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
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 www.bluespaceCaribbean.com).
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 www.bluespaceCaribbean.com). 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 ( www.citiesprogramme.com).I am a board member of Stichting Vista, and advisor to the Johan Ferrier Fonds (www.johanferrierfonds.nl).
I teach within the master programs International Development Studies, and Human Geography and well as in the research master program International Development Studies.
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.
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:
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:
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
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.
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.