Urban Studies

Urban Studies investigates people-place relationships at different spatial scales, from neighbourhoods to cities to regions. Through our research we aim to better understand how neighbourhoods, cities and regions develop, and how different spatial configurations and structures emerge (within and between cities), and how these configurations affect people across the life course. The multi-level interaction between people and places is central in our research. We investigate how the urban context affects individuals, and we investigate how people influence the socio-spatial structures around them. A better understanding of these people-place interactions is crucial for the design and planning of cities and regions, and for the design of spatial policies that contribute to the quality of places.

The research in Urban Studies is multi-disciplinary and empirical in nature, using both qualitative and quantitative research methods, with a strong emphasis on the use of very large longitudinal register data sets and advanced statistical techniques. Our teaching on all levels is strongly interwoven with our research; our students integrate empirical research and design activities in the context of existing, real-life settings and problems, in co-operation with professionals and citizens. Our research contributes to the design of spatial development strategies to optimise the spatial organisation of neighbourhoods, cities and regions to increase social well-being, economic competitiveness, and social and environmental sustainability.

Our research on people-place interactions concentrates on three topics which are organized around three spatial scales and the interactions between these scales: within neighbourhoods and between people; within cities; and between cities and regions:

  1. Citizens and Daily Living Environments
  2. Causes of Urban Inequalities & Their Consequences
  3. Urban Systems & Urban Dynamics.

Dr. Reinout Kleinhans

Dr. Evert Meijers

Dr. Heleen Janssen


Karin Visser