Spatial Planning and Strategy

Visiting address
Julianalaan 134
Architecture and the Built Environment

    Research areas

  • JA Political science (General) - spatial planning, governance, regional planning, regional resources planning, spatial justice, democracy, social sustainability, socio-spatial justice, citizenship, citizen engagement
  • HE Transportation and Communications - regional planning, TOD, regional resources , governance
  • JC Political theory - governance, democracy, rights theory, politics of urbanisation
  • H Social Sciences (General) - informal settlements, slum, citizenship, rights theory, urban struggles, slum upgrading, self-help, insurgent citienship, ethics, values in the built environment
  • NA Architecture - design
  • LB2300 Higher Education - research into practice, academic research in areas of design practice, academic research and connections with design, research methodology
  • G Geography (General) - economic geography, New Economic Geography, Economies of agglomeration, economies of urbanisation, NEG, public goods

Research interests

Minibio Roberto Rocco (updated 2019)

Associate Professor of Spatial Planning and Strategy, Department of Urbanism

I am a scholar committed to understanding the relationships between society and the production and governance of the built environment. This means that I investigate how actors and institutions from the public sector, the private sector and civic society interact in planning, designing, governing and inhabiting the built environment, both formally and informally. These basic but foundational ideas explain much of my actions as an educator and researcher.

I have a multidisciplinary background that includes design, spatial planning and urban/economic geography. This background is the result of a trajectory that started at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of the University of São Paulo, one of the highest ranked architecture and planning courses in Latin America and had stations at the Institut Français d’Urbanisme (later merged with l’Institut d’Urbanisme de Paris to form the new École d’Urbanisme de Paris), the University of Hertfordshire (UK) and finally TU Delft, where I have worked since 2004 (please, see my CV). Since obtaining my PhD at TU Delft in 2008, I have worked as an assistant professor for the chair Spatial Planning and Strategy, led by Professor Vincent Nadin.

I work in the intersection between spatial planning, design, governance and sustainability, understood in its three crucial dimensions: social, economic and environmental.

My view, following Campbell’s, is that spatial planning and design must engage with “two converging, yet distinct social movements: sustainability and social justice” (Campbell, 2013, p.75). The integration of sustainability and justice is the bedrock for long term, durable sustainability, especially when we consider that for sustainability to exist, its three essential components (environmental, social, and economic) must occur simultaneously (Larsen, 2012).

It is in this convergence that I see the future of spatial planning and my role in the Department of Urbanism. This gap must be urgently addressed, as inequity and unfairness in the distribution of burdens and benefits of development are widely recognised to undermine sustainability. The literature on socio-technical transitions is clear about the need to look at the socio-spatial relations where transitions take place. Most surprisingly, however, socio technical transitions to sustainability mostly fail to incorporate concepts of justice, democracy and redistribution, bedrocks of social sustainability, and focus solely on the environmental aspects of sustainability (Campbell, 2013).


  1. UvA (External organisation)

    Activity: MembershipMembership of committee

  2. Concepts of Spatial Justice & Implications for the Global South

    Activity: Talk or presentationTalk or presentation at a workshop, seminar, course or other meeting

  3. The Spatial Justice of Socio-Technical Transitions

    Activity: Talk or presentationTalk or presentation at a workshop, seminar, course or other meeting

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ID: 150436