PhD Relative social inequality: Spatiotemporal analysis for the Netherlands

PhD Relative social inequality: Spatiotemporal analysis for the Netherlands

Published Deadline Location
28 Oct 21 Nov Delft

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Challenge: To advance measures of sociospatial inequalityChange: To use large and complex longitudinal geocoded dataImpact: To contribute to new policy and urban design solutions

Job description

Social inequalities and their spatial manifestation – spatial segregation – are growing worldwide, affecting the economic and social functioning of cities as integral urban systems, as well as individual outcomes of people, such as income, education or health. Whilst there has been extensive research into the impacts of social inequalities and especially segregation on individuals and cities, there remain many gaps in our understanding in terms of how we deal with spatial scale, time and various measures of inequality. Is the spatial scale of segregation in the Netherlands increasing or decreasing over time and how is this relevant for individual outcomes? How do inequalities develop in the long run, for example over the life course of a person or how do inequalities in specific cities or in the whole country develop over longer periods? Finally, how to identify better ways of exploring the types of inequality we observe within society, given that individuals have a great variety of socioeconomic characteristics, and their daily life and life course involve many different (urban) locations?

To answer these questions, you will develop new measures of sociospatial inequality, which can be relative in a variety of ways. The aim of this project is to better understand the impacts of sociospatial segregation on individuals by exploring how relative inequality may impact on individual outcomes, such as education or employment, and considering whether absolute or relative inequalities are more problematic, for whom this is the case, in which environments and during which part(s) of the life course. This new understanding of the sociospatial inequalities in a city, region or the entire country will contribute to more advanced policy interventions and urban design. Computing these relative measures of inequality and using them in the spatiotemporal analyses require substantial computing power. The project will use individual-level, longitudinal and geocoded data for the whole population of the Netherlands, from the population registers of the Statistics Netherlands (CBS). You will also have an opportunity to use high-performance computing facilities.

The project is fully funded by the Faculty of Architecture of the Delft University of Technology. You will be part of the Urban Studies group within the Department of Urbanism, supervised by Prof. Maarten van Ham and Dr. Ana Petrovic, in collaboration with Prof. David Manley from the University of Bristol, UK. The Urban Studies section focuses on the interactions between people, the (built) environment and urban design in the context of growing spatial inequalities at various spatial scales.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


  • A master’s degree in Urban Studies or another relevant social and spatially aware science, such as Geography, Demography, Sociology, Economics, Spatial Statistics, or Urban Planning.
  • Strong quantitative research skills and experience in using advanced statistical techniques in Stata or R (or similar) and experience with analysing large (longitudinal) data sets.
  • Familiarity with spatial data analysis and the use of geographic information systems is preferred.
  • An excellent command of spoken and written English and good communication skills.
  • A willingness to work in a team, excellent study results, and academic writing skills are regarded as assets.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

TU Delft offers PhD-candidates a 4-year contract, with an official go/no go progress assessment after one year. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2395 per month in the first year to € 3061 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

Challenge. Change. Impact! 


Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment

The Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment has a leading role in education and research worldwide. The driving force behind the faculty’s success is its robust research profile combined with the energy and creativity of its student body and academic community. It is buzzing with energy from early in the morning until late at night, with four thousand people studying, working, designing, conducting research and acquiring and disseminating knowledge. Our faculty has a strong focus on 'design-oriented research’, which has given it a top position in world rankings.

Staff and students are working to improve the built environment with the help of a broad set of disciplines, including architectural design, urban planning, building technology, social sciences, process management, and geo-information science. The faculty works closely with other faculties, universities, private parties, and the public sector, and has an extensive network in the Netherlands as well as internationally.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2434—€3111 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD01644


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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