Dorst, H. MSc.

Governing for sustainable urban transformation – enabling the realisation and upscaling of Nature-Based Solutions in urban environments

Innovation Studies, Faculty of Geosciences,  Utrecht University,

Supervisor: Prof. Rob Raven

I studied Urban Planning and Human Geography at the University of Amsterdam, followed by a research master Urban Studies at the same university. As part of my studies I have studied and done research abroad at the University College London (Bartlett Faculty for Architecture and Planning) and Humboldt University Berlin (Department of Social Sciences). Both my bachelor and master thesis were about the interplay between cultural industries, more specifically the music industry, and the urban environment.
Before starting my PhD research, I have worked as a junior researcher in Science System and Technology Assessment at the Rathenau Institute, the Hague, where my work was mainly concerned with geographies of innovation.

In times of rapid urbanization, innovation is sought for the multiple challenges of sustainable urban development. Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) are seen as a promising answer to such issues. NBS seek to use the properties of nature to address sustainability challenges, and can often be multi-beneficial in doing so. Examples are green roofs and walls for housing insulation and heath island effect mitigation, or urban gardens to promote inclusion and human well-being as well as providing a habitat to increase biodiversity in urban areas. However, for these NBS to truly transform the urban environment to a sustainable one, systemic integration by way of upscaling is necessary. This is, as of yet, not happening. An additional issue is the increasing attention cities get as being ‘agents of change’ when it comes to all sorts of societal, economic and environmental challenges – but are they up to this task? And to what extent is the urban context of influence on these types of transformation pathways?
In my research I will address these issues by assessing, in a comparative case study of multiple European cities, which structural spatial conditions limit or enable the upscaling of NBS and what role urban governance can play here.
Dorst, H., J. Deuten & E. Horlings (2016) De Nederlandse wetenschap in de European Research Area. Den Haag: Rathenau Instituut.

Dorst, H. (2015) Electronic music scenes: A comparison of the diverging spatial contexts of the electronic dance music scenes of Berlin and Amsterdam. Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, Vol. 2, Numbers 1-2, pp. 57-74.