Foto: Lex Banning

About the author

While big pretentions in the past have jeopardized the future of urban planning, in his research and planning Zef Hemel tries to focus on its core: economy, ecology, democracy and creativity. He is searching for a kind of adaptive planning – that is a type of planning which can adjust easily to permanently changing circumstances and benefits from unexpected opportunities. Such a radically different planning is needed, because the world is urbanizing fast and seems to be rushing into one crisis after another. Because of the growing complexity, the type of planning required is local, at the level of individual cities and their spheres of influence. The planning of the future is no longer national, but metropolitan. The paradox is that this type of local planning is global at the same time.

Zef Hemel (1957) is spatial planner. In the past he was chief editor of ‘Stedebouw & Ruimtelijke Ordening’ (Urban and Regional Planning), the professional magazine for urban planners and designers of the Dutch Institute of Housing and Spatial Planning in The Hague. In 2011 he organized, as a member of the think tank of the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, the symposium ‘Creative Cities’ in Amsterdam. From 2001 to 2004 he was director of the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design. From 2004 till 2014 he was member of the board of the Urban Planning Department of the City of Amsterdam. There he organized ‘The Freestate of Amsterdam’ in 2009, which was the start of a different kind of planning. Since 2012 he is Professor on Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Amsterdam (the Wibaut Chair). He is also working for the Amsterdam Economic Board. Hemel studied human geography at the State University of Groningen and wrote his PhD in history of art at the University of Amsterdam, for which he was awarded the Prof. Ter Veen Award 1994.

Zef Hemel gave lectures on urban planning in London, Paris, Tokyo, Brussels, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Wuhan, Taipei, Seoul, Geneva, Zürich, Brighton UK, Washington DC, Durban SA, Bogotá, and many other cities.