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Planning Complex Cities mentors 2022/23

(in alphabetical order)


Ana Petrović

(available as a second mentor in 2022/23 graduation period)

Ana-PetrovićDr. Ana Petrović is an Assistant Professor in the Urban Studies group and a human geographer by training. She is interested in the relationships between the social and the spatial, for example how sociospatial inequalities develop over time within and between cities, how cities are structured and organised starting from very small neighbourhoods up to regional scales. Within and beyond these themes, her methodological interests include quantitative (spatial) analysis of large longitudinal and geocoded data. During her PhD, which she obtained at TU Delft, she developed multiscale measures of population and used them to study the effects on spatial contexts at multiple spatial scales on people’s income.


Caroline Newton

caroline_schabloneDr. Caroline Newton is an architect, urban planner and political scientist. Her work and research focuses on the socio-spatial dimensions of design and critical spatial practices in Europe and the Global South. Her research interests are centered on the interrelationship between social processes and the built environment. Caroline obtained a PhD in Geography at the University of Leuven. After the completion of the PhD Caroline has worked on (informal) dwelling and participatory upgrading, the challenge of design and planning in post-colonial environments and also on the methodological and pedagogical challenges of a ‘designerly way of knowledge production’. She has written on integrating real and virtual words and their role for architecture and architectural education. She believes a strong connection between interdisciplinary academic work and the aim to be politically engaged and thus actually contribute to a more social and environmental just world is what should be the cornerstone of academic work. In 2019 Caroline received the Van Eesteren fellowship at the TU Delft, where she is an associate professor. The fellowship allows her to put spatial justice on the planning and design agenda and will generate insight in and understanding of how informality (in is different forms) impacts social justice and how we can revaluate vulnerability as a core aspect of a (more) human and just urban world.

Students Caroline has supervised:


Diego Andres Sepulveda Carmona

(available as a second mentor in 2022/23 graduation period)

Diego-SepulvedaDr. Diego Sepulveda is a designer and a regional planner. He is an active researcher in the Planning complex cities and Delta urbanism research groups. He also works as guest professor at several institutions. His main research topics are strategies to integrate the development of marginalized areas into metropolisation processes, with an emphasis on design and planning perspectives and tools. His main interest is the relation between societal processes and spatial planning, particularly in emerging and fast development regions. Diego is experienced in infrastructural development, socio-spatial integration (with special interest into fast transformative economies and the integration of the changing social dynamics) and interrelation between planning and spatial structures. Lately his work focuses on how to integrate climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies within a developing context. Diego’s work has been part of several studies, conducted by academia, multilateral agencies (such as the World Bank and the Inter-American Developing Bank) and governmental institutions. His publications are diverse. The New Urban Questions (IFOU 2010) is among the most significant ones.

Students Diego has supervised:


Dominic Stead

(available as a second mentor in 2022/23 graduation period)

Dominic-SteadDr. Dominic Stead has expertise in urban and regional policies and their governance, particularly in relation to urban transport issues and climate change. He is interested in processes of policy transfer and learning between administrations, and in comparing and understanding the reasons why urban and regional policies and governance arrangements differ between territories.

Students that Dominic has supervised:


Gregory Bracken

BRACKEN-290x290_CCDr. Ir. Gregory Bracken is an assistant professor at the chair of Spatial Planning and Strategy. He got his Dip.Arch. and B.Sc.Arch. at the Dublin Institute of Technology. He then worked in Southeast Asia for 10 years before coming to TU Delft to do an M.Sc.Arch. (with a specialisation in urbanism). He then went on to do a Ph.D. in TU Delft, subsequently working at the Architecture Theory section before moving to Urbanism in 2016. While at TU Delft he co-founded the Footprint journal, and from 2009-2015 he was a research fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) Leiden where he set up (with Dr. Manon Ossewijer) the Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA) with a 1.2 million grant from Marie Curie Actions. Gregory is author or editor of 16 books, including the popular Walking Tour series of architectural guides to Asian cities, as well as The Shanghai Alleyway House: A Vanishing Urban Vernacular (translated into Chinese), Asian Cities: Colonial to Global, and Aspects of Urbanization in China: Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou.

Students Gregory has supervised:


Lei QU

QU_leiDr. Lei QU is an Assistant Professor at the section of Spatial Planning and Strategy. Her current research interests focus on liveable cities and integrated urban/regional development strategies, with particular emphasis on inclusive and participatory planning. Within such field of studies, she is especially interested in topics related to 1) urban regeneration and liveability in the context of migration and economic transition; 2) urban-rural integration and areas-in-between. In the past 5 years, she has been supervising graduation projects on, but not limited to, 1) revitalisation of deprived neighbourhoods such as urban villages, historical inner-city areas or post-war districts, where housing and public space could be used as tools to cultivate new economies and improve liveability for all. 2) revitalisation of peri-urban and rural areas in the context of mega-regional development- These projects seek for more balanced urban-rural relations in regions where megacities dominate investments.

Students Lei has supervised:


Maarten van Ham

(available as a second mentor in 2022/23 graduation period)

maarten_schabloneProf. dr. Maarten van Ham is Head of the Department of Urbanism and part of the Urban Studies group at the Department of Urbanism, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. The group investigates people-place relationships at different spatial scales, from neighbourhoods to cities to regions. Through its research it aims to better understand how neighbourhoods, cities and regions develop, how different spatial configurations and structures emerge (within and between cities), and how these configurations affect socioeconomic outcomes for people across spatial scales. Maarten’s own research focusses on the theme ‘urban inequalities & their effects’. Within this theme he aims to better understand the dynamics of urban inequalities and their spatial footprint in cities and regions, and how these spatial configurations of inequalities influence people. He investigates ethnic and socio-economic segregation in an international comparative framework and develops innovative multi-scalar measures of population, and alternative measures of segregation such as social frontiers, to improve our understanding of the impact of places on people.


Marcin Dąbrowski

Marcin-Dabrowsky-ROUNDDr. Marcin Dąbrowski is an Assistant Professor at the Chair of Spatial Planning and Strategy,  Department of Urbanism, TU Delft, where he conducts research in the fields of urban and regional planning as well as territorial governance. He has a background in political science and regional studies. His broader research interest spans across many topics related to the governance of territory including circular economy, energy transition, urban climate change adaptation and flood risk management, regional development policies, stakeholder engagement in planning, spatial justice, and the evolution of spatial planning systems in Europe. He has also published extensively on various aspects of EU Cohesion Policy and has a track record in research as part of large EU-funded consortia. Graduation students working with Marcin could consider aligning their thesis topics with research projects in which he was or still is involved, namely H2020 REPAiR and Interreg Europe WaVE (for more information on these projects, see page ‘research projects’). Moreover, Marcin would particularly welcome students interested in working on planning for resilience in the Greater Bay Area in China, which would allow for exploiting synergies with the ongoing research project on that topic bringing together TU Delft and South China University of Technology in Guangzhou.

Students Marcin has supervised:


Reinout Kleinhans

Reinout_KleinhansDr. Reinout Kleinhans is Associate Professor of Urban Regeneration and part of the Urban Studies section in the Department of Urbanism. He has a master degree in urban planning and a PhD degree in urban geography, with strong links to urban sociology. His research interests and expertise include urban regeneration, self-organisation, community entrepreneurship, citizen engagement, tactical urbanism, placemaking, democratic innovation and the use of digital participatory platforms for co-production between citizens and governments. He currently involved in an NWA project on ‘Doing Diversity’ in housing and community-based initiatives. Other research includes the role of community enterprises and spatial justice in local redevelopment approaches, particularly in urban contexts.

Students Reinout has supervised:


Roberto Rocco

roberto-rocco-green-shirt-2-2016-roundDr. Roberto Rocco  is a spatial planner, designer and researcher in planning theory, governance and sustainability at the Section of Spatial Planning and Strategy of the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). He has a diploma in architecture and planning by the University of São Paulo, a Master in spatial planning by the same university and holds a PhD by TU Delft. He has also a specialisation in spatial planning in developing countries by the Institut Français d’Urbanisme. Roberto has worked as a researcher at the University of Hertfordshire (UK) on a project investigating the relationship between design practice and academic research. His research interests include multi-level governance issues in regional planning and the emergence of complex networked city-regions, sustainability and spatial justice. A special focus lies on studies of metropolitan and regional governance of energy and water resources and the sustainability of these governance structures. Roberto is interested in concepts of spatial justice and the right to the city as crucial concepts that allow for a broader definition of planning tasks and for the emergence of new roles for planners in networked governance structures.

The study of urbanisation processes in the Global South has led to interest in informal urbanisation and the organisation of several events, including the URBAN THINKERS CAMPUS Education for the City We Need and the CONFRONTING INFORMALITY Symposium. Roberto is also one of the leaders of the AFRICA INITIATIVE at Bouwkunde.

He is responsible for courses on research methodology and planning and design studios and has published several articles on the subjects enumerated above. More information can be found here.

Students Roberto has supervised:


Rodrigo Viseu Cardoso

Rodrigo_cardoso_web01Dr. Rodrigo Cardoso  was trained as an architect and planner in Porto, Barcelona (MSc) and London (PhD) before joining TU Delft, where he works as Assistant Professor at the Urbanism department. Building on his interdisciplinary background, Rodrigo’s research focuses on the spatial, functional, social and political dimensions of metropolisation processes in urban regions, as well as in the distinctive features and challenges of second-tier cities and regions in Europe and North America. Rodrigo has recently started new projects with PhD candidates on second-tier port cities in Europe and second-tier city governance in China. Newer interests include urbanisation features beyond the framework of economic growth, focusing on health, wellbeing economics and human needs satisfaction. Rodrigo is involved in education at TU Delft as course coordinator (Urban Geography) and MSc mentor, and at the AMS Institute in Amsterdam, where he co-coordinates the Metropolitan Challenges course, in which students focus on understanding the challenges affecting metropolitan regions worldwide in depth and from different disciplinary perspectives. More information about Rodrigo’s work can be found here.

Students Rodrigo has supervised:


Thomas Verbeek

(available as a second mentor in 2022/23 graduation period)

Thomas_VerbeekDr. Thomas Verbeek is an Assistant Professor in the Urban Studies section. He was trained as a geographer and urban planner and obtained his PhD in Urbanism and Spatial Planning at Ghent University in 2017. In his dissertation Thomas sought to move beyond the lock-in of public health and urban planning by exploring new adaptive and co-evolutionary approaches to integrate environmental justice into planning practice. Afterwards Thomas moved to the UK, where he first worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Warwick (2017-2019) on the ERC Project “Toxic Expertise: Environmental Justice and the Global Petrochemical Industry”. In 2019 Thomas was awarded a three-year Leverhulme Fellowship which he took up at the University of Sheffield. In his fellowship he looked at the social justice of urban air pollution management, through a comparative case study of low emission zones in Brussels and London.

Thomas’ research has always focused on environment-society interactions, combining quantitative and qualitative techniques, often in collaboration with policymakers and civil society. Thomas is particularly interested in just sustainabilities and just transitions. His research agenda is centered on the challenge of developing and implementing policies and plans that improve our local environment and reduce our carbon footprint, without unfairly distributing the costs of those policies across the population and without excluding vulnerable populations from decision processes.


Verena Balz

Verena_BalzDr.ir. Verena Balz studied architecture in Berlin, Germany, and Chicago, US. She is Assistant Professor at Department of Urbanism, TU Delft, and was Deputy Professor (Vertretungsprofessorin) at the Chair of Regional Planning, B-TU Cottbus-Senftenberg, Germany. She is also an experienced urban and regional design professional who has participated in and conducted a broad range of urbanism projects of various scales and in several countries. Verena’s research experience is in spatial planning, territorial governance, and Cohesion policy in European countries, with a focus on the Netherlands, Germany, and other Central European countries. Her principle expertise is in the performances of ‘regional design’ in spatial planning and political decision-making. Verena is interested to mentors students who intend to use regional design to critically discuss regional planning and governance schemes, for the purpose of deliberation and good democratic decision-making. Over recent years she has also developed expertise in (irregular) migration and refugees in Europe.

Students Verena has supervised:


PhD researchers

Students in the Planning Complex Cities studio will receive additional support by PhD candidates at the Spatial Planning and Strategy section, Department of Urbanism, Delft University of Technology. These young researchers will share their general experience in building research proposals and conducting research, and provide specific expertise in case they share interests in topics with students.


Diwen Tan

Diwen_TanDiwen Tan is a PhD candidate at the Spatial Planning and Strategy section, Department of Urbanism, Delft University of Technology since 2021. Her current research project is focused on the neglected socio-ecological values in Chinese urban villages as lived spaces. Her research explores values extracted from the traditional culture and implicitly expressed in practices. She pursued an advanced M.Sc. in Human Settlements at KU Leuven in Belgium (graduating magna cum laude in 2020), where she obtained training in urban design, urban theory, urban studies, and philosophy of culture. She did a project of urban studies in Antwerpen Chinatown to discuss cultural diversity, applying the method of architectural ethnography. In her master thesis, she mapped and analysed the changing urban landscape via the lens of water infrastructure, to reimage Shenzhen city and inform the design on urban resilience. Diwen is also trained as a physicist and environmental geographer with particular interests in climate change adaptation and cultural landscape. She completed her B.Sc. in Physics at Hunan Normal University, China and M.Sc. in Sustainable Energy Systems at the University of Edinburgh, UK (with a thesis on life cycle analysis and marine energy). She then worked at the United Nations Environment Programme for six years, responsible for communication and project implementation in relation to the environmental and climate change issues in the Global South; for example, she had managed a GEF-funded project EbA South and worked intensively on ecosystem-based climate change adaptation at both community and national levels in Nepal, Mauritania, Seychelles, and China.


Lukas Höller

Lukas_HoellerLukas Höller holds a B.Eng. in Landscape Architecture from Weihenstephan‐Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences and finished my M.Sc. in Architecture, Urbanism and Building Sciences, within the Track of Urbanism at Delft University of Technology with Cum Laude in 2020. During his master thesis, he explored collaborative and imaginative planning approaches that focus on combined values and how this can help to achieve long‐term resilience and a sustainable and balanced coexistence of port and city actors within a shared Arctic territory in Northern Norway (see here). Since September 2021, he is working on his PhD research “Second‐tier Port Cities as Gateways to Healthy Territories” at the Delft University of Technology Urbanism Department, Section of Spatial Planning & Strategy. Lukas is interested in urban and territorial research and planning approaches, and focuses on looking into health, human-needs and planetary well-being in medium sized port cities along the Rhine. Furthermore, he is interested in the mapping of port city territories from a multidisciplinary and spatial-temporal perspective that goes beyond existing (mainly economic) modelling approaches. He is also part of the Leiden‐Delft‐Erasmus PortCityFutures research group where he is involved in several research and planning activities, such as working on a Port City Atlas, making podcasts and participating in core-team activities. For more information on his work, see his recent publication:

Höller, L. (2021). Porous Kirkenes: Crumbling Mining Town or Dynamic Port Cityscape? Urban Planning, 6(3), 197-209. https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v6i3.4105. Retrieved from: https://www.cogitatiopress.com/urbanplanning/article/view/4105


Yizhao Du

Yizhao_duYizhao Du graduated cum laude with an MSc in Architecture, Urbanism and Building Sciences at TU Delft in June 2021 (for his graduation project, see here). After having explored the field of urbanism for eight years, he constructed a comprehensive knowledge system, considering both, theoretical and practical aspects, and addressing issues including urban (and rural) sustainability, environmental technology, and regional planning. In 2019 he received the Ziqiangzhixing national scholarship for excellent university student, and in 2018 he was awarded the best price of the China Committee of Urban Planning Education. He has served as the chair-leader of the youth club in World Urban Planning Education Network (Shanghai, China) since November 2021, striving to build a communication platform for young scholars in the field of urbanism. As a PhD candidate, he focuses on regional development and secondary cities in China. His dissertation project investigates different aspects of regionalisation and governance in China to answer whether and how a cooperative regional framework can promote the socioeconomic transformation of Chinese secondary cities towards a sustainable regional system.


Alumni mentors

The below listed people have been engaged in mentoring Planning Complex Cities graduation students since 2010.

  • Akkelies van Nes
  • Ana Maria Fernandez Maldonado
  • Arie Romein
  • Evert Meijers
  • Francisco Colombo
  • Heleen Janssen
  • Igor T. M. Pessoa
  • Lidewij Tummers
  • Luiz De Carvalho Filho
  • Rachel Keeton
  • Remon Rooij
  • Stephen Read
  • Vincent Nadin
  • Wil Zonneveld

2 thoughts on “Mentors 2022/23

  1. Pingback: Graduation orientation – Spring 2017. | Planning Change: Complex Cities TU Delft

  2. Pingback: Next round! | Planning Complex Cities TU Delft

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