Senior Specialist – Urban Planning and Management

About IHS

The Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) is a centre of urban expertise of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Looking at cities from different perspectives, we educate urban professionals from diverse backgrounds, provide consultancy services to national and local governments from the Global South and engage in cutting-edge urban research. Bringing practical experience from real-life projects back to the classroom, we inspire collaboration and co-creation of urban knowledge. Together with our partners, we work at the forefront of urban development to improve the wellbeing of people living in cities across the globe.

IHS has a staff of approximately 45FTE. It has undergone significant organizational restructuring over the past 3 years, and a new General Director has recently been appointed.

Vacancy Description

More effective planning and management will be essential to addressing global urban development challenges in the coming decades. In the face of rapid population growth and spatial expansion, much of it unplanned, cities around the world will need to find new ways to achieve sustainability, prosperity, and wellbeing for their residents. This will require better evidence to support decision-making, support to officials to develop and implement policies, and a highly skilled cadre of urban professionals.

This role will help respond to these needs. As a senior specialist at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS), the postholder will work across the institute’s three pillars of education, research and advisory to address some of the biggest urban challenges of our time. This is a senior role, with the postholder being expected to set strategic direction for the Institute’s work in urban planning.

The post is likely to be embedded within the Urban Socio-Spatial Development Department, although depending on the postholder’s specific expertise another organizational position might be considered. This department focuses on the application of social, spatial and gender justice principles as a framework for analysing urban processes related to housing, land and planning, and assessing projects, plans, and policies in this regard.

The postholder is expected to play a leading role in the delivery of the flagship M.Sc. in Urban Management and Development. S/he will also contribute to other postgraduate programmes, including PhD supervision. S/he will actively seek opportunities to undertake funded research, in collaboration with internal and external colleagues, on topics related to IHS's vision and mission. Advisory / consultancy work is a critical element of IHS’s impact strategy, and makes a significant contribution to the organization’s income. The postholder will be expected to undertake consultancy projects on themes related to her/his area of expertise. This is likely to include capacity strengthening with local and municipal governments, and supporting institutional development for universities and other research institutions.

Qualifications and competencies

We are looking for a candidate who:

  • Holds a PhD degree in urban planning, spatial planning, environmental sciences, economics, geography, sociology or other disciplines related to urban management and urban sustainability.
  • Has a proven background on and expertise in one or more sub-elements of urban planning and development. We are particularly interested in candidates with knowledge of planning procedures and different legal frameworks for planning, especially in comparative perspective. We expect all staff to be aware of gender transformational and postcolonial approaches, and to incorporate these in their work as appropriate.
  • Has excellent methodological skills.
  • Has in-depth knowledge of international organizations active in urban policy and planning, and has experience of working with such organizations (either in the capacity of a consultant/advisor or an employee).
  • Has worked extensively in cities in low- and middle-income countries, ideally collaborating with academics and policy-makers.  
  • Has the ability and interest to develop and deliver high-quality courses and lectures and to supervise Master and PhD students.
  • Has an international network and a strong track record in publications in peer-reviewed journals and in attracting research funding.
  • Has international experience in a multicultural environment, has a creative and problem solving attitude, and is able to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Has excellent command of spoken and written English with fluency in other languages (including Dutch, French or Spanish) desirable.

Terms and conditions of employment

We offer a challenging job in an international and dynamic work environment.

The position is available in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, starting for a period of 1 year, with possible extension of permanent employment, and is based on a minimum of 32 hours per week to a maximum of 40 working hours per week.

  • Remuneration will be in line with the responsibilities of the role and related to the work experience of the candidate. For full-time employment the minimum salary is € 5,506 and maximum € 7,362 based on 40 hours per week, salary scale 13-14 of the CAO NU. The employment conditions include a holiday allowance of 8.0% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%.

We prefer a candidate who is available to start as soon as possible.

Application procedure

We would like to receive your application no later than 22 March 2023 by email to IHS Office Management at

Please add ‘Application: Senior Planning Specialist’ to the subject line. Please send a cover letter (with clear description of your motivations for applying for this position) and detailed CV including the names and contact details of two referees to the email above.

A committee will evaluate the applications and selected candidate(s) will be approached for an interview.

For further information on the position, please contact Dr. David Dodman ( or Dr. Alonso Ayala Aleman (


Please find below the brochure with more extensive information for the Senior Specialist role in Urban Planning.

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