The fair share: managing spatial differences

The theme of the 23rd edition of the Geo Promotion conference is ‘The fair share: managing spatial differences’. The world around us is constantly changing, which is leading to not only winners but also losers. These developments and differences are visible on different spatial scales. An interesting example are the urban areas in the Netherlands. Starters on the housing market have almost no chances to find a new place here and there is less and less room for the car in the inner cities.
These questions are relevant in the Netherlands as well as on a more international scale. Certain regions in the Netherlands are having trouble with a decline in population for years now, while the Randstad is experiencing a rapid growth. The northwestern part of Europe has been flourishing economically the past few decades, while eastern Europe has been stagnating. These issues have been adressed on the 6th or March 2020 in Martiniplaza.


Mathilde Lubbers from Noorderlings is an experienced conference host. She brought energy to the conference and with her expertise she is able to listen, but also ask challenging questions. She made a complex topic approachable for the audience with different backgrounds, ensuring that the conference has been interesting and lively. With Mathilde as our host, the conference has been a warm welcome with a great atmosphere.

Keynote speakers:

Cody Hochstenbach is postdoctoral researcher in urban geography at the University of Amsterdam. His research focuses on (spatial) inequalities on the housing market and in cities. Besides that, he studies the influence of housing policy and politics. In July 2019 he received a NWO Veni grant. This grant allows him to conduct a three-year research project on the influence of private investors buying houses to rent out. Cody writes a column for Dutch news channel RTL Z once every two weeks and regularly writes for other media.
At the conference, Cody will show how spatial inequalities on the housing market increased in recent years in the Netherlands. Differences between urban and rural areas have grown, but socio-spatial divides within almost all cities have also increased. In his keynote he explained these growing spatial differences, why this is a problem, and what we can do about it.

Ingrid Post is the Deputy Director of the National Strategy on Spatial Planning and the Environment (NOVI) within the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. In 2021, the new Environment and Planning Act will be introduced in the Netherlands. The NOVI is the practical implementation of this act and shapes a long-term vision on the future and development of the Dutch living environment. The NOVI deals with current developments and challenges like climate change, energy transition, accessibility, and circular economy which will have an impact on the landscape. When responding well to these challenges the Netherlands can walk ahead and capitalize opportunities. Ingrid Post shed a light on the new NOVI and how issues of spatial justice play a role in it.

All the way from Israel, the third and final keynote was: Professor Karel Martens. Karel is a professor at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

In part due to the growing spatial inequalities, transport is increasingly seen as crucial to social inclusion. In his keynote, Karel Martens has shown how current practices of transport planning, with their focus on the functioning of transport systems, fail to address this issue. He presented a radically alternative approach, one that takes people as its starting point and justice as its end.


During the event, companies have given interactive workshops where different aspects of risk management were the topic. The different companies who held a workshop are:

Antea Group
Province of Fryslân
BAM infra
Rho adviseurs
Gemeente Groningen

The Board

Chairman: Marlies Rijkeboer
Vice-chairman: Gisa Vos
Secretary: Els Dijkstra
Treasurer: Douwe Feitsma
Commissioner Intern: Luuk Meijer
Commissioner Extern: Tobias Meppelink