Post-doc on Cooperative Housing, Degrowth and Circular Living (3 years)

Faculty/Services:  Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Educational level:  PhD
Function type:  Academic Staff
Closing date:  15 December 2023
Vacancy number:  12285

We are looking for post-doctoral researcher (for 3 years) able to conceptualise and empirically investigate the relation between cooperative forms of housing, urban degrowth and ‘circular living’, a mode of living that reduces and reuses waste. In particular, the postdoc should develop a theoretical and conceptual framework able to connect theories of commoning, degrowth and circular economy. The researcher will carry out empirical case studies, from The Netherlands and from abroad, looking at how different modes of cooperative and collaborative housing influence material usage in the built environment. The material, architectural and design aspects of housing will be connected to the social, institutional aspects of the communities organizing those housing projects.


As post-doc you will be working as part of an international project consortium that includes university of Gothenburg, University of Barcelona, Balmes University foundation, University of Nantes, and Chalmers University. Moreover, the consortium includes partners from practice in each of these cities (architects, governments, grassroots organizations etc.). In Amsterdam, the postdoc research will be developed in cooperation with grassroots organisation and one architectural studio specialised in housing cooperatives and housing justice.


What are you going to do


The post-doc will work for 3 years on a specific subproject within the consortium researching the role of grassroots activities in achieving circular economy ambitions. The specific workpackage developed in Amsterdam focuses on degrowth and housing commons. It explores the relation between the socio-institutional profile and the ecological-circular performance of housing and the communities of dwellers. It combines socio-material aspects to explain which type of housing models can effectively promote a living form that downscales material demands in the long-run.


For this project, the post-doc will use both (secondary) quantitative and (primary) qualitative data. These include expert interviews, ethnographic observations, documents analysis. It is recommended that the postdoc can engage with the socio-institutional frameworks of commoning as well as with the material-structural components of housing (materials, heat, construction qualities, interior design etc.). For fieldwork, it is recommended to be able to understand written and spoken Dutch (passive language use is sufficient).


You will

  • examine the circularity spaces and practices created by grassroots housing coops, and how they integrate with the surrounding environment in creating affordability and inclusivity.
  • explain how grassroots initiatives running the housing projects interact with the municipal institutions and negotiate/struggle circularity and affordability beyond existing financial powers (ie. banks, municipal funds, construction companies);
  • Develop conceptual and theoretical arguments on the relation between commoning, degrowth and material cycles;
  • Publish in top-ranked journals both independently and in collaboration with the PI;
  • Help the PI in carrying out the project in cooperation with the consortium. This includes travelling to the partners’ location and organizing a workshop in Amsterdam;
  • Organising one exposition and debate on housing and degrowth in Amsterdam, in cooperation with architectural studios and grassroots organisations in Amsterdam.


What do you have to offer


Your experience and profile:

Successful candidates for this position are those that combine expertise on theories and practices of urban commoning, particularly in housing, and theories of degrowth. Good theoretical and conceptual skills are very recommended. Basic abilities in understanding the material composition of housing are highly appreciated (energy, building materials, design).


Required skills

  • A PhD degree in urban planning, social geography, environmental studies, environmental geography, environmental sociology or planning law. Other disciplines are also suitable, but candidates need to show a clear socio-spatial dimension in their previous work;
  • A research interest in the socio-ecological impact of housing;
  • Excellent writing skills in English;
  • Experience in publishing in peer-reviewed academic journal, and/or other relevel academic publication (edited books).

Desirable skills

  • Basic knowledge of Dutch language, sufficient to understand written materials;
  • Abilities to understand the design, architectural and engineering features of sustainability in housing;
  • Ability to carry out trans-disciplinary research;
  • Experience in teamwork and collaborative research;
  • Capacities to organise dissemination activities (eg. seminars, webinars, workshops).

We cannot accept remote work. It is thus recommended to be in the proximities of Amsterdam region.


What can we offer you


The position concerns an employment contract of 0.9 fte (34,2hours) for a maximum term of 3 years. After 6 months we will assess your performance and, upon positive assessment, extend your contract till a maximum of 3 years. For this position the University Job Classification Profile Researcher 3 applies.

We also offer the option to increase your employment terms with 0.1 fte of teaching, making it full time. Teaching will include MA and BA thesis supervision.


Depending on your experience, the minimum salary is €4332 and the maximum salary is €5090 gross per month based on a 38-hour working week, in keeping with salary scale 11, as per the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities.

We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.


What else do we offer

As a post-doc at the department of geography, planning and international development studies, you will enjoy a range of educational and research activities. We will offer:


  • A highly collaborative environment, both within the international consortium and within the Urban Planning Research Group;
  • Support in preparing the next steps of your career after the post-doc;
  • Support in improving your publications record as well as in developing your own research profile;
  • The possibility to develop your experience in international research settings. You will be fully integrated in the international research of PI on urbanization and degrowth (please visit, which takes place in many countries;
  • An enthusiastic and engaged research environment both within and outside the University. You will be invited to be involved in policy debates on circular economy and degrowth both in The Netherlands and in the city of Amsterdam.


About us


The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 39,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds.

A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organization. The social and behavioral sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.


Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.



Do you have any questions, or do you require additional information? Please contact:


  • Dr. Federico Savini, Associate Professor in Environmental Planning, Institutions and Politics,


Job Application


Do you recognise yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application/motivation letter and resume in one pdf by 15 December 2023.

We expect to do selection interviews with shortlisted candidates the first week of January.


Applications in one bundled .pdf should include:

  • a curriculum vitae.
  • a letter where you motivate your intention to research degrowth, housing commons and circular living. Please specify the theoretical ambitions of your research (max. 1000 words);
  • two writing samples of published academic papers.



The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

If you encounter Error GBB451/ GBC451, reach out to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application.

No agencies please.