The MSc Socio-Spatial Planning (SSP) program follows the research agenda of the Department of Spatial Planning and Environment as well as the Faculty of Spatial Sciences in more general. This research agenda focuses on the relationships between wellbeing of people (with different identity markers, backgrounds, values, wishes), institutional innovation (improved governance and policy making), and spatial transformation (changing landscapes, cities and regions).
The emphasis in Socio-Spatial Planning related research lies on the social side of planning. ‘Ordinary’ people and local communities are often neglected by planners and the focus tends to be more dominantly on policy, governance, strategic planning and legal frameworks. Research conducted by researchers active in Socio-Spatial Planning program aims to understand the ‘HUMAN FACTOR’' in spatial planning: why different groups of people embrace, contest or reject spatial changes? how do they take the lead in shaping their own environment and how to align such initiatives with more formal plan- and policy-making? how do spatial interventions influence different stakeholders and their well-being? and how to engage society effectively in spatial transformations?
The core ambitions of the research that informs the teaching program of Master SSP are to:
- Contribute to planning for liveable, resilient and resourceful communities and places
- Be able to create coalitions and stimulate collaboration among different stakeholders
- Design policy solutions for an inclusive and sustainable society
Some examples of recent research topics of the researchers closely connected tothe program of Socio-Spatial Planning include:
- Liveability, resilience and resourceful communities (prof. Ina Horlings, dr. Elen-Maarja Trell)
- (Spatial) justice and urban (in)equality (dr. Barend Wind)
- Civic initiatives and self-governance (prof. Gert de Roo, dr. Ward Rauws, dr. Elen-Maarja Trell)
- Design-dialogues and vision-building (dr. Terry van Dijk)
- Place-based development, place-branding and leadership (prof. Ina Horlings)
- Age-friendly neighbourhoods (dr. Ward Rauws)
- Coalition building and collaborative planning (prof. Ina Horlings)
The articles written on the above topics by the staff members are often used as direct input for lectures and as key literature for the core courses. The Department also facilitates connecting Master thesis research to the ongoing research of staff members.