(Photo by Merijn Soeters)
I work as Assistant Professor in Urban Planning and Conflict at the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Amsterdam. I combine my background in Anthropology and Political Science in the study of Urban Conflicts and Planning for Inclusive Cities.
I am interested in the everyday struggle of people to voice their story in the public debate and develop forms of protest that contest public policies. As a political scientist I am interested in the policy programs that seek to intervene in communities. Therefore my research is an ethnographic endeavour into the experiences of people living in the city and practices of professionals planning and governing the city. In my fieldwork I follow, observe, and participate in the practices of local politicians, policy-makers, welfare professionals, and residents in different communities over the world.
My academic ambition is to understand public, political, and everyday life in the city and relate these to broader sociological questions like identity, inequality, conflict, and planning.
Previous to my position in urban planning, I worked as a lecturer in Conflict Studies at the department of Political Science and as postdoctoral researcher for the Public Mediation Program at the University of Amsterdam.
My PhD thesis, entitled ‘Negotiating urban conflict. Conflict as opportunity for urban democracy (Cum Laude), was awarded with the Van Poelje price for best dissertation in Public Policy in 2015. In my dissertation I argue that episodes of urban conflict can serve as a lens into the challenges that society presents to citizens and to those responsible for governance. Struggles around representation, inequality, belonging, and governance are negotiated among citizens, professionals, and policy practitioners at the street-level of urban neighborhoods. Therefore, the interactions between stakeholders in situations of conflict can function as laboratories to understand how citizenship is performed through informal and unconventional street-level practices. My study is the result of four years of ethnographic case study research in which I immersed myself into the dramas of people who inhabit, govern, or practice in the urban environment. The study reveals if, when, how, and where episodes of urban conflict can be understood as moments of opportunity for ‘negotiated democracy’. My work deals with questions like inequality, public policy, planning, ethnic diversity, multiculturalism, race, public participation, and welfare. My aim is to make these issues tangible through the everyday stories of life in urban environments.
One of my cahiers about rethinking the practices of governance in the urban context, Rethinking Maakbaarheid (in Dutch):
Another cahier about the opportunities of the ‘informal city’ and tensions around an urban square, Een Inkijkje in de inzichtbare Stad (in Dutch):
Another cahier about a local crisis in diverse Eastern-Amsterdam that challenged the multicultural society, De Tasjesdief (in Dutch):