-2010. Environment and Planning A, 47(7), 1574-1591. DOI: 10.1177/0308518X15595781 [details]
  • Gupta, J., Pfeffer, K., Ros-Tonen, M., & Verrest, H. (2015). An inclusive development perspective on the geographies of urban governance. In J. Gupta, K. Pfeffer, H. Verrest, & M. Ros-Tonen (Eds.), Geographies of urban governance: advanced theories, methods and practices (pp. 217-228). Cham: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-21272-2_11 [details]
  • Gupta, J., Pfeffer, K., Ros-Tonen, M., & Verrest, H. (2015). Setting the scene: the geographies of urban governance. In J. Gupta, J. Pfeffer, K. Verrest, & M. Ros-Tonen (Eds.), Geographies of urban governance: advanced theories, methods and practices (pp. 3-25). Cham: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-21272-2_1 [details]
  • Pfeffer, K., Martinez, J., O'Sullivan, D., & Scott, D. (2015). Geo-technologies for spatial knowledge: challenges for inclusive and sustainable urban development. In J. Gupta, K. Pfeffer, H. Verrest, & M. Ros-Tonen (Eds.), Geographies of urban governance: advanced theories, methods and practices. (pp. 147-173). Cham: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-21272-2_8 [details]
  • Pfeffer, K., Verrest, H., & Poorthuis, A. (2015). Big Data for better urban life?: An exploratory study of critical urban issues in two Caribbean cities: Paramaribo (Suriname) and Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago). European Journal of Development Research, 27(4), 505-522. DOI: 10.1057/ejdr.2015.48 [details]


  • Baud, I., Scott, D., Pfeffer, K., Sydenstricker-Neto, J., & Denis, E. (2014). Digital and spatial knowledge management in urban governance: Emerging issues in India, Brazil, South Africa, and Peru. Habitat International, 44, 501-509. DOI: 10.1016/j.habitatint.2014.09.009 [details]
  • Roy, D., Lees, M. H., Palavalli, B., Pfeffer, K., & Sloot, M. A. P. (2014). The emergence of slums: A contemporary view on simulation models. Environmental Modelling & Software, 59, 76-90. DOI: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2014.05.004 [details]


  • Pfeffer, K., Baud, I., Denis, E., Scott, D., & Sydenstricker-Neto, J. (2013). Participatory spatial knowledge management tools: empowerment and upscaling or exclusion? Information, Communication & Society, 16(2), 258-285. DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2012.687393 [details]


  • Baud, I., Sridharan, N., & Pfeffer, K. (2012). Mapping urban poverty for local governance in Delhi. In N. Pouw, & I. Baud (Eds.), Local governance and poverty in developing nations (pp. 140-172). (Routledge studies in development and society; No. 31). New York: Routledge. [details]
  • Pfeffer, K., Deurloo, M. C., & Veldhuizen, E. M. (2012). Visualising postcode data for urban analysis and planning: the Amsterdam City Monitor. Area, 44(3), 326-335. DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2012.01096.x [details]


  • Brandellero, A. M. C., & Pfeffer, K. (2011). Multiple and shifting geographies of world music production. Area, 43(4), 495-505. DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2011.01057.x [details]
  • Pfeffer, K., Martinez, J., Baud, I. S. A., & Sridharan, N. (2011). Knowledge production in urban governance systems through qualitative Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Environment & Urbanization ASIA, 2(2), 235-250. DOI: 10.1177/097542531100200207 [details]
  • Martinez, J., Pfeffer, K., & van Dijk, T. (2011). E-government tools, claimed potentials/unnamed limitations: the case of Kalyan-Dombivli. Environment & Urbanization ASIA, 2(2), 223-234. DOI: 10.1177/097542531100200206 [details]
  • Richter, C., Miscione, G., De', R., & Pfeffer, K. (2011). Enlisting SDI for urban planning in India: local practices in the case of slum declaration. In Z. Nedović-Budić, J. Crompvoets, & Y. Georgiadou (Eds.), Spatial data infrastructures in context: north and south (pp. 157-179). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. [details]


  • Baud, I., Kuffer, M., Pfeffer, K., Sliuzas, R., & Karuppannan, S. (2010). Understanding heterogeneity in metropolitan India: the added value of remote sensing data for analyzing sub-standard residential areas. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 12(5), 359-374. DOI: 10.1016/j.jag.2010.04.008 [details]


  • Baud, I. S. A., Pfeffer, K., Sridharan, N., & Nainan, N. (2009). Matching deprivation mapping to urban governance in three Indian mega-cities. Habitat International, 33(4), 365-377. DOI: 10.1016/j.habitatint.2008.10.024 [details]


  • Baud, I., Sridharan, N., & Pfeffer, K. (2008). Mapping urban poverty for local governance in an Indian mega-city: The case of Delhi. Urban Studies, 45(7), 1385-1412. DOI: 10.1177/0042098008090679 [details]


  • Baud, I., Denis, E., Pfeffer, K., Sydenstricker-Neto, J., Scott, D., Sutherland, C., ... Richter, C. (2014). Mapping city visions: integrating mega-projects in urban development. (Chance2Sustain policy brief series; No. 15). Bonn: EADI/Chance2Sustain. [details] [PDF]
  • Baud, I., Pfeffer, K., Scott, D., Denis, E., & Sydenstricker, J. (2014). Participatory 'spatial' knowledge management configurations in metropolitan governance networks for SD. (Chance2Sustain thematic reports; No. 2). Bonn: EADI/Chance2Sustain. [details] [PDF]
  • Kennedy, L., Varrel, A., Denis, E., Dupont, V., Dhanalakshmi, R., Roumeau, S., ... Saharan, T. (2014). Engaging with sustainability issues in metropolitan Chennai. (Chance2Sustain city report series; No. 5). Bonn: EADI/Chance2Sustain. [details] [PDF]


  • Baud, I., Scott, D., Pfeffer, K., Sydenstricker-Neto, J., Denis, E., & Consuelo Muguruza Minaya, L. (2013). Spatial knowledge management in urban local government: e-governance in India, Brazil, South Africa, and Peru: WP5 fieldwork reports. (Chance2Sustain fieldwork report series; No. 4). Bonn: Chance2Sustain. [details]


  • Conti, K. I. (2017). Norms in multilevel groundwater governance and sustainable development [details / files]

Book editor

  • Gupta, J., Pfeffer, K., Verrest, H., & Ros-Tonen, M. (2015). Geographies of urban governance: advanced theories, methods and practices. Cham: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-21272-2 [details]
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