Teaching has always been an important part of my career, and something which I highly value. As researchers, I believe we have a duty to convey our knowledge to others and that being a successful teacher is part of what it takes to be a successful academic. I have always been passionate about urban geography and this is something which I try to convey as a teacher.
I believe that one of the great advantages of urban geography is that we can see the processes which we study in our daily lives. We all experience cities and our own observations are very useful in our understanding the theoretical and conceptual issues within geography. This is one aspect which I try to impart to my students: geography happens all around us, and we can learn so much through watching and observing the world around us.
My lectures are very visual, and contain many photos and images to help illustrate concepts and ideas.
I find it rewarding to supervise students and enjoy working with highly motivated individuals. I have high expectations for my students and try to stimulate them to reach their full potential. During meetings, I ask students questions designed to stimulate their own ideas and give them the tools to reach their own conclusions. I focus on constructive feedback, setting goals which are challenging, measurable and attainable.
I teach courses within urban geography at the Bachelor's and Master's level in both English and Dutch
World Cities and Urban Systems
3rd year bachelor's course - course coordinator
English and Dutch
In this course, we focus on definitions and characteristics of world cities, how they are related to each other, how forces such as globalisation and deindustrialisation are impacting different types of cities, and what it is like to live in world cities for different groups of people.
Introduction to Human Geography
University College Utrecht,
This course gives a general introduction to different themes within human geography. It discusses a variety of topics including urban geography, economic geography, development studies, and geopolitics. It deals with specific elements such as the change from Fordist to post-Fordist economic systems, the geographies of production and consumption and reading the landscape.
Het Gebruik van de Stad (The use of the city)
1st year bachelor's course
In this first year introductory urban geography course, I run a seminar entitled 'De Gescheiden Stad' (The Divided City). During these seminars, we learn about different spatial, economic and social divisions within the city. I encourage students to observe these divisions in their daily life. The seminar culminates with student research projects where they must conduct field work, write a report and present their findings to their fellow students.
Urban Reflections in Practice: Scotland Field Trip
Master's course - course coordinator
This is an excursion course which I run, together with my colleague Jan Prillwitz, for students in our urban geography master's program. We visit Edinburgh and Glasgow, two very disparate cities. During the excursion, we meet with guests from local government, universities, housing associations, transport agencies, the private sector and more. Students also take responsibility for the content of the course, designing and leading walking tours of different neighbourhoods. In 2010 we had 16 participants; in 2011 there were 28 students taking part in this excursion.
New Field Trip Course: Toronto and Detroit
In April, 2013, I will be leading a group of Urban Geography Master's students to Toronto and Detroit. This trip replaces the Scotland excursion which I have run for the past three years. This course consists of lectures and seminars dealing with different aspects of North American cities. This gives students the background to fully understand and interpret what we see in Toronto and Detroit. Students must work in groups to prepare a walking tour of a Toronto neighbourhood. These tours give students the chance to research and discuss a specific neighbourhood and issues within it. In addition to these student-led tours, we have presentations, tours and discussions led by local academics, artists, developers and others from Toronto and Detroit.
Master's thesis supervisor
English and Dutch
I currently supervise seven master's students with our one-year urban geography and two-year research master's in human geography and planning programs. Those interested in pursuing research with me in any of my research topics are welcome to get in touch.
Contemporary cities: challenges and opportunities
Utrecht University Summer School
This is a summer school course for the Faculty of Geosciences. It is aimed at an international audience of upper-year bachelor's students and takes place in early July.
Many of my colleagues contribute their knowledge and expertise in this course by dealing with topics such as city marketing, urban mobility, social mixing, and the city in film among others. The course gives a good snapshot of some of the research being conducted within our department.
If you are interested in attending a summer school course in the future, I would be happy to discuss the possibilities with you.
Below is a small excerpt from the course introduction:
On the one hand, cities are economic engines and centres of innovation and culture. They attract people to live, work and study. They are where new ideas emerge, where capital accumulates and where trends in culture, lifestyle and entertainment begin. On the other hand, cities are also concentrations of poverty, social problems, unemployment. They must also deal with issues of pollution, congestion and affordability. While the benefits of urban life are plentiful, these challenges continue to grow. The aim of this two week course is to familiarise students with the major issues confronting European and North American cities of the 21st century and the various ways in which these challenges are being addressed.
We will examine a wide variety of urban issues, including:
· Housing and different forms of gentrification
· Poverty, segregation and urban inequality
· The growth and decline of cities
· Social mixing
· Transport and mobility
· Urban regeneration
· The marketing and branding of cities
The lectures in this course will focus on theoretical and conceptual understandings of these issues, as well as specific European and North American examples to illustrate these themes more specifically. These lectures will be led by faculty from the Department of Human Geography and Planning. We will also conduct excursions to