(Photo by Merijn Soeters)

I am Assistant Professor in Urban Politics and Planning. My work specializes in processes of urban governance, conflict, citizen participation, and in- and exclusion of marginalized groups. I am trained in Anthropology and Political Science. My research and teaching take an interdisciplinary and ethnographic approach to ‘planning for inclusive cities’.

I am interested in participatory planning and the interaction between top-down and bottom-up efforts to democratize urban development processes. I specifically look at the role of ‘informal politics’ as a crucial aspect of participation. To study how informality takes shape in both the Global North and South, my study takes a comparative approach across institutional contexts. My work contributes to debates on critical urban studies and interpretive policy analyses. I use ethnographic and storytelling methodologies that are embedded in the lived experience of stakeholders in the city and I am committed to valorise my results with and for stakeholders in field.

In am currently working on a project entitled ‘Strengthening democracy beyond ‘participation’: informal politics and inclusive urban development’ for which I received a talent grant (VENI) from the Dutch Research Council (NWO).

In 2020 I was Urban Citizen Fellow at The Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS/KNAW) and the municipality of Amsterdam with the project entitled “(Re)politicizing Participation. Making Amsterdam’s democracy more inclusive through protest and dissent”.

In 2020 I published an edited volume on interdisciplinary methodologies to study the city called “Seeing the City. Interdisciplinary Perspective on the Study of the Urban” together with Luca Bertolini  (Amsterdam University Press). In this volume we bring together a talented network of urban scholars and practitioners at the forefront of their fields. They offer hands-on methodological techniques and skills for data collection and analysis. Furthermore, they reveal honest and insightful reflections from behind the scenes and apply their methodologies to the city of Amsterdam. 

My PhD dissertation entitled ‘Negotiating urban conflict. Conflict as opportunity for urban democracy (Cum Laude), was awarded with the Van Poelje prize of best dissertation in Public Policy 2015. My work appeared in a wide array of academic and popular scientific journals. Furthermore, I serve on the editorial board of ‘Beleid en Maatschappij’ and ‘Tijdschrift voor Sociale Vraagstukken’.