Bas van Heur

Professor of Urban Studies

Professors Cosmopolis Centre for Urban Research Culture & Leisure Economy & Finance Migration & Diversity Politics & Policy Smart & ICT Sustainability
  • Current position Professor of Urban Studies
  • Contact Vrije Universiteit Brussel
    Faculty of Sciences and Bio-Engineering Sciences
    Department of Geography
    Pleinlaan 2
    Building F - Room 4.64
    BE-1050 Brussels
  • Phone +32 (0)2 629 3377
  • E-mail
  • Website

Office hours for students: Thursdays 14-15h during term time. Outside of term time, please send an e-mail to set an appointment.

Bas van Heur is professor of human geography and urban studies. He is director of the Cosmopolis Centre for Urban Research as well as the Brusssels Centre for Urban Studies, a university-wide centre for urban research that brings together research groups from various disciplines. He is also programme director of the 4Cities Master in Urban Studies (see: with students studying in Brussels, Vienna, Copenhagen and Madrid, and founding programme director of the Brussels-based Master in Urban Studies (see: in collaboration with the Université libre de Bruxelles.

His main research interest is in the politics of urban development and the analysis of urban development strategies and their effects. Theoretically, this has led to contributions on cultural (political) economy and regulation theory, urban laboratories and experimentation, innovation and the knowledge economy. His empirical work is quite diverse and includes research on the cultural and creative industries, migration and neighbourhood change, higher education and urban development, and smart city regions. Underlying this diversity is a consistent interest in how cities function and the ways in which state institutions at various scales (try to) regulate and govern social relations.

Current teaching

Sociale Geografie (6 ECTS, BSc Geografie, in Dutch)

Geographies of a Globalizing Europe (6 ECTS, MSc Geography, MSc Urban Studies, MSc 4Cities)

Urban (Social) Geography (6 ECTS, MSc Urban Studies, MSc 4Cities, MSc Stedenbouw en Ruimtelijke Planning)

Knowledge Economy and the City (3 ECTS, MSc Geography, MSc Urban Studies, MSc Stedenbouw en Ruimtelijke Planning)

Internship (15 ECTS, MSc Urban Studies)

Research Design and Methodology in Urban Studies (3 ECTS, MSc Urban Studies)

StadsSalonsUrbains (3 ECTS, MSc Urban Studies)

Research Seminar (3 ECTS, MSc Geography)

Excursion I and II (3+3 ECTS, MSc Urban Studies)

Excursion Abroad Social and Economic Geography (3 ECTS, MSc Geography)

Previous education

2008: PhD in Geography (magna cum laude), Department of Earth Sciences, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

2004: MA in Cultural History (cum laude), Faculty of Arts, Utrecht University, the Netherlands

2001: BA in Liberal Arts, Faculty of Arts, Utrecht University, the Netherlands

Previous positions

2008-2011: Postdoctoral researcher, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University, the Netherlands

2007: Research fellow, Center for Metropolitan Studies, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany

2005-2006: Lecturer, Department of Media and Communications, Goldsmiths College, University of London, United Kingdom

2004-2005: Lecturer, Institute of Media and Representation, Faculty of Arts, Utrecht University, the Netherlands

Key publications

Doreen Jakob and Bas van Heur (2015) Taking Matters Into Third Hands: Intermediaries and the Organization of the Creative Economy, Regional Studies 49(3): 357-361

Andrew Karvonen and Bas van Heur (2014) Urban Laboratories: Experiments in Reworking Cities, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 38(2), 379-392.

Bas van Heur, Loet Leydesdorff and Sally Wyatt (2013) Turning to Ontology in STS? Turning to STS through ‘Ontology’, Social Studies of Science, 43(3), 341-362.

Anne Lorentzen and Bas van Heur (eds.) (2011) Cultural Political Economy of Small Cities, Routledge

Bas van Heur (2010) Beyond Regulation: Towards a Cultural Political Economy of Complexity and Emergence, New Political Economy 15(3), 421-444