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dr. H.J.L.M. (Hebe) Verrest

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
GPIO : Governance and Inclusive Development
Photographer: Bram Belloni

Visiting address
  • Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
  • Room number: B4.06
Postal address
  • Postbus 15629
    1001 NC Amsterdam
Contact details
Social media
  • Profile


    I am a Human Geographer, and assistant professor at the Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies (GPIO) of UvA.

    My research focuses on cities, historically on small and medium cities in The Caribbean, and increasingly on coastal cities in South Asia. Leading in my work is a focus on exclusion and inequality. These themes come back in more specific themes that I have worked on such as urban governance and spatial planning;  climate change adaptation, livelihoods and entrepreneurship.

    Currently I work on two research projects:

    Entrepreneurial Risk navigations

    Climate change presents one of the main challenges to contemporary and future cities, especially those in coastal zones. It may pose new risks or exacerbate existing environmental, economic and social risks. In port cities around the world, private, public and civil actors are tackling anticipated climate change risks, both as individual actors and in joint efforts. While climate governance research emphasizes the relevance of the private sector in addressing risks, in practice it treats the sector as one category, ignoring sectoral diversity, for example in business size. Furthermore we know very little about how local complexities, and characteristics of businesses and entrepreneurs shape the development of responses. Despite their vulnerability to climate change risks and economic importance, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are overlooked in these debates. This project therefore studies the attempts of SMEs to navigate climate change risks. It explores how entrepreneurship and urban governance intersect in addressing urban climate change risks. It does so through a comparative study of multiple Caribbean and Asean cities

    Ordinary smartness

    Over the last decade Smart City has increasingly become a popular urban policy approach of cities in both the Global North and Global South. Such approaches focus on digital and technological driven urban innovation and are often considered to be a universal solution to varied urban problems in different cities. The considerable consequences of Smart City strategies call for critical engagement with the rationale, methods, target group and implications of  Smart City approaches in different urban contexts. The aim of this project is to further such critical engagement by distilling dimensions absent in current smart urbanism.  The project focuses on three dimensions that facilitate a comprehensive analysis of what Smart City-policies mean for contemporary urban life: 1) the acknowledgement that the urban is not confined to the administrative boundaries of a city; 2) importance of local social-economic, cultural-political and environmental contingencies in analysing the development, implementation and effects of Smart City-policies; and, 3) the social-political construction of both the urban problems Smart City policies aim to solve and the considered solutions. Within this project case studies from cities across the globe are central.

    In te past, I have been involved in several collaborative research programs with the University of the Westindies, University of Guyana and the Anton de Kom University of Suriname on knowledge, spatial planning and climate change (see  

    I am program director of the BSc Human Geography and Planning, the Msc Human Geography and the MSc Urban and Regional Planning.Recently, I have been involved in several collaborative research programs with the University of the Westindies, University of Guyana and the Anton de Kom University of Suriname on knowledge, spatial planning and climate change (see  I hold a guest research position at the UNESCO-IHE in Delft (since 2013) and am appointed as Global Advisor to the UN Global Compact Cities Programme ( am a board member of Stichting Vista, and advisor to the Johan Ferrier Fonds ( 

    I teach within the master programs International Development Studies, and Human Geography and well as in the research master program International Development Studies.



    Studying Human Geography at the UvA

  • Research projects
  • Teaching

    I teach various courses related to International Development Studies in general, to Urban Studies and to Research Methods and Techniques. The courses I teach are part of the curriculum of the Research Master International Development Studies, the Master International Development Studies and in the Master Human Geography. In addition to this, I supervise student fieldwork and thesis-writing. From september 2017 I am program director of the Bachelor Human Geography and urban Planning, the Master Human Geography and the Master Urban and Regional Planning.


    Master International Development Studies (MA-IDS)

    The MA-IDS provides students with a thorough background in contemporary theories and debates in international development, as well as specific insights into key themes within international development processes. A characteristic feature of this Master’s programme is a fieldwork period of roughly 8-10 weeks in country in the global south.Within this program I taught the compulsory course Core Issues in International Development Studies: theoretical approaches and current debates and the elective course Urban Inequalities. In addition I supervise MA-fieldwork and thesis projects focusing on the Caribbean, on urban development, climate change, inequality and exclusion and livelihood and entrepreneurship. For more information on the program and the course, visit the website of the program: 

    MA- International Development Studies

    Research Master International Development Studies (RM-IDS)

    The RM-IDS  focuses on development processes and transformations and shifting balances of power in the Global South. It concentrates on current debates on political, social, cultural, environmental and economic issues. The programme trains students in a variety of research methodologies and techniques to understand these processes from a predominantly Southern and internationally comparative perspective. Within this program I taught the compulsory course Research Design: Mixed Methods.  In addition, I supervise students with fieldwork, thesis writing and article development, mostly, but not exclusively linked to my research interests. Check the website for RM-IDS for information on the program: 


    Research Master International Development Studies

    Human Geography (HG)

    The Master Human Geography at the University of Amsterdam has a focus on urban and political geographies. The programme offers four specialisations: Economic Geography, Environmental Geography, Political Geography and Urban Geography.

    See the website for more information 

    MSc Human Geography

    Master Urban and Regional Planning

    New conditions of the network society and relational geography have rapidly influenced urban and regional development. The Master’s programme in Urban and Regional Planning offers a broad training in urban and regional planning, with a focus on strategic planning, climate proof cities, mobility in transformative spaces as well as urban planning and property-led development. During the programme, students focus on innovative forms of planning aimed at solving problems of collective action in metropolitan areas.

    MSc. Urban and Regional Planning

    Bachelor Human Geography and Planning (in Dutch)

    Geographers and Planners engage with spatial organisation and use on mutliple levels across the globe. By studying Human Geography and Planning students develop a spatial lense on the world. They focus on relations between people and their environments and study interactions and tensions between people and space. 

    BSc Human Geography and Planning

  • Publications


    • Verrest, H. J. L. M. (Accepted/In press). [Review of: R. Hoefte, M.L. Bishop, P. Clegg (2017) Post-Colonial Trajectories in the Caribbean : The Three Guianas]. New West Indian Guide, 92(3&4).
    • Verrest, H. J. L. M., & Pfeffer, K. (2018). Elaborating the urbanism in smart urbanism: distilling relevant dimensions for a comprehensive analysis of Smart City approaches. Information, Communication & Society. DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2018.1424921 


    • 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] 
    • Verrest, H. (2016). The mixed role of local communities in home-based economic activities in Caribbean cities. In C. Mason, D. Reuschke, S. Syrett, & M. van Ham (Eds.), Entrepreneurship in Cities: Neighbourhoods, Households and Homes (pp. 249-270). (Entrepreneurship, space and place). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. DOI: 10.4337/9781784712006.00022  [details] 
    • van Roozendaal, G. C., & Verrest, H. J. L. M. (2016). External CSR as strategic action in the shadow of commercial interests. A study into oil and gas companies in Trinidad and Tobago. Economic and Environmental studies, 16(3), 469-490.


    • 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] 
    • Gupta, J., Verrest, H., & Jaffe, R. (2015). Theorizing governance. In J. Gupta, K. Pfeffer, H. Verrest, & M. Ros-Tonen (Eds.), Geographies of urban governance: advanced theories, methods and practices (pp. 27-43). Cham: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-21272-2_2  [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] 
    • James, P., & Verrest, H. (2015). Beyond the network effect: towards an alternative understanding of global urban organizations. In J. Gupta, K. Pfeffer, H. Verrest, & M. Ros-Tonen (Eds.), Geographies of urban governance: advanced theories, methods and practices (pp. 65-84). Cham: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-21272-2_4  [details] 


    • Verrest, H., & Hoefte, R. (2014). The development of Paramaribo in the second half of the century. In R. Hoefte (Ed.), Suriname in the long twentieth century: domination, contestation, globalization (pp. 159-186). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. DOI: 10.1057/9781137360137.0011  [details] 
    • Middelbeek, L., Kolle, K., & Verrest, H. (2014). Built to last? Local climate change adaptation and governance in the Caribbean-The case of an informal urban settlement in Trinidad and Tobago. Urban Climate, 8, 138-154. DOI: 10.1016/j.uclim.2013.12.003  [details] 
    • van der Mark, E. J., & Verrest, H. (2014). Fighting the odds: strategies of female caregivers of disabled children in Zimbabwe. Disability & Society, 29(9), 1412-1427. DOI: 10.1080/09687599.2014.934441  [details] 


    • Verrest, H. (2013). Rethinking microentrepreneurship and business development programs: vulnerability and ambition in low-income urban Caribbean households. World Development, 47(July), 58-70. DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2013.02.016  [details] 
    • Verrest, H., Moorcroft, S., & Mohammed, A. (2013). Global urban development programmes and local realities in the Caricom-Caribbean: mismatches in needs and approach. Habitat International, 40, 258-267. DOI: 10.1016/j.habitatint.2013.05.008  [details] 


    • Verrest, H., & Jaffe, R. (2012). Bipolar antagonism and multipolar coexistence: framing difference and shaping fear in two Caribbean cities. Social & Cultural Geography, 13(6), 625-644. DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2012.713506  [details] 



    • Verrest, H. (2009). Caribbean urban livelihoods and policies: targeting assets, vulnerability and diversity. In D. McGregor, D. Dodman, & D. Barker (Eds.), Global change and Caribbean vulnerability: environment, economy and society at risk (pp. 336-362). Kingston: University of the West Indies Press. [details] 


    • Verrest, H. (2008). Working from home: urban livelihoods in low-income Surinamese and Trinidadian households. In R. Jaffe (Ed.), The Caribbean city (pp. 247-274). Kingston: Ian Randle. [details] 


    • Verrest, H. J. L. M., & Post, J. (2007). Home-based economic activities, livelihoods and space in Paramaribo, Suriname. International Development Planning Review, 26(2), 161-184. [details] 


    • 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] 


    • Verrest, H. (2015). [Review of: B. Meeks (2014) Critical interventions in Caribbean politics and theory]. Revista Europea de Estudios Latinoamericanos y del Caribe, 99, 176-178. DOI: 10.18352/erlacs.10111  [details] 



    • Verrest, H. (2011). Stadsstudies ontmoeten ontwikkelingsstudies [Bespreking van: J. Beall, S. Fox (2009) Cities and development]. Rooilijn, 44(5), 382-384. [details] 
    • van Niekerk, N. G. W., Mastwijk, K., Cornelissen, W. J., Verrest, H. J. L. M., & Willems, M. P. J. (2011). Evaluatie van de Twinningfaciliteit Suriname-Nederland. (IOB Evaluatie; No. 361). Den Haag: Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken. [details] 


    • Verrest, H. (2010). Paramaribo: Caribische stad zonder scheidslijnen. Rooilijn, 43(3), 162-169. [details] 


    • Verrest, H. J. L. M., & Reddock, R. E. (2004). Poverty and statistics in Trinidad and Tobago, an introduction. Caribbean Dialogue, 9(4), 1-7. [details] 


    • Verrest, H. (2011). "Something to keep me going": The role of vulnerability and ambition in understanding micro-entrepreneurship and the irrelevance of business development programs for low-income groups in Caribbean cities. Paper presented at 13th EADI general conference 2011: Rethinking development in the age of scarcity: new values, voices and alliances for increased resilience, .


    • Verrest, H. J. L. M. (2009). Coping in times of crisis: livelihoods in Suriname 1982-1994. Paper presented at 34th CSA Annual Conference, Kingston Jamaica, .


    • Verrest, H. J. L. M. (2008). Paramaribo: People, Space and Change in the 20th Century. Paper presented at 33rd CSA Annual Conference, San Andrés Isla, Colombia, .


    • Verrest, H. J. L. M. (participant) (11-10-2005). Co-organiser AMIDSt/CERES workshop, Amsterdam. Social capital and organizations: How to deal with it in your research (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Verrest, H. J. L. M. (participant) (11-3-2005). Co-organiser seminar, Augustine. Poverty and statistics in Trinidad and Tobago, Centre for Gender and Development Studies (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).


    • Verrest, H. J. L. M. (2007). Home-based economic activities and Caribbean urban livelihoods: vulneralbility, ambition and impact in Paramaribo and Port of Spain [details] 
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library  or the Pure staff  of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure  to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool  to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    • No ancillary activities