Jan Fransen

Lead Expert | Assistant Professor Urban Economic Development and Resilience

Email address
+31 10 408 9841

Jan Fransen (PhD and MA in development studies) is Lead Expert and Assistant Professor in Urban Economic Development and Resilience. He is the former Deputy Director and Head of Education & Training of IHS. He coordinates research on smart and resilient cities at the Erasmus Vital Cities and Citizens research initiative, is a guest researcher on urban resilience at ISS, is a member of the advisory committee of the Africa Research Institute in Leiden, and is visiting scholar at POLIS University in Albania. In a previous position, he worked for the International Labour Organisation (ILO) of the United Nations based in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Dr Fransen has over 25 years of experience in the field of local economic development and resilience, with a particular interest in urban resilience, community-based organisations, small firm development, informality, clustering, innovation systems, global value chains and institutional economics. He presently works on various studies on urban resilience in Rotterdam, The Hague, Nairobi and internationally. Jan co-supervises PhD students, lectures in various master programmes and co-coordinates short courses and a MOOC on Sustainable Local Economic Development. Dr Fransen has completed a wide range of research assignments, consultancies, training and has held various positions including team leader, senior technical advisor, principal researcher and trainer. He has carried out assignments for the World Bank, European Commission, United Nations, NGO’s such as Cordaid and several national, regional and local governments worldwide. He has long and short-term working experience in over 20 countries, including Albania, China, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Netherlands, Namibia, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  


Fransen, J, van Dijk, MP and Edelenbos J, (eds) Forthcoming. Urban Planning, Management and Governance in Emerging Economies: Paradigm Shifts. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited: Cheltenham.

Fransen, J., Ochoa Peralta, D., Calzada Olvera, B. and Edelenbos. J., 2021. The emergence of Urban Community Resilience Initiatives during the COVID-19 pandemic: An international exploratory study, European Journal of Development Research.

Fransen, J. and Ochoa Peralta, D., 2020. Transformation towards community resilience: new urban visions, MONU #33 Special Issue on Pandemic Urbanism, pp. 78-81.

Fransen, J., 2020. Lock-in and New Path Development of China Commodity City: The Role of Policies. Forum for Social Economics (pp. 1-16). Routledge.

Gomez, G.M., Chawla, S. and Fransen, J., 2019. Exploring entrepreneurial ecosystems within the informal economy with a multifactor framework. In: M.N. Iftikhar,J. Justice and D. Audretsch, Urban Studies on Entrepreneurship, Springer

Fransen, J. & Knorringa, P. (2018) Learning and Upgrading of Craft Exporters at the Interface of Global Value Chains and Innovation Systems. The European Journal of Development Research: 1-28. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/s41287-018-0167-y

Fransen, J. (2016) ‘Crafting Innovations. The evolving institutional regimes of handicraft exporters in emerging economies’, ISS: Den Haag.

Fransen, J. and A.H.J. Helmsing (2016) ‘Absorptive capacity as a mediator: innovation of handicraft exports in Yogyakarta, Indonesia’, Tijdschrift van Economische en Sociale Geografie: details forthcoming. DOI: 10.1111/tesg.12212 (online version available, awaiting printing).

Fransen, J. and A.H.J. Helmsing (2016) ‘Breaching the barriers: the segmented business and innovation system of handicraft exports in Cape Town’, Development Southern Africa 33(4): 486-501.

Fransen J. and P.H.L. Gaul (2016) ‘Absorptive Capacity and Local Networking of Home-Based Enterprises in ‘Kampong Cyber’, Yogyakarta, Indonesia’, in: G.M. Gomez and P. Knorringa (eds.). Local Governance, Economic Development and Institutions. Springer.

Fransen, J., 2014. Promoting cluster development, Kasongan pottery cluster, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, p. 76. In: Luis Carvalho; Egon de Haas and Hazem Galal (eds.) [et al.] iUrban : innovative city strategies for sustainable competitiveness : summary report, Rotterdam, iUrban

Fransen, J, 2013, Innovation in SMEs : the case of home accessories in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, (IHS working paper ; 27) Rotterdam, Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS), iv, 45 p..

Fransen, J., 2012, Transições urbanas em desequilíbrio. De artesanatos a objetos de decoração na Cidade do Cabo = Unbalanced urban transitions. From handicrafts to home accessories in Cape Town. In: Lunardelli Cavallazzi, R. and Cury Paraizo, R. eds., Patrimônio, ambiente e sociedade: novos desafios espaciais = Heritage, environment and society: new spatial challenges. Rio de Janeiro: Programa de pós-graduação em urbanismo (PROURB), pp. 77-115, pp. 275-304..

Fransen, J. and Kassahun, S., 2011, Incorporating informal settlements in Addis Ababa : from centralized urban planning to local planning. In: (eds.) Bongwa, A.; Kassahun S. and Dijk, M. P. van, Decentralization and service delivery in Ethiopia, Shaker Publishing, Maastricht, pp. 104-116..

Fransen, J., 2010, Informality and unemployment in Addis Ababa : an odd couple, In: (eds.) Fransen, J., Kassahun, S. and Dijk, M. P. van, Formalization and informalization processes in urban Ethiopia : incorporating informality, Maastricht, Shaker publishing, pp. 47-69..

Fransen, J., Kassahun S. and Dijk, M. P. van (eds.), 2010, Formalization and informalization processes in urban Ethiopia : incorporating informality, Maastricht, Shaker publishing, xvi, 219 p..

Kassahun, S. and Fransen, J., 2010, Incorporating informality : conclusions and recommendations  to incorporate informality, In: (eds.) Fransen, J., Kassahun, S. and Dijk, M. P. van  Formalization and informalization processes in urban Ethiopia : incorporating informality, Maastricht, Shaker Publishing, pp. 187-196..

Odufuwa, B.O., Fransen., J.Bongwa, A., and Gianoli, A., 2009, Cities, theories and reality, Journal of Geography and Regional Planning, vol. 2, no. 10, pp. 243-248.

Alehegn, E., Serbeh-Yiadom, K. C. and Dijk, M. P. van, 2008, Land administration : law, policy practice, In: (eds.) Dijk, M.P. van and Fransen, J., Managing Ethiopian cities in an era of rapid urbanisation, Delft, Eburon, pp. 11-27..

Fransen, J., 2008, Can city development strategies boost equitable growth? An analysis of Awassa, In: (eds.) Dijk, M. P. van and Fransen, J., Managing Ethiopian cities in an era of rapid urbanisation, Delft, Eburon,  pp. 213-239..

Fransen, J., 2008, Introduction, In: (eds.) Dijk, M.P. van and Fransen, J., Managing Ethiopian cities in an era of rapid urbanisation, Delft, Eburon, pp. 1-9.

Fransen, J. and Dijk, M. P. van, 2008, Informality in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, [Paper presented at the conference 'Are cities more important than countries?' Rotterdam, 30 - 31 October, 2008], Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS)/Erasmus University Rotterdam, 21 p..