Research output: Two research projects, two special issues, two articles, and new prospects

Research output: Two research projects, two special issues, two articles, and new prospects

Two research projects (DIVERCITIES and PARCOUR) that I took a leading role are completed in the last few years. Time to harvest. Both projects went over the complexities of urban governance though studying two completely different issue areas and by deploying different research methods and approaches: the former on governance of urban diversity, and the latter on contractual urban governance. DIVERCITIES project is completed a while ago (2015) but we are still producing publications and leading discussions in the field of governing urban diversity. Within that framework Mike Raco and myself put together a collection of articles in a special issue which is recently published at European Urban and Regional Studies under the title “Governing urban diversity: Multi-scalar representations, local contexts, dissonant narratives”. In our editorial introduction Mike and I clarified our approach to urban diversity, and emphasized the lack of evidence-based research on how representations of diversity are mobilised and implemented by institutions of governance operating at multiple scales and how these narratives relate to each other. The special issue aims to fill the gap by providing research outcomes from the DIVERCITIES project in order provide a clear understanding of how diversity is understood, operationalised and dealt with at different scales of policy-making. The collection contains four articles namely:

Saeys, A., Van Puymbroeck, N., Albeda, Y., Oosterlynck, S., & Verschraegen, G. (2019). From multicultural to diversity policies: Tracing the demise of group          representation and recognition in a local urban context. European Urban and Regional Studies26(3), 239–253.

Angelucci, A., Marzorati, R., & Barberis, E. (2019). The (mis)recognition of diversity in Italy between policy and practice: The case of Milan. European Urban and Regional Studies, 26(3), 254–267.

Yenigun, O., & Eraydin, A. (2019). Governing urban diversity in Istanbul: Pragmatic and non-discriminatory solutions of governance initiatives in response to politicisation of diversity. European Urban and Regional Studies, 26(3), 268–282.

Escafré-Dublet, A., & Lelévrier, C. (2019). Governing diversity without naming it: An analysis of neighbourhood policies in Paris. European Urban and Regional Studies26(3), 283–296.

Moreover, Sara Ozogul and myself published a recent article based on our research findings in Toronto at diSP-The Planning Review journal. In this paper we linked wider structuring forces, particularly those connected to neoliberal shifts in spatial planning and governance to “place-making” from a governance point of view. Sara recently completed her PhD under my supervision and is working as a post-doc researcher within the framework of our new research project WHIG. Full reference to our paper is: Özogul, S., & Tasan-Kok, T. (2018). Exploring Transformative Place-Making within the Comprehensive Spatial Governance of Toronto. disP-The Planning Review, 54(4), 59-73. You can read the paper here.

DIVERCITIES project produced many more publications as it was a large-scale EU funded project with 14 partner countries in the consortium. You can see more publications made by other partners in this project here

PARCOUR project was completed just last year and we had some publications immediately after completing this project. I was the PI of this project, which was on contracts which are increasingly used as planning tools to regulate the actions of public, private, and civil actors involved in urban regeneration. Martijn van den Hurk worked as a post-doc researcher and project manager, and after a careful (detective-like) fieldwork to collect contractual information, co-authored some publications with me and others. In this project we argued that there are important implications of contractual planning for sustainable urban development, public accountability, and the public interest at large and we conducted a comparative research in the Netherlands, UK and Brazil. Among many dissemination activities our most recent one is a theme issue on Complex planning landscapes: regimes, actors, instruments and discourses of contractual urban development, which was published by European Planning Studies in March 2019. This special issue collects our main findings from the project and provides a collection of articles that contribute to a better understanding of the complex dynamics of property-led planning and urban governance. In this collection, we did not only provide empirical evidence to illustrate the sophisticated regimes, actors, instruments and discourses involved in it, but also offered new ways to understand private sector involvement in public planning. Rob Atkinson and Maria Lucia Refinetti Martins joined me for the editorial which you can read here. The EPS Team issue contained 6 articles which you can see below:

Tuna Tasan-Kok, Rob Atkinson & Maria Lucia Refinetti Martins (2019) Complex planning landscapes: regimes, actors, instruments and discourses of contractual urban development, European Planning Studies, 27:6, 1059-1063,

Mike Raco, Nicola Livingstone & Daniel Durrant (2019) Seeing like an investor: urban development planning, financialisation, and investors’ perceptions of London as an investment space, European Planning Studies, 27:6, 1064-1082,

Rob Atkinson, Andrew Tallon & David Williams (2019) Governing urban regeneration in the UK: a case of ‘variegated neoliberalism’ in action?, European Planning Studies, 27:6, 1083-1106, (

Tuna Tasan-Kok, Martijn van den Hurk, Sara Özogul & Sofia Bittencourt (2019) Changing public accountability mechanisms in the governance of Dutch urban regeneration, European Planning Studies, 27:6, 1107-1128, (

Maria Lucia Refinetti Martins & Alvaro Luis dos Santos Pereira (2019) Urban Regeneration in the Brazilian urban policy agenda, European Planning Studies, 27:6, 1129-1145, (

Willem K. Korthals Altes (2019) Multiple land use planning for living places and investments spaces, European Planning Studies, 27:6, 1146-1158, (

Among these, paper that I co-authored with the members of the Amsterdam team on Changing public accountability mechanisms in the governance of Dutch urban regeneration, presented part of our research results. Dutch urban regeneration has demonstrated changing governance principles and dynamics in the last three decades. Representing instrumental and institutional measures, we connect accountability mechanisms to these changes and argue that they ‘co-exist’ in multiple forms across different contexts. This article embeds this evolution in wider theoretical discussions on the changing relationships between public and private sector actors in urban governance relative to the changing role of the state, and it addresses questions on who can be held accountable, and to what extent, when public sector actors are increasingly retreating from regulatory practices while private sector actors play increasingly prominent roles. You can read more here:

Although I will keep working on the findings of these projects and publishing, I am super excited to start the fieldwork of the WHIG project, which examines the impact of contemporary investment flows in major European cities and the governance  arrangements and public policy instruments that are designed to govern them. We will mainly study the property markets, especially dealing with the residential property production in Amsterdam, London and Paris to investigate how the actors, processes and institutions change in the governance of cities due to financialization dynamics. More to follow…

Awarded by the ORA (Open Research Area for the Social Sciences) funds for a new research project

Awarded by the ORA (Open Research Area for the Social Sciences) funds for a new research project

Thrilled with the news that our research proposal What Is Governed in Cities: Residential Investment Landscapes and the Governance and Regulation of Housing Production is awarded by prestigious ORA funds, a European scheme in which the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), British Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and French Agence Nationale de la Recherche(ANR) participate. As a consortium lead by Prof.Dr. Mike Raco (UCL) with the contribution of myself and Prof.Dr.Patrick Le Gales (Sciences Po, Paris) we will explore the complex governance landscapes created by property investment markets in Amsterdam, London and Paris for the next 3 years.

Appointed as professor of Urban Governance and Planning at the University of Amsterdam

Honoured and thrilled with my professorship appointment at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Proudly, I’m one of the 100 women in the Netherlands (and of 19 in Amsterdam) who are promoted in 2018 for professorship, awarded through special funds initiated by former Minister of Education Jet Bussemaker. I have been working at UvA more than two years now, following several exciting positions and appointments I held in the Netherlands, Belgium and Turkey. As of February 2018 I will hold the Chair of Urban Planning and Governance at Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences at Department of Human Geography, Urban Planning and International Development. I am immensely grateful and more motivated than ever !

New urban leadership in the era of de-globalisation?

Between 9-12 October 2017 European Commission headquarters hosted a series of activities within the framework of the European Week of Regions and Cities as an annual event devoted to discuss contemporary challenges and opportunities of cities and regions. I was invited to give a talk by Regional Science Association in an interesting session on new urban leadership, chaired by Prof. Andrew Beer, University of South Australia, along with Prof. Markku Sotarauta of University of Tampere and Dr. Igor Calzada of University of Oxford. Igor, in his passionate talk covering the recent referendum on Catalonian independence and turmoil in Spain invited the policy makers to focus on the process of voicing democratic regional representation. Markku, using metaphors of football and Santa Claus, explained how entrepreneurial leadership may give places new identitiy. My stand point was to invite new urban leaders to focus on constructive diversity policy, especially at the local level in cities, neighbourhoods and communities. Based on DIVERCITIES project’s outcomes collected in the Handbook for Governing Hyper-diverse Cities we recently published, I invited the new urban leaders to aware of policy outcomes we elaborated in the Handbook to deal with diversity in cities in the era of fear and paranoia:

More information on this event can be seen at

Consensus hunters? Exploring the role of planners in the era of post-politics

I have recently co-authored an article with Dr. Esin Ozdemir, who have been visiting TUDelft as a TUBITAK post-doc fellow for a year while I was still working there. The article, which is published by Urban Studies, explores the meaning of “post-politics” in planning practice, especially taking the angle of the planning professionals/practitioners. Post-political literature, which aims to conceptualize the crisis of representative democracy, is very critical on the idea of ‘consensus-building’. Based on qualitative research data, our article argues that post-political scholars overlook the potential of consensus-seeking, and very statically defining ‘consensus’ as a tool for exclusionary practices and the agency of planners. We followed a more constructive approach to consensus-building as our research shows that it is a dynamic and sensitive process. We interviewed practicing planners in Amsterdam and learn from their experiences that in the highly institutionalised Dutch planning system consensus-building does not necessarily prevent effective voicing of disagreement. In fact, planners could facilitate consensus through accommodative roles that address disagreement by taking an adaptive, proactive and more human stance.

To know more please read our article, which is published as Open Access by Urban Studies.

We are organising a special session at AAG Annual Meeting in New Orleans

We are organising a special session at AAG Annual Meeting in New Orleans

CFP Session at AAG Conference 2018, New Orleans

New Investment Landscapes and Contemporary Urban Development: Exploring the Social Relations of the Real Estate Industry


Mike Raco, Nicola Livingstone (Bartlett School of Planning, University College London), and Tuna Taşan-Kok  (University of Amsterdam)


Fainstein’s detailed work on ‘The City Builders’ (1994) clearly defined property developers in the 1990s as the main agents of change within processes of urban development. The position of these actors, shaped by the global circulation of capital, has become more dynamic, and their identities more liquid and complex over time. The ‘social relations’ especially between developers and investors, and their relational positions in the real estate industry, have changed rapidly especially after the crises of 2008. Within the dynamism of the real estate industry, the variety, type, and purpose of market actors across the investment and development sectors has been both adjusting and transforming.


This Call for Papers invites contributions that explore the politics and practices of contemporary urban development with a focus on the real estate industry.  Our working hypothesis is that much of the critical literature on urban development, and many of the policy frameworks that shape planning systems, characterize the real estate and investment sector in a simplified way.  They are often presented, implicitly or explicitly, as a unified interest with a clear subjectivity built around: ‘fast’ returns from investment decisions; a lack of ethical concern with broader public interests; outlooks dominated by the conversion of diverse places into high-return, single-use investment spaces; and a bullying and aggressive approach towards citizens and government authorities who seek to disrupt their programmes and projects.


We call for papers that critically engage with Campbell et al.’s (2014) argument that ‘the view of real estate markets in much critical analysis is very one-dimensional, assuming an inevitability about the nature of development outcomes…researchers and practitioners should develop much more sophisticated understanding of the pressures and priorities of developers and their investors’. Moreover, under conditions of contemporary globalization we are also seeing the emergence of new investment landscapes underpinned by a plurality of institutions and actors.  Projects are now funded by complex investment vehicles with finance sourced through Sovereign Wealth Funds, private family-centred interests, foundations, charities, or even public sector authorities (including local governments and quangos).  There is thus no one ‘developer’ type and yet ‘despite their status as the drivers and coordinators of the property development process, relatively little is known about the perspectives, actions and strategies of property developers’ (Henneberry and Parris, 2013: p.242).


In this session we therefore call for conceptual and empirical papers that examine the diverse social relations of the property development sector.  Proposed papers should address one or more of the following themes or topics:


  • The diversity of property developers and the increasing complexity of property sector actors;
  • The form and character of investment landscapes that fuel urban development projects in cities;
  • Conceptualisations of the variety, type, and functions of the property development and investment sectors and the institutional landscapes of finance;
  • Explorations of the ethics of property development and their influence on projects and practices;
  • The modes of regulation and governance that are used to shape the activities of investors and their effectiveness and influence.


Please email enquiries and abstracts (250 words) to Mike Raco ( by October 13. Authors will be notified of acceptance by October 20, and must register for the conference and submit their abstracts through the AAG website by the October 25 deadline to be added to the paper session.