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Dr J.J. (Jannes) Willems

Assistant professor in Urban Planning
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
GPIO : Urban Planning

Visiting address
  • Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
  • Room number: C4.15
Postal address
  • Postbus 15629
    1001 NC Amsterdam
Contact details
  • Profile

    Jannes Willems is an assistant professor in urban planning at the University of Amsterdam. He conducts research in the fields of urban climate adaptation, water management and infrastructure re-development. In his research, he examines how water and infrastructure managers initiate new collaborations with citizens, companies and other governments to jointly address challenges such as climate change. To this end, Jannes is using amongst others institutional analysis and discourse analysis. Jannes teaches in the bachelor programmes Human Geography & Planning and Future Planet Studies. He is one of the editors of the Dutch professional magazine Rooilijn and the European online platform In Planning. He also co-hosts the Dutch podcast Onder Planologen.

    Previously, he was affiliated with Erasmus University Rotterdam as a postdoctoral researcher (department of Public Administration & Sociology). He was involved in the European Interreg project BEGIN and the KIMA research programme Marker Wadden. In 2019, he has started with Jitske van Popering a NWO SURF research into the platforms Amsterdam Rainproof and Water Sensitive Rotterdam. Jannes defended his dissertation in at the University of Groningen (Department of Spatial Planning & Environment) in 2018. His dissertation entailed institutional change in the Dutch waterway sector, in the light of replacing major ageing infrastructure assets.

    Jannes obtained his Research Master in Regional Studies (cum laude) and his Bachelor Environmental & Infrastructure Planning at the University of Groningen. In 2015, he was a 'visiting student' at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (Environmental Policymaking & Planning group). During his master, he conducted fieldwork in Brazil as part of a research project of the Federal Universidade de Pará.

    Expertise and research fields

    • Spatial planning, water infrastructure, climate adaptation, institutional analysis, infrastructure planning and management

    Relevant links

  • Research

    Research methods

    Qualitative methods: interviews, focusgroups, workshops, participatory observation

    Current research projects

    The role of water authorities in creating inclusive and climate-proof water infrastructures
    Urban Food Commons: exploring the implications for the City of Amsterdam when (re-)considering food as a commons. 

    Research grants & honours

    2022 Centre for Urban Studies seed grant: “Urban Food Commons”
    2020 Contract research with three infrastructure providers: “Invitational Asset Management: improving participation in the renewal and renovation of infrastructure assets”
    2019 NWO SURF Pop Up grant: “The New Normal: Mainstreaming urban climate adaptation in Amsterdam and Rotterdam” 

  • Teaching & PhD Supervision


    • Bachelor's Human Geography & Planning: coordinator of Introduction to Spatial Planning, Urban Dynamics: Amsterdam in context, and SPIEC – seminar.
    • Bachelor's Future Planet Studies: coordinator of Introduction Spatial Planning and Food and the City, and bachelor thesis supervision.
    • Master's Urban and Regional Planning: Climate-proofing of Cities 

    PhD supervision

    • Fernando Schrupp Rivero: “Earthworks in the Bolivian Amazonia: Vivir Bien, Flood Mitigation, and the Ichilo-Mamoré Waterway” (with Prof Maria Kaika)
  • Publications


    • Willems, J. J., & Giezen, M. (2022). Understanding the institutional work of boundary objects in climate-proofing cities: The case of Amsterdam Rainproof. Urban Climate, 44, [101222]. [details]
    • Willems, J. J., Ellen, M., Veerbeek, W., Ashley, R., & van Buuren, A. (2022). Policy transfer in urban water management: evidence from ten BEGIN cities. In Routledge Handbook of Urban Water Governance Routledge.
    • Willems, J. J., Kuitert, L., & Van Buuren, A. (2022). Policy integration in urban living labs: Delivering multi-functional blue-green infrastructure in Antwerp, Dordrecht, and Gothenburg. Environmental Policy and Governance.
    • Willems, J. J., van Popering-Verkerk, J., & van Eck, L. (2022). How boundary objects facilitate local climate adaptation networks: the cases of Amsterdam Rainproof and Water Sensitive Rotterdam. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management.


    • Brorström, S., & Willems, J. (2021). Getting integrative urban regeneration strategies done: Insights from Antwerp and Gothenburg. International Review of Administrative Sciences.
    • IJff, S., Veraart, J., Willems, J. J., Duijn, M., van den Berg, N., & Stouten, M. (2021). Innovatieve governance voor Building with Nature: Lessen uit het Marker Wadden-project. Landschap, 2021(1).
    • Willems, J. J., Duijn, M., IJff, S., Veraart, J., Nuesink, N., Ellen, G-J., & van Buuren, A. (2021). The lifecycle of public value creation: eroding public values in the Dutch Marker Wadden project. Public Money & Management.
    • Willems, J. J., Kenyon, A., Sharp, L., & Molenveld, A. (2021). How actors are (dis)integrating policy agendas for multi-functional blue and green infrastructure projects on the ground. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 23(1), 84.




    • Willems, J. J. (2018). Beyond maintenance: Emerging discourses on waterway renewal in the Netherlands. Transport Policy, 72, 1-12.
    • Willems, J. J., Busscher, T., Woltjer, J., & Arts, J. (2018). Co-creating value through renewing waterway networks: A transaction-cost perspective. Journal of Transport Geography, 69, 26-35.
    • Willems, J. J., Busscher, T., Woltjer, J., & Arts, J. (2018). Planning for Waterway Renewal: Balancing Institutional Reproduction and Institutional Change. Planning Theory and Practice, 19(5), 678-697.
    • Willems, J. J., Busscher, T., van den Brink, M., & Arts, J. (2018). Anticipating water infrastructure renewal: A framing perspective on organizational learning in public agencies. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 36(6), 1088-1108.


    • Gilliard, L., Wenner, F., Lamker, C. W., Van den Berghe, K., & Willems, J. J. (2017). Potentials of Entrepreneurial Thinking for Planning: Debates during the 11th AESOP Young Academics Conference. DISP, 53(3), 94-100.



    • Willems, J. J., Klanker, G., de Boer, H., Saïd, M., & de Graaff, T. (2022). Meerwaarde uit vervangings- en renovatieprojecten. O.T.A.R., 103(4), 42-45.



    • IJff, S., Willems, J., & van den Berg, N. (2020). Een uniek project, een unieke samenwerking. De governance van Marker Wadden ontleed: Rapportage MEP Adaptieve Governance Marker Wadden. Deltares.
    • Van Popering-Verkerk, J., Willems, J. J., Van Eck, L., Goedbloed, D., & Jacobs, J. (2020). Grensobjecten voor succesvolle stedelijke klimaatadaptatie: Leren van de grensobjecten Water Sensitive Rotterdam en Amsterdam Rainproof. Water Governance, 2020(3), 30-36. [3].
    • Willems, J. J., Ashley, R., Veerbeek, W., van Herk, S., & Kelder, E. (2020). Social innovations for delivering Blue and Green Infrastructure: connecting multiple benefits, multiple stakeholders, and multiple disciplines: Policy brief from the Interreg North Sea project BEGIN.




    Media appearance


    • Willems, J. J. (2018). Navigating waterway renewal: Actor-centred institutional perspectives on the planning of ageing waterways in the Netherlands. University of Groningen.
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    No ancillary activities