R.C. (Roberto) Rocco de Campos Pereira


Academic Profile

I was born in São Paulo, Brazil. I completed my secondary studies in Montreal, Canada at the  École Secondaire Jeanne Mance. In  1995, I graduated in  Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of São Paulo, with an analysis on how an increasingly globalised real estate market shaped the western area of São Paulo, with the help of the public sector. This research was supervised by Professor Vera Pallamin and is available only in Portuguese. 

 In  2003,  I obtained a scientific (research) Masters in Spatial Planning at the same university  with a thesis on urban management tools  in São Paulo (Cum Laude), supervised by Professor Sueli Schiffer. This work is only available in Portuguese. 

In  2008, I completed my  PhD at the Delft University of Technology, with a  dissertation on the location preferences of Advanced Producer Services in complex city regions. My PhD dissertation focused on economic geography rather than planning, but it gave me the tools to understand planning practice and research. Through my professional practice and academic endeavours, I became a specialist in regional planning and governance. Lately, issues of urban development in the Global South, informal urbanisation and spatial justice have become central to my research life. 

 Also in  2008, I became part of the Research into Practice research group:  The Experiential Knowledge project at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK, as a post-doc under the supervision of Professor Michael Biggs and Daniela Büchler. The research cluster was funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council and allowed me to research and understand issues of academic research in areas of creative (design) practice. This allowed me to develop a  Methodology course for Masters in Urbanism track of the TU Delft. 

I also teach courses at the European Master of Urbanism  EMU, Amsterdam Metropolitan Solutions and courses on  research methodology.


I am an Associate Professor of Spatial Planning and Strategy at the Department of Urbanism of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment of the TU Delft. 

I am a scholar committed to understanding the relationships between society and the production and governance of the built environment. This means that I investigate how actors and institutions from the public sector, the private sector and civic society interact in planning, designing, governing and inhabiting the built environment, both formally and informally. These basic but foundational ideas explain much of my actions as an educator and researcher.

I have a multidisciplinary background that includes design, spatial planning and urban/economic geography. This background is the result of a trajectory that started at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of the University of São Paulo, one of the highest ranked architecture and planning courses in Latin America and had stations at the Institut Français d’Urbanisme (later merged with l’Institut d’Urbanisme de Paris to form the new École d’Urbanisme de Paris), the University of Hertfordshire (UK) and finally TU Delft, where I have worked since 2004 (please, see my CV). Since obtaining my PhD at TU Delft in 2008, I have worked as an assistant professor for the chair Spatial Planning and Strategy, led by Professor Vincent Nadin

I work in the intersection between spatial planning, design, governance and sustainability, understood in its three crucial dimensions: social, economic and environmental. 

My view, following Campbell’s, is that spatial planning and design must engage with “two converging, yet distinct social movements: sustainability and social justice” (Campbell, 2013, p.75). The integration of sustainability and justice is the bedrock for long term, durable sustainability, especially when we consider that for sustainability to exist, its three essential components (environmental, social, and economic) must occur simultaneously (Larsen, 2012). 

It is in this convergence that I see the future of spatial planning and my role in the Department of Urbanism. This gap must be urgently addressed, as inequity and unfairness in the distribution of burdens and benefits of development are widely recognised to undermine sustainability. The literature on socio-technical transitions is clear about the need to look at the socio-spatial relations where transitions take place. Most surprisingly, however, socio technical transitions to sustainability mostly fail to incorporate concepts of justice, democracy and redistribution, bedrocks of social sustainability, and focus solely on the environmental aspects of sustainability (Campbell, 2013). 

The scale and the scope of the transition strategies needed to achieve sustainability demands immediate action from universities to educate future managers, planners and designers of transition strategies that are also spatial strategies. Spatial planning as a discipline and practice has largely ignored the discussion on socio-technical transitions, and there is scope for better integration between the two fields (Coenen, Benneworth, & Truffer, 2012).

In short, much of my research and teaching tries to consider ways of integrating socio-spatial justice and sustainability.


UNION FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN: Working Gourp on Urban Regeneration Action Plan (project leader)

The Union for the Mediterranean is an intergovernmental institution bringing together 43 countries (EU countries plus all countries bordering the Mediterranean, except for Syria), to promote dialogue and cooperation in the Euro-Mediterranean region. The UfM Working Group on Urban Regeneration, in partnership with member states, will develop an Action Plan on Urban Regeneration and a project pipeline under the UfM Urban Agenda of 2017. TU Delft (SPS) is the lead knowledge partner in this process, in charge of coordinating research that will ground the Action Plan.  The Action Plan aims to promote integrated, sustainable, fair and inclusive urban regeneration and development across the Mediterranean region as a means to foster human development, economic prosperity, political stability and overall sustainability.  The key frameworks for the action plan are: example projects, performance indicators, regional convergence criteria, financial strategy, citizen engagement, and capacity building. The key areas of action for integrated urban planning focus on: 1. Informal settlements and deprived neighbourhoods as focus points for the creation of inclusive cities and regions. 2. Former brownfields and railway sites as focus points for urban regeneration, and area re-development. 3. Heritage and tourism as drivers of economic prosperity. 4. Port-areas, port-cities, and their hinterlands as drivers of sustainable economic prosperity. Besides coordinating the writing of the action plan, TU Delft will deliver a series of events, short capacity building courses and a summer school on urban development around the Mediterranean, with the objective of gathering a community of academics, policy makers, and students from around the region who will be future leaders for positive change in the Mediterranean basin. TU Delft’s participation is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MinBuZa).  More information: ufmsecretariat.org/what-we-do/transport-urban-development/


The COHESIFY project funded by the Horizon2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation is investigating whether people in Europe are aware of the EU’s Regional Policy programmes or projects in their regions and in how far they identify with the EU. In particular, the project investigates how, on the one hand, (1) the ways in which the funding is used and its results communicated, and, on the other hand, (2) the characteristics of the regions where it is used (territorial, socio-economic, institutional), affect the ways in which citizens perceive the EU.

For two years, a consortium of 8 partner universities across Europe and 2 SMEs – among them a team from the TU Delft’s Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment (Urbanism and OTB) – conducted multi-disciplinary research on the topic. TU Delft COHESIFY team: Marcin Dąbrowski, Ana Maria Fernandez Maldonado, Bardia Mashhoodi (Chair of Environmental Technology & Design), Prof. Vincent Nadin, Roberto Rocco, Marjolein Spaans (OTB), Dominic Stead, Prof. Wil Zonneveld. 



Peer-reviewed journal articles

BALLEGOIJEN, J. V. & ROCCO, R. 2013. The ideologies of informality: Informal urbanization in the architectural and planning discourses. Third World Quarterly, 34, 1794-1810.

PLIJTER, E. B., van der VOORDT, T. J. M., & ROCCO, R. 2014. Managing the workplace in a globalized world: the role of national culture in workplace management, Facilities, 32 (13/14), 744-760.

ROCCO, R. 2016. “Policy Frameworks for Energy Transition in England: Challenges in a Former Industrial City.” Journal of Settlements and Spatial Planning 5(Special Issue on Planning for Resource Efficient Cities ): 41-52.

ROCCO, R., BIGGS, M., & BUCHLER, D. 2011. The academicization of the arts and the challenge of research methods training: a European experience. International Journal of Technology and Design Education.

ROCCO, R., GONÇALVES, F. M., & ROYER, L. 2019. [forthcoming]. Characterization of Spatial Planning in Brazil: The Right to the City in theory and Practice. Planning Practice and Research, 11(11).

WANDL, A., et al. 2016. “Towards sustainable territories-in-between: a multidimensional typology of open spaces in Europe.” Planning Practice and Research 32(1): 55-84.

Edited books

ROCCO, R. (Ed.) 2018. Jane Jacobs is still here:  Jane Jacobs 100, her legacy and relevance for the 21st century. Delft: Delft University of Technology.

ROCCO, R., & BALLEGOIJEN, J. v. (Eds.). 2018. The Routledge Handbook on Informal Urbanization. London, New York: Routledge.

ROCCO, R., & SILVA, S. d. (Eds.). 2018. Cities and Citizenship, Conference of the Netherlands Association of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Delft: Delft University of Technology.

PhD Dissertation

ROCCO, R. 2008. An Urban Geography of Globalisation: New Urban Structures in the Age of Hyper-Connectivity, Delft, IFoU.

Book chapters

ROCCO, R. 2017. Planning for Rights: Bewildered young planners in Brazil, in T. Tasan-Kok and M. Oranje (Eds.), From student to urban planner: Contemporary ethical challenges and reflections of a young practitioner. New York, Routledge.

ROCCO, R. 2012. An urban geography of knowledge-intensive service firms: the case of São Paulo In: GEENHUIZEN, M. V. & NIJKAMP, P. (Eds.), The Knowledge City, Social and Policy Perspectives. Cheltenham, Edward Elgar.

ROCCO, R. 2006. Foreign Direct Investment and Regional Growth: The Role of FDI in the Tertiary Sector in Triggering Development. IN HOEVEN, F. V. D. & ROSEMANN, J. (Eds.) Urban Transformations and Sustainability: Progress of Research Issues in Urbanism 2005. Delft, DUP/ IOS Press.

ROCCO, R. 2006. Economic Flexibilization and Denationalisation in Brazil During the 1990s. IN HOGENBOOM, B. & JILBERTO, A. F. (Eds.) Big Business on the Rise: Conglomerates and Economic Groups in Developing Countries and Transition Economies under Globalisation. London, Routledge.

ROCCO, R. 2005. Reason, Capital and Urban Space: The New Role for Urban Planning in Triggering Societal Change. In HULSBERGEN, E., KLAASEN, I. & KRIENS, I. (Eds.) Shifting Sense: Looking Back to the Future in Spatial Planning. Amsterdam, Techne Press.

2008 - Regional Strategies & Territorial Governance
2008 - Design & Strategy
2010 - Research & Design Methodology for Urbanism
2010 - Thesis Plan
2010 - Graduation Lab Urbanism
2010 - R&D Studio: Analysis and Design of Urban Form
2011 - NeXTGEN Research Methods
2011 - NeXTGEN Research Paper
2011 - NeXTGEN Research Skills
2009 - Research & Design Methodology for Urbanism
2009 - Research & Design Methodology for Urbanism
2011 - Thesis Plan
2011 - Research & Design Methodology for Urbanism
2011 - Graduation Orientation
2011 - Thesis Plan
2011 - Urban Region Networks Studio
2011 - NeXTGEN Research Study
2012 - Thesis Plan
2012 - Graduation Orientation
2015 - Smart infrastructure and mobility (IED)
2013 - Research & Design Methodology for Urbanism
2013 - Urban Region Networks Studio
2012 - Urban Region Networks Studio
2015 - Smart infrastructure and mobility (IED)
2012 - Research & Design Methodology for Urbanism
2014 - Urban Region Networks Studio
2015 - Research & Design Methodology for Urbanism
2015 - Urban Region Networks Studio
2014 - Research & Design Methodology for Urbanism
2014 - Smart infrastructure and mobility (IED)
2016 - Urban Region Networks Studio
2017 - Research & Design Methodology for Urbanism
2017 - CMSI Lecture Series and Review Paper
2017 - Urban Region Networks Studio
2017 - Urban Region Networks Studio
2017 - Research & Design Methodology for Urbanism
2017 - Research & Design Methodology for Urbanism
2019 - CMSI Lecture Series and Review Paper
2018 - Research & Design Methodology for Urbanism
2018 - Research & Design Methodology for Urbanism
2018 - Research & Design Methodology for Urbanism
2018 - Urban Region Networks Studio
2018 - Urban Region Networks Studio
2019 - Urban Region Networks Studio
2019 - Urban Region Networks Studio
2019 - Urban Region Networks Studio
2019 - Theories of Urbanism
2018 - Urban Region Networks Studio
2019 - Research & Design Methodology for Urbanism
2019 - Research & Design Methodology for Urbanism
2019 - Research & Design Methodology for Urbanism
ancillary activities
Geen nevenwerkzaamheden -

2018-06-15 - 2020-01-01