I am human geographer by training, and specialized in urban issues in developing countries in an early phase of my studies. My main interests are urban poverty, urban environmental management, (participatory) urban governance, participatory budgeting, youth in cities, and ‘participatory action research’. All these themes came together in my PhD research ‘Of Dreams and Deeds: Community Based Environmental Management in Lima, Peru’ (1995-2000), which had a strong action research component. I worked with both youth groups, women’s groups and the neighbourhood organizations in participatory planning and design exercises to improve the environmental conditions in their neighbourhoods. This resulted in the foundation of Aynimundo, supporting community initiatives in peripheral districts in Lima.
Since 2001 I am assistant professor International Development Studies at the Department Geography, Planning and International Development Research (GPIO) at UvA, and senior researcher at the Governance for Inclusive Development (GID) Programme Group of the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR). As of June 2013 I am guest lecturer at UNESCO-IHE in the water governance Chairgroup. In the past I have worked at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS), at the Centre for Latin American Education and Documentation (CEDLA) and at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
I am currently adjunct-scientific coordinator of the EU 7th Framework Programme research project Chance2sustain (www.chance2sustain.eu) and co-responsible for workpackage 4, which focuses on urban water governance, participatory risk assessment and inclusive scenario building for climate change. Chance2Sustain is a research project examining how governments and citizens in Indian, South African, Peruvian and Brazilian 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.
I am director of the Research Master’s International Development Studies at the Graduate School of Social Sciences of the UvA, and teach courses on research methodology and urban resilience. In the past I have been teaching at both undergraduate and graduate level. This included courses on urban poverty alleviation, poverty and development, introduction to development studies, cities in the global and urban environmental management. I have led the curriculum development of the Master’s International Development Studies at the UvA, and participated in the curriculum development and teaching at the master’s programmes in Urban Environmental Management at the Universidad de Ingenería in Lima, the Universidad Nacional San Augustin in Arequipa and the Universidad Privada Antenor Orrego (Trujillo), partners in the NUFFIC funded programme PEGUP. In this programme I taught courses on urban environmental management, local agenda 21 processes, research methods and conducted thesis seminars.
The urban waterscapes in most cities in the Global South contrast starkly with the idealized portrayals of the modern networked city. In such a city one service provider delivers standardized and high-technology services to all inhabitants within the city boundaries. Rather, the prevailing urban waterscape is fragmented into a variety of diverse service configurations. These service modalities or configurations consist of different service provision activities (abstraction, treatment, distribution, storage), involve a variety of different actors in these different stages and are subject to a range of bureaucratic and socially-embedded institutions and social relations which shape behavior of the actors. State-led or regulated water utilities serve between 40% and 70% of the urban population (Nickson, 2002; Mwanza, 2005). Where water utilities in the global South do not provide services, the water market is fragmented into a large variety of small-scale water providers (Matshine et al., 2008), which operate for profit or for philanthropic reasons (Clark, 1995; Solo, 1999; Brinkerhoff, 2002; Kariuki and Schwartz, 2005; Batley, 2006). In describing this fragmentation of the water services sector Bakker (2003: 337) has used the analogy of an archipelagos of “spatially separated but linked ‘islands’ of networked supply in the urban fabric”.
The main overarching research objective is to explore how the urban waterscape is produced and transformed by focusing on the interaction of ecological, technological and social processes that shape this waterscape. For more information on the UNHIDE project see