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Since his PhD dissertation at the Politecnico di Torino — a pioneering cross-national, cross-disciplinary study on the redevelopment of railway station areas in Europe resulting in the book ‘Cities on Rails´ — Bertolini has concentrated on research and teaching at the interface of urban and transport development. As a post-doc at the University of Utrecht, his work focused on the relationship between infrastructure and spatial development within urban-regional networks of transportation nodes. Most important result of this period was a ‘node-place model´ linking the development potential of locations to their transport and land use characteristics. This model is by now widely used in integrating transport and land use planning in the Netherlands, including several preparatory studies for the Fifth National Report on Spatial Planning/Spatial report and the National Traffic and Transport Plan/Mobility report, and is presently being applied also abroad, in countries as diverse as the USA, Australia, and different European countries. During Bertolini's stay in Utrecht, a fruitful connection with the theories and methods of space-time geography was also established, which later resulted in several publications and the PhD project ‘Mobility environments and network cities´ (funded by NWO — the Dutch national science council).
Transfer to the University of Amsterdam meant a further widening of his research scope, since addressing the whole spectrum of relationships between the accessibility features of locations and urban development. This broader focus resulted in a number of large research contracts now beginning to reach the publication stage, including: the development of an innovative approach to sustainable urban-regional transportation planning (known as VPR) for the Netherlands Agency for Energy and the Environment (NOVEM); a long-term research programme on the role of accessibility and land use factors in the development cycles of urban areas for the urban planning agency (DRO) of the Municipality of Amsterdam; two large projects funded by the national BSIK program, respectively dealing with strategies for the sustainable accessibility of urban regions (as main applicant) and synergy in urban networks (as participant). These project-related activities intertwine with the development of a theoretical framework centred on the application of evolutionary theories and methods to spatial planning issues. This is as yet unexplored territory with plenty of potential to link to cutting-edge developments in other disciplines (as for instance in evolutionary economics and system innovation and transition studies) and is already bearing fruit in publications terms.
Evolution in the research focus has been matched by a growing involvement in teaching, spanning urban and regional planning, transport, and urban design issues, and most notably including the development of new courses at Bachelor and Master level in the areas of urban and transportation planning, and a new Master programme at the interface of urban design and planning (‘Ruimtelijke Regie´) in collaboration with the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture
October 2019
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The current Call is mainly directed to sub-Saharan university-based researchers with expertise on sustainable and equitable mobility and access in sub-Saharan African cities, and/or previously engaged in transport-related research, and strongly interested in carrying out interdisciplinary research on issues related to sustainable and equitable mobility and access,

Call open until 2019-10-15


The VREF invites PhD students and researchers in early stages of their career to apply for a Study Visit Grant to be supported with up to SEK 30 000.

Invitation open until 2019-10-31

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Global Mobility Research

This Meeting of the Minds' blog monthly releases interviews of global transportation researchers from the VREF's Future Urban Transport Program Network.


This CityFix series, produced by the WRI (World Ressources Institute) Ross Center for Sustainable Cities and supported by the VREF, discusses walking and cycling in cities with a special focus on low- and middle-income countries.

Each year the Håkan Frisinger Foundation for Transportation Research awards a scholarship to a prominent researcher.


About VREF

The Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF) inspires, initiates and supports research and educational activities through the Future Urban Transport Programme - How to deal with the complexity of urban transport (FUT). 

Our Vision: Sustainable transport for equitable access in urban areas

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