Dr. E.J. (Evert) Meijers


Research Mission

I study urban and regional development from a multidisciplinary perspective, combining insights from urban planning, economic and urban geography, environmental studies, regional science, cultural geography and policy sciences. Multidisciplinarity is key to innovation and essential to fully understand the evolution of cities, regions and their spatial layout and spatial structure. Moreover, I consider it essential to establish a link between the way we spatially organise our cities and regions and their performance in terms of economic competitiveness, environmental sustainability and social well-being. Much of my research aims to provide empirical findings addressing this link and to translate these findings into empirically underpinned development strategies and spatial designs with a focus on promoting more competitive and attractive urban regions. Next to generating knowledge, I am also committed to its dissemination in order to make cities and regions better places to live and work. In doing so, I actively seek co-operation with communities, governments, and industry, and of course, with other scholars.


I have 15 years of research experience across a broad range of issues, including the following:

·         City networks/urban networks;

·         Urban systems;

·         Polycentricity;

·         Distributive and generative effects of infrastructure development;

·         Travel behaviour;

·         Smart cities

·         Cities and health;

·         Cities and energy-efficiency;

·         The fate and fortunes of small and medium-sized cities;

·         The geographical foundations of agglomeration economies;

·         Administrative reform and co-operation;

·         Cultural geography and territorial identities;

·         Integrated policy-making;

·         Regional policies and regional governance;

·         European, national, regional and metropolitan territorial development policies;

·         International comparative research on European metropolitan areas and their performance;

·         International benchmarking, lesson-drawing and policy transfer.


I would very much welcome co-operation with other scholars interested in these fields. I am also open to enquiries from new PhD students in these fields. Enquiries related to consultancy in the abovementioned areas would also be welcome.

Current Research

In May 2015 I was awarded the highly prestigious VIDI grant by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). This grant allows me to question the spatial dimension (or: geographical foundations) of agglomeration economies, thereby focusing on urbanisation economies. In spatial terms, agglomeration economies may perhaps not longer be considered a local and nodal phenomenon, but rather a regional and zonal phenomenon ('regional externality fields'), or take the shape of a network ('network externalities'). The grant covers the establishment of a small research group involving two PhD students and a postdoc, next to me being the PI. the project will run between 2015-2020. Achieving this grant makes me one of the few scholars in social sciences that  have received both the VENI and VIDI personal research grants and the first urban planner/urban geographer to receive the VIDI grant.

In co-operation with the Universiteit Gent (Prof. Witlox) and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Dr. Boussauw) two studies are being carried out for the Flemish government within the framework of the development of the new strategic spatial plan for Flanders. Those studies are aimed at exploring the presence of urban amenities and on spatial strategies to enhance the use of critical mass in Flanders.

I co-initiated and led the Delft team in the ‘NAPOLEON’-project, which was about “Networks, Agglomeration and Polycentric Metropolitan Areas: New Perspectives for improved Economic Performance”. This ‘Knowledge for Strong Cities’ (Kennis voor Krachtige Steden) project is funded by Platform31, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), as well as six major cities in the Netherlands (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Eindhoven, Groningen-Assen) and was carried out between april 2012 and september 2014. It involves co-operation between the universities of Utrecht, Delft, Ghent (BE) and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL). In this project, the network embeddedness of cities and regions is linked to economic performance.

I am also leading the TUDelft/OTB team in the ‘Planning for Energy Efficient Cities’ (PLEEC) project (2013-2015). Holistic knowledge about energy efficiency potentials in cities is far from complete. Currently, a variety of individual strategies and approaches by different stakeholders tackling separate key aspects hinders strategic energy efficiency planning. For this reason, the PLEEC project funded by the EU Seventh Framework Programme uses an integrative approach to achieve the sustainable, energy–efficient, smart city. By coordinating strategies and combining best practices, PLEEC will develop a general model for energy efficiency and sustainable city planning.

Urban Studies Foundation

In December 2015 I was elected as a board member of the UK-based Urban Studies Foundation (a charity). I devote much effort to reaching the Foundations objectives, which is to (1) advance academic research and education in the field of urban studies; and to (2) promote knowledge transfer, exchange and mobilisation in the field of urban studies. The Urban Studies Foundation owns the Urban Studies journal, one of the most prominent journals in the social sciences, and its revenues are used for a variety of funding programmes aimed at assisting urban scholars internationally. The Urban Studies Foundation awards several types of grants to outstanding scholars, such as PhD Studentships, Post-doctoral research awards (the flagship grants of the USF), International fellowship grants for scholars from the Global South, Senior Fellowship grants and also runs a Seminar Series competition. 

Please see:  www.urbanstudiesfoundation.org

Publications- Journal articles

My work has appeared in major international journals including:

- Built Environment (2x)

- Cities

- Environment and Planning A

- European Journal of Spatial Development

- European Planning Studies (3x)

- European Urban and Regional Studies

- Geografisk Tidsskrift/Danish Journal of Geography

- International Planning Studies

- Journal of Economic and Social Geography – TESG (2x)

- Journal of Transport Geography

- Planning Theory & Practice

- Regional Studies (3x)

- Scienze Regionali – Italian Journal of Regional Science

- Town Planning Review

- Transport Policy

- Urban Research and Practice

- Urban Studies (4x)


I am currently guest-editing a special issue of Papers in Regional Science on ‘Agglomeration economies: New perspectives’.

Publications - books

In 2015, a Dutch language book was published entitled 'De concurrentiepositie van Nederlandse steden: van agglomeratiekracht naar netwerkkracht'. It is published open access. It can be obtained free of charge on the website below:


I am also the author of three international books:


Meijers, E.J. (2007) Synergy in Polycentric Urban Regions: complementarity, organising capacity and critical mass . Amsterdam: IOS Press. (PhD thesis). Order through IOS Press, or download here.


Stead, D., Geerlings, H. and E.J. Meijers (Eds) (2004) Policy integration in practice, the integration of land use planning, transport and environmental policy-making in Denmark, England and German . Delft: Delft University Press Science. Order here.

Contributors: Stead, Geerlings, Meijers, Hedegaard-Sǿrensen, Nadin, Seaton, Schleicher-Tappeser, Greif, Schroeder.


Meijers, E.J., Romein, A. and E.C. Hoppenbrouwer (Eds) (2003) Planning polycentric urban regions in North West Europe, value, feasibility and design . Delft: Delft University Press Science. Order here or download here.

Contributors:  Meijers, Romein, Hoppenbrouwer, Albrechts, Lievois, Bailey, Turok, Schmitt, Knapp, Kunzmann.

Publications - Dutch journals

12) Hoogerbrugge, M.M., Meijers, E.J. and M. Burger (2014) Rotterdam in de Metropoolregio, Stedebouw & Ruimtelijke Ordening, 2014 (2).

11) Meijers, E.J., Hoogerbrugge, M.M. and K. Hollander (2013) Metropoolvorming in de praktijk, Rooilijn, 46(3), 200-205.

10) Spaans, M., Meijers, E.J. and E. Louw (2012) Winkelen en werken 'aan de overkant'; de ruimtelijke effecten van de Westerscheldetunnel, Geografie, 21(9), 24-25.

9) Meijers, E.J. (2011) Regionale identiteit: de vergeten dimensie bij bestuurlijke herindeling,  B en M, tijdschrift voor Beleid, Politiek en Maatschappij, 38 (1): 66-72.

8) Louw, E. & E.J. Meijers (2010) CPB onderschat robuustheid stedelijk systeem, ESB (Economisch Statistische Berichten), 95 (4596): 653-654.

7) Meijers, E.J. & M.J. Burger (2009) Randstad, Groot-Amsterdam of de Vleugels? Rooilijn, 41(6), 428-433.

6) Meijers, E.J. (2009) Book review: The Polycentric Metropolis Unpacked by Bart Lambregts, Stedebouw & Ruimtelijke Ordening, 04/2009, pp.61-62. 

5) Meijers, E.J. (2007) Book review: The Polycentric Metropolis; Learning from Mega-City Regions in Europe by Peter Hall and Kathy Pain (2006), Stedebouw & Ruimtelijke Ordening, 01/2007, pp. 61-62.

4) Meijers, E.J. (2006) Ruimtelijke spreiding van het hogeronderwijsaanbod: duplicatie of  complementariteit?, Tijdschrift voor Hoger Onderwijs, 24 (1), pp. 23-33.

3) Meijers, E.J. (2005) Spreiding van ziekenhuiszorg, Rooilijn, 38, pp. 403-407.

2) Meijers, E.J. (2005) Van polycentrische stedelijke regio naar stedelijk netwerk: Complementariteit in de Vlaamse Ruit en de Randstad, Ruimte en planning, 2005, pp. 8-21.

1) Meijers, E.J. (2002) Deltametropool gebaat bij duidelijker regionale identiteit Randstad, Geografie, 2002 (1): 34-36.

Education and work background

Currently I am associate professor in the faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at TU Delft.

I hold a doctorate (PhD) in Urban and Regional Studies from Delft University of Technology (awarded in 2007), a Masters degree (MA) in Town and Country Planning from the Radboud University Nijmegen (awarded in 1999) and a Bachelor degree (BA) in Policy Sciences, also from the Radboud University Nijmegen (awarded in 1996). In 2002 I completed a postgraduate research training in housing, urban and transportation studies at Delft University of Technology. From September 2011 until December 2012 I was seconded to the European Metropolitan network Institute (EMI; 0.5 fte) where I held the post of Programme Manager. In 2013 I was seconded to University College Roosevelt in Middelburg (part of Utrecht University) where I lectured Geography courses (0.3 fte). This Liberal Arts and Sciences College consistently ranks among the top higher education isntitutes in the Netherlands. 


I started my academic career as a junior researcher at the Spatial Planning department of the Radboud University Nijmegen in 1999. In 2000, I moved to Delft University of Technology to work for OTB Research Institute for the Built Environment. I have been a visiting researcher (2008) at ORKESTRA (the Basque Institute of Competitiveness) in San Sebastian, Spain, which is linked to Deusto University. From May-August 2010, I was a visiting scholar at the department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY (USA).


- Honoured with a ‘Fellowship of the Regional Studies Association’ (2012)

- Awarded the Dutch-Flemish ‘Young Planner Award’(2003)

Impact indicators

Per November 2015:


H-index:                                             11 (Scopus),     21 (Google Scholar Citations)

Number of citations:                    426 (Scopus),   2088 (Google Scholar)


According to Google Scholar, my number of citations puts me in the top 40 of most cited scholars in ‘urban studies’ worldwide and in the top 50 of most highly cited scholars in ‘urban planning’.

International keynotes and invited lectures


Invited speaker, International conference ‘Polycentric City Regions in Transformation – The Ruhr Agglomeration in International Perspective, Urbanism Research Network, Essen, Germany (06/2015)


Keynote, International Symposium on Urban Regeneration to mark the 30th year of Urban Planning and Design at University of Seoul, South Korea (11/2014)


Keynote, International Conference ‘The City-region perspective in a globalized world’, Aarhus University, Denmark (11/2014)


Invited panellist on the ‘Role of small and medium sized urban areas in common territorial development context’, an Open Days DG Regio side event organised by the Republic of Latvia, Brussels. (10/2014)


Invited guest lecture, Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung Halle (IWH), Halle, Germany (07/2013)


Keynote lecture, ESPON TOWN International workshop, Prague, Czech Republic (11/2012)


Opening speech, Workshop Open Days DG Regio/EMI on ‘Fostering a better governance of territorial integration of urban areas’, Brussels, Belgium (10/2012)


Invited guest lecture, Department of Applied Economics, University Valencia, Spain (09/2012)


Keynote speaker at ‘City Performance’ seminar, organised by the Dutch, Danish and Italian Embassies in London, UK (10/2011)


Invited lecture at Workshop ‘Governance of Metropolitan Regions: European and Global Experiences’, organised by EU Committee of the Regions and Forum of Federations, Brussels, Belgium (06/2011)


Keynote lecture, Seminar "Cities and their multi-functional and multi-scalar relations", Nordic working group on urban regions, Stockholm, Sweden (09/2009)


Invited guest lecture, Stadt- und Regionalwissemschaftliches Forschungsnetzwerk Ruhr (SURF) seminar series on Polycentricity in Metropolitan regions, Dortmund, Germany (04/2009)


Keynote lecture, Seminar ‘Smart cities’, organised by the city of Turku, Brussels, Belgium (11/2007)

Academic service


I have acted as reviewer for Cities; City & Community; DISP; Economic Geography; Environment & Planning A; European Journal of Spatial Development; European Urban and Regional Studies; Geoforum; Geografisk Tidsskrift - Danish Journal of Geography; Journal of Housing and the Built Environment; Journal of Urbanism; Land Use Policy; Papers in Regional Science; Planning Practice and Research; Regional Studies; Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie/Journal of Economic and Social Geography; Transactions in GIS; Urban Research and Practice; Urban Geography; Urban Studies. In addition, I was a reviewer for several European and American National Scientific Organisations.


Organisation events

Organiser of a special session on ‘Small and medium-sized cities as drivers of growth’ during the City Futures Conference III: “Cities as strategic places and players in a globalised world”, Paris, France, June 18-20 2014, organised by the European Urban Research Association (EURA) and the Urban Affairs Association (UAA).  (05/2014)


Initiator of the Delft bid to host the 2012 annual conference of the Regional Studies Association in May 2012 with over 400 participants. Member of the local organising committee and the scientific committee. (04/2012)


Initiator and co-organiser of the Research Network on ‘Regional Urban Systems and their Performance’, under the umbrella of the Regional Studies Association (RSA). (2009 – 2011)


Two-day international workshop on ‘Multinational Strategies, Networks and Regional Economic Development’, Organised as part of the RSA network (co-organisers Burger, Pennings and Van Oort). Location: Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands. (12/2011)


Two-day international workshop on  ‘Urban Systems 2.0: the spatial organization, structure, performance and planning of contemporary urban systems’, organised as part of the RSA network (co-organisers Burger and Van Oort). Location: Delft University of Technology, Netherlands. (09/2010)


Special session series ‘The Spatial Organisation of the Regional City’, organised as part of the RSA research network during the Association of American Geographers Annual Conference, Washington D.C. (04/2010)


Bekijk de publicaties in Pure
2017 - Urban Geography
2017 - Urban Geography
2016 - Metropolitan Challenges
2016 - Metropolitan Challenges
2018 - Urban Geography
2018 - Urban Geography
2019 - Urban Geography
2019 - Urban Geography