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Personal profile

Personal information

Peer Smets is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands. As an engaged urban sociologist his focus is on societal problems with the aim of finding solutions for better policies and their implementation. In addition, Smets is involved in the Community Service Learning (CSL) program at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, in which students are using their academic skills to help solve societal problems to the mutual benefit of both the societal partners and the students/university. In doing so, he links scientific insights with societal impact.


As a PhD-student Smets focused on housing finance and the urban poor in India. His current research deals also with neighborhoods and focuses on livability, use of public space, housing, everyday encounters, belonging, home-making practices, community development, participation, self-help practices, cooperation between stakeholders, and urban commons.

He has co-edited many special journal issues and books. Recent books include Affordable Housing in the Urban Global South: Seeking Sustainable Solutions (co-edited with J. Bredenoord and P. van Lindert; Earthscan by Routledge), Social Housing and Urban Renewal: A Cross-National Perspective (co-edited with Paul Watt; Emerald), and Contested Belonging: Spaces, Practices , Biographies (co-edited with K. Davis and H. Ghorashi; Emerald).


At the bachelor level, Smets teaches qualitative methods and is coordinator of internships.  At the master level, he developed a course on Influencing Societal Participation (Beïnvloeden van Maatschappelijke Participatie). He also supervises bachelor and master theses about themes such as participation, co-creation, neighbourhood, community development, living together, and housing.  


Over the years Smets received grants for research projects on democracy and participation from the Dutch Ministry of Internal Affairs, and evaluation of the work of the Public Library Amsterdam (OBA) and voluntary work of refugees.  Moreover, The World Bank has funded an in depth study on incremental housing

Ancillary activities

No ancillary activities

Ancillary activities are updated daily

Ancillary activities

  • Editorial board of scientific journal Social Inclusion.
  • Member of International Sociological Association, RC21 on urban and regional development.
  • Reviewer of many journals dealing with issues of especially urban sociology/ urban studies.

Education/Academic qualification

Cultural and Social Anthropology , PhD, VU Faculties

Cultural Anthropology and Development of Non-Western Societies, Master, Vrije Universiteit, Universiteit


  • neighbourhoods
  • public space
  • housing
  • housing finance
  • everyday encounters
  • belonging
  • home-making practices
  • community development
  • participation
  • self-help practices
  • cooperation between stakeholders
  • urban commons

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where P.G.S.M. Smets is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 1 Similar Profiles
housing Social Sciences
ethnicity Earth & Environmental Sciences
housing finance Earth & Environmental Sciences
finance Social Sciences
Netherlands Social Sciences
community Social Sciences
rotating savings and credit association Earth & Environmental Sciences
segregation Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1995 2019

Developing the Potential for Change: Challenging Power Through Social Entrepreneurship in the Netherlands

Korstenbroek, T. & Smets, P., 2019, In : Voluntas. 30, 3, p. 475-486

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
theory formation
intrinsic motivation

Indian community-based housing finance systems: potentials and pitfalls for urban development and housing improvement

Smets, P., 2 Oct 2019, In : International Journal of Urban Sciences. 23, 4, p. 586-600 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
housing finance
urban housing
financial system
urban development

Real Estate as a Commons: Collaboration between Communities, Housing Corporations, and the Local Government in Amsterdam East

Smets, P. & Azarhoosh, F., 23 May 2019, Conference Proceedings Sharing Society: The impact of collaborative collective actions in the transformation of contemporary societies.. Tejerina, B., de Almeida, C. M. & Perugorría, I. (eds.). Bilbao: Universidad del Pais Vasco. Servicio Editorial., p. 281-296 16 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

real estate

The game of participation in Amsterdam East: an alternative to the neoliberal or a neoliberal alternative

Kovacs, Z., Smets, P. & Ghorashi, H., 2019, Enabling Urban Alternatives: Crises, Contestation, and Cooperation. Fisker, J. K., Chiappini, L., Pugalis, L. & Bruzzese, A. (eds.). Singapore: Palgrave McMillan, p. 133-155 23 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Social Mobility
policy implementation

Activities 2008 2019

Werken met commons en gemene kunst

P.G.S.M. Smets (Participant)
14 Mar 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventWorkshopSocietal

Deja VU zomerfestival

P.G.S.M. Smets (Speaker)
7 Jun 2019

Activity: Lecture / PresentationProfessional

The future is public: Democratic ownership of the economy.

P.G.S.M. Smets (Participant)
4 Dec 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventConferenceSocietal

(Door)ontwikkelen doorstroomtraining richting uitstroom Gouden Mannen

P.G.S.M. Smets (Participant)
16 Jul 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventWorkshopSocietal

chairing sessions- chair S19: Refugeeness and Precarity: Issues of Rights and Belonging- chair Proximate lives in shifting spaces (session1)

P.G.S.M. Smets (Participant)
18 Sep 201921 Sep 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventConferenceAcademic

Press / Media

Laat de burger er nou ook eens over meepraten

P.G.S.M. Smets


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Research