PhD on Managing Public Space

Are you willing to explore fundamental issues of a strategic-integrated approach of managing public space? We seek a PhD candidate on the topic “Managing Public Space”.

While an extensive academic debate about planning and designing public space takes place in spatial planning and urban design, the management of public space is a hitherto widely neglected topic in the academic debate. At the same time, management of public space can play a key role in the complex challenges and transitions in cities and regions. There is a need in society for an effective management of public space.

Urban and rural areas face major transitions such as circularity, energy transition, climate adaptation or digitalization. At the same time, many public assets are about to be modernized and refurbished or changed due to their lifecycles. This offers windows of opportunity to deal with the transitions. Therefore, approaches that go beyond the existing pragmatic and operational approaches are necessary for managing public space.

Can a strategic-integrated approach to the management of public space offer new perspectives? In other words, the academic community need to turn proactively towards managing public space and embrace it as an academic and societal challenge of future public space in cities, villages and rural areas.

This PhD project will address this need by exploring fundamental issues of a strategic-integrated approach of managing public space, such as spatial scales and time horizons of an integral-strategic management of public space, modes of governance for such a management, context-dependency of managing public space or societal effects of public space. This covers a wide range of aspects crossing many disciplines.

This position is allocated at the Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning (LSP) group. Do you want to know more about our work at the Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning? Check out our page with news, recent publications and projects.


To strengthen our team you should:

  • have a master’s degree in urban and environmental management, spatial planning, urbanism, landscape architecture, civil engineering, or other relevant discipline and have demonstrated skill to conduct research;
  • be curious, creative, independent and have innovative ideas;
  • have excellent organizational (time management), connecting and communication skills (networking with academic scientists of various disciplines as well as with representatives of stakeholders);
  • have interest in both fundamental and applied aspects of the project;
  • be able to conduct interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research;
  • be able to conduct empirical fieldwork in the Netherlands (fluent Dutch is required), proficient in the English language, oral and written;
  • experiences with Living Labs or other co-creative processes are an advantage;
  • collaborate and actively contribute to the association Managing Public Space (www.managing to support the development of an academic research and teaching programme.

In addition you should meet all the entry requirements of the WUR PhD programme.


You will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.
The gross salary for the first year is € 2.395,- per month rising to € 3.061,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreement (scale P). This is based on a full working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project (4 years total) if you perform well.
In addition, we offer:

  • 8% holiday allowance;
  • a structural year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
  • flexible working hours and holidays can possibly be determined in consultation so that an optimal balance between work and private life is possible;
  • excellent pension plan through ABP;
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes;
  • a flexible working time: the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra and thereby to build up extra leave;
  • a choice model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan;
  • a lively workplace where you can easily make contacts and where many activities take place on the Wageningen Campus. A place where education, research and business are represented;
  • use the sports facilities on campus.

Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with our internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for personal initiative in a learning environment. With us you get a versatile job in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere, with students and staff from over 100 countries around the world.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 15th consecutive time.


Wageningen University & Research

The mission of our University is to explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life. Nine specialized research institutes from the Wageningen Research Foundation and Wageningen University have joined forces to help answer the most important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With approximately 30 locations, 6.500 employees, and 12.000 students, it is one of the leading organizations in its domain worldwide. A coordinated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of the outstanding approach of Wageningen.

The Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning Cluster at Wageningen University addresses environmental challenges such as climate mitigation and adaptation, nature conservation, and quality of life by means of planning and design. We are a diverse and interdisciplinary team covering a broad range of disciplines and employing a wide range of scientific approaches. We educate a growing number of Bachelor, Master and PhD students to become knowledgeable, reflective, and creative landscape architects and planners.


For more information about this function you can contact Thomas Hartmann, Associate Professor, telephone +31(0)618351491 or by e-mail:

For more information about the procedure you can contact Edgar Tijhuis, corporate recruiter, e-mail:

Do you want to apply?
This can be done directly via the application button at the vacancy on our website so that we can process your personal data with your permission.
This vacancy is open up to and including the 2nd of August, 2020. The first job interviews will take place on 13 August and 24 August 2020.

Equal opportunities employer
We are an employer that offers equal opportunities. We are happy to receive applications from all suitably qualified people regardless of race, gender, functional impairment, religion / belief, sexual orientation or age.
We believe that a diverse and inclusive working environment makes us a more relevant, competitive and resilient organization. Click here for more information about working at WUR with a functional impairment.

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