Hogeschool van Amsterdam

Urban Management

Dr. Stan Majoor

Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Stan Majoor (1977) is currently Professor in the coordination of urban issues and Scientific Director of the priority area ‘Urban Management’ at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. From 2008 till 2015 he was Assistant Professor in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Amsterdam, where he was also director of the bachelor program in urban and regional planning (2008-2012). He has been a visiting scholar at The University of Hong Kong (2007-2008) and RMIT University Melbourne (2014-2015). From 2010 onwards he has been appointed at the “Chair Leerhuis” from the Project Management Bureau of the Municipality of Amsterdam. Between 2013 and 2015 he was editor-in-chief of Rooilijn, a Dutch professional magazine on urban planning.

He holds a MSc (2001, cum laude) and PhD (2008) in Urban and Regional planning (University of Amsterdam) and a MSc Political Science (2001, cum laude, University of Amsterdam). He has been involved in several EU and NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) funded collaborative research projects, for example in JPI-Urban Europe (ApriLab project). He aquired successfully in the FAPESP, ESRC, NWO joint call for transnational collaborative research projects on a comparative study of self-built housing practices in the Netherlands and Brazil. Together with different academic and practice partners he recently acquired a 1.9 million euro funding for a multidisciplinry research program on self-organised urbanisation strategies (NWO-SURF)

Stan has a strong focus on university-practice exchange in his research work and dissemination that consists of more than 50 journal and book(chapter) publications. His activities with Rooilijn and the Project Management Bureau have also led to practitioner-oriented publications, exchanges and events, next to more fundamental academic publications. His research interest is particularly in the management of complexity and paradoxes in area development.

Savini, F., Boterman, W.R. , Van Gent, W.P.C., Majoor, S.J.H. (2016) Amsterdam in the 21st century: Geography, housing, spatial development and politics, Cities, 52, 103-113.

This city profile provides a multi-dimensional overview on the most recent social, economic, political and spatial changes in the city of Amsterdam. We map the social-geography of the city, discussing recent housing and spatial development policies as well as city-regional political dynamics. Today, the city of Amsterdam is more diverse than ever, both ethnically and socially. The social geography of Amsterdam shows a growing core–periphery divide that underlines important economic and cultural asymmetries. The tradition of public subsidies and regulated housing currently allows for state-led gentrification within inner city neighborhoods. Public support for homeownership is changing the balance between social, middle and high-end housing segments. Changes in the tradition of large-scale interventions and strong public planning are likewise occurring. In times of austerity, current projects focus on small-scale and piecemeal interventions particularly oriented to stimulate entrepreneurialism in selected urban areas and often relate to creative economies and sustainable development. Finally, underlying these trends is a new political landscape composed of upcoming liberal and progressive parties, which together challenge the political equilibriums in the city region


Majoor, S.J.H. and Schwartz, K. (2015). Instruments of urban governance. In: Gupta, J., Pfeffer, K, Verrest, H. and Ros-Tonen, M. (Eds.). Geographies of Urban Governance. Advanced theories, methods and practices (p. 109-126), Heidelberg: Springer.

Governance instruments are the operational tools of public policy. While the functionalist approach sees them as neutral tools aiming to solve problems, the political sociology approach considers them as a means to incorporate a specific representation of the issues that they seek to influence. We review different taxonomies of governance instruments and highlight a change in instruments used when moving from hierarchical government to network governance. The neighbourhood revitalization policy in the Netherlands and water supply in urban Uganda are used as examples to discuss potentials and limits of urban governance instruments. They show the importance of framing, governance complexity, geographic specifitie4s and implementation at different, often interrelated, scale levels. A further exploration of intelligent instruments is proposed for guiding extremely complex systems such as cities in a more organic manner.


Majoor, S.J.H. (2015). Resilient practices: A paradox-oriented approach for large-scale development projects. Town Planning Review, 86(3), p. 257-277.

Large-scale development projects are facing a period of change. The notion of resilience has recently been attracting attention from academics and policymakers who are trying to understand how complex systems can navigate a path through such changing times. The usefulness of this concept is critically explored by focusing on the management paradoxes found in these projects. We argue that the global economic crisis once again proved that resiliently managed large-scale development projects have to balance the equally present needs for flexibility and innovation with efficiency and reliability. Projects have to embrace these paradoxes as continuous, crucial, and even productive facts of organisational life. A set of cognitive and operational indicators on different levels of scale are formulated to conduct a pilot study, and guide further empirical research.


Majoor, S.J.H. (2015). Urban megaprojects in Crisis? Ørestad Copenhagen revisited. European Planning Studies, 23(12), 2497-2515.

Urban megaprojects that aim to attract and spatially accommodate (inter)national investment money have played a prominent role in urban policies in Europe in the last three decades. The 2007 global economic and real-estate crisis has disturbed the context in which contemporary projects are developed. Have projects been able to respond to these changing settings? We regard the management challenge that these projects face as the ambidextrous challenge of combining exploitative and explorative activities. In-depth fieldwork has been conducted on Ørestad in Copenhagen, a project that originated in the early 1990s. We analyse its pre- and post-crisis responses to this challenge and conclude that its particular new town development model has hampered its performance in this regard.


Savini, F., Majoor, S.J.H. and Salet, W.G.M. (2015). Urban peripheries, reflecting on politics and projects in Amsterdam, Milan and Paris. Environment and Planning C: Government and policy, 33(3), 457-474.

In this paper we question the political and financial drivers of urban development in the contemporary context of multiactor and multilevel governance. We focus on the processes that drive spatial planning and large-scale development projects in the inner periphery of three metropolitan areas: Amsterdam, Paris, and Milan. Peripheral development is conceptualized as the outcome of the realignment of three major sources of urban power: the national government, the core city, and large market investors. Early research has largely demonstrated how each of these elements influences metropolitan transformations, often separately, with special focus on economic logics of development. We propose to instead empirically investigate the political drivers of the changing relationship between these three powers. Focusing on three particular projects, we show how different spatial outcomes of peripheral development spring from a particular articulation of the relationship between the three sources of power. These relationships are pinned over electoral strategies of power consolidation, political confrontation between emerging parties, and their (dis)connections with business interests.


Savini, F., Majoor, S.J.H., and Salet, W.G.M. (2015). Dilemmas of planning: intervention, regulation, and investment. Planning Theory, 14(3), p. 296-315.

Planning through processes of “co-creation” has become a priority for practitioners, urban activists, and scientific researchers. However, urban development still shows a close instrumentalism on goal-specific tasks, means, and outcomes despite awareness that planning should enlarge possibilities for social change rather than constrain them. The article explores the dilemmas of planning agency in light of the contemporary need to open spaces for innovative practices. Planning is understood as a paradox; a structural tension between organization and spontaneity. The article provides a detailed profile of three specific dilemmas stemming from this condition. We distinguish and conceptually explore the dilemmas of intervention, regulation, and investment in current practices. The article provides a specific understanding of today’s planning dilemmas, exploring the key notions of “space and time” in the intervention dilemma, “material and procedural norms” in the regulation dilemma, and “risk and income” in the investment dilemma. We suggest that planning practice today needs to make sense of these dilemmas, navigating through their extremes to find new contextualized forms of synthesis.


5 January 2016

dr. S.J.H. Majoor (Stan)

Lector Coördinatie Grootstedelijke Vraagstukken

Tel: 0621156714
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