Prof.dr.ir. M.G. Elsinga

Professor of Housing Institutions & Governance - Department of OTB - Research for the Built Environment

Marja Elsinga is professor of Housing Institutions & Governance at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. She is leading the research programme “Housing in a changing society” and is supervising PhD-students in the Graduate School A+BE.

Housing is of key importance for societies. It drives the economy, is of key importance for social inclusion, for energy efficiency and is a key issue for urban and regional development in growing as well as declining areas. The global financial crisis had a huge impact on housing markets and with that on the economy, social inclusion and urban and regional development. Housing systems and welfare states are substantially changing and there is need for new housing solutions. For new solutions research is necessary, in particular comparative research, since countries can learn much from each other. “My goal is to put new housing challenges on the map in education, research and policy.”

Elsinga is an expert in comparative housing research and has years of experience in leading international and interdisciplinary teams. She is one of the leading persons in the Delft Comparative Housing research Expertise Centre.

She has more than 20 years of experience in contract research for the European Commission, Dutch central and local governments, the Flemish Expertise Centre for Housing, housing associations and lenders. She is also involved in practice and holds several positions in the field of housing relating to welfare such as the board of the Dutch union of tenants, the expert board for assessment of housing associations and the European Federation for Living. Moreover, she is regularly invited as (keynote) speaker at housing policy events. “Academic research and housing practice are unfortunately different worlds. Practitioners do not regularly read academic journals. Academics, on the other hand, are often not aware of the most recent developments in practice, in particular not in housing since in this field is changing rapidly since the financial crisis. I want to contribute to bridging this gap between academia and practice.”

Elsinga is supervising PhD students from several countries on housing-related topics. “Working with PhD-students is one of my favourite activities. These young people are full of new ideas and energy to find solutions for housing problems in their own country. I feel inspired by them.”

Elsinga is also teaching Bachelor students at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management of TU Delft and at the East China Normal University where she was appointed as a visiting professor. She will start a Master course on housing policy at the Tongji University in Shanghai in China. “It is inspiring to be in booming Shanghai and to learn about the Shanghai housing system and the concerns of policy makers. There I teach Western housing policy experiences and try to translate these into suggestions for creating inclusive and sustainable housing systems for China as well as Europe.”

She holds several editorial positions: she is editor-in-chief of the Dutch Journal for Housing, associate editor-in-chief of the Encyclopaedia of Housing and Home and editor of Current Urban Studies. “Publishing and editing is the core of academic work. I try to find a balance between being active in academic and professional journals.”

Elsinga holds the chair of the board of DEWIS (Delft Women in Science) that supports TU Delft to be an inspiring environment with good career perspectives for male as well as female scientists. “In my opinion a gender balance in TU Delft is good for women, men and science.”

Education, publications and secondary employment

"Logics on affordable housing are so different in different parts of the world, it is so useful to learn from this!"
M.G. Elsinga 

Marja Elsinga