PhD position in the Geographies of Inclusive Cities (1.0 FTE)

PhD position in the Geographies of Inclusive Cities (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
9 Mar 15 Apr Utrecht

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Are you a critical thinker with a specific interest in or commitment to LGBTQ+-supportive social inclusion? Then apply for this PhD position.

Job description

The Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning is offering a fully funded 4-year PhD position in the Geographies of Inclusive Cities.

Despite decades of queer geographical scholarship that questions the hetero-cis-normative assumptions embedded in the design and management of cities, LGBTQ+-supportive social inclusion has yet to be ‘mainstreamed’ and evenly integrated through plans and policies into the everyday work of urban governance. Urban planning and policy are conventional tools of social inclusion used in conjunction with human rights protections and institutional allyship to translate social logics into actions of recognition, redistribution, and encounter for marginalized social groups. Yet, how they play out in specific places, through what kinds of governance coalitions, and across intersections of difference in the lives of individuals varies enormously around the world.

We are looking for an ambitious and highly motivated PhD candidate with a background in Human Geography or a related discipline. In your PhD project you will compare non-Anglo-American northern and/or southern cities through theoretical reflection and methodological innovation. You will empirically investigate how these cities learn from one another about the meaningful inclusion of sexual and gender non-normative citizens, through what kinds of partnerships, and with what local outcomes. Critical engagement is invited with plans, policies, and organizational networks that variously address LGBTQ+ needs for social reproduction and infrastructure provision, public transit, social services and community facilities access, housing and economic development, community-event financing, public safety, social inclusion and/or civic participation.

Ideas for a 4-year research project to start in September 2023 or January 2024 are welcomed under and/or across the following two broad thematic areas and related sub-topics.

1. Queering plans and policies:

  • The place of LGBTQ+ knowledge, networks, and lived experiences in social inclusion policies and community plans shaped by municipal agendas for creative, liveable, healthy, child-friendly, digital, and sustainable cities.
  • The extent to which queer and transgender competencies inform municipal urban planning and policymaking.
  • The conflicts, impediments, and contradictions found in municipal urban planning and policymaking responses to LGBTQ+ social inclusion.
2. Queering governance coalitions and activisms
  • The role of LGBTQ+ activists in reworking and resisting municipal logics to build local community resilience.
  • Instances when LGBTQ+-inclusivity exceeds social planning to engage with an (in)visibility politics that may impact upon the form and function of infrastructure.
  • The tensions, disconnects, and misrecognitions generated through the integration of LGBTQ+ and Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (QTBIPOC) activism into urban governance processes and discourses.


Utrecht University


We believe in a balance between individual and collective achievements and stimulate inclusive academic leadership at all levels. And we encourage the sharing of scientific research results with society so we can get more done collectively and the social contribution of the University also grows.

We encourage candidates to apply who recognize themselves in the above values and meet the following requirements.

Knowledge, Skills & Experience (Essential):

  • You have a Master of Arts or Science in Human Geography, Sociology, Anthropology, Gender Studies, Critical Race Studies, Urban Studies, Policy Studies, Political Science, or Urban Planning.
  • You have proven interest and experience in undertaking research relating to urban social inclusion/exclusion.
  • You have a strong social justice orientation to research and ongoing commitments to, engagement with, and connection to one or more marginalized social groups as they intersect with sexual and gender minorities.
  • You have research expertise at collecting, analyzing, and visually representing qualitative data, and ethical research practices that include experience conducting and interpreting semi-structured interviews and/or focus groups, and/or innovative use of arts-based and participatory research methods.
  • You have excellent communication skills in English (written and oral) and a second or third language of the case study locales.
  • You are able to work effectively both independently and collaboratively in a team.
  • You are an outstanding critical thinker and communicator and you have strong interpersonal and community engagement skills.

Conditions of employment

This is an exciting opportunity to work in a collaborative, social, and dedicated team. Guidance and support from your supervisor to grow and further develop your skills will be available.

You will be offered a temporary position (1.0 FTE), initially for one year with an extension to a total of four years upon a successful assessment in the first year, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period. The gross salary ranges between €2,541 in the first year and €3,247 in the fourth year of employment (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year.

In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent  flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences, and Sustainability.

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including human's socio-spatial utilization of the Earth – attending to environmental and social sustainability as well as innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff members, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organization. The Faculty of Geosciences is organized in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.

The Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning investigates sustainability challenges in the context of an ongoing worldwide trend of increasing urbanization. The Department’s ‘Urban Futures’ research programme seeks to enhance social inclusion by addressing social inequities in relation to economic development as they intersect with transnational mobilities, health outcomes, as well as the governance and planning of sustainability transformations of cities and urban regions. It develops novel theoretical and empirical approaches that are not solely at the forefront of academic debates but also have societal implications through policies and interventions with the potential to address urban challenges.

Our research programme is the basis for our Research Master's in Human Geography and Geographical Information Management and Applications and Professional Master's in Spatial Planning, Human Geography, and International Development Studies. The Department also runs a large and dynamic Bachelor's programme, has a professional development programme for doctoral students, and is part of the Netherlands Graduate School of Urban and Regional Research for PhD candidates. It is unique in having research teams focused on pedagogical innovation and transdisciplinary approaches to sustainability, in conjunction with offering professional consultancy for public partners. 


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society; Natural sciences
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1206866



Princetonlaan 8a, 3584 CB, Utrecht

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