Research Social and Behavioral Sciences

Hans Mommaas appointed Professor of Regional Sustainability Governance

Tilburg University has appointed Professor Hans Mommaas to the chair of Regional Sustainability Governance, which will be embedded in TiREG, the recently established Tilburg Center for Regional Law and Governance of Tilburg Law School.


In this new part-time position, Hans Mommaas will study effective regional 'landscapes' of sustainable development given the increasing importance of city and larger regions as having the optimal scale for concerted action in addressing ecological, economic, and socio-cultural challenges. Research questions that arise in this context include: how can we understand this urban/regional scale and how can we equip these regions with legal and administrative tools? Does something like an ideal new regional space exist that we can subsequently fit out administratively? Or are they changing and therefore temporary spaces formed depending on the sustainability issue at stake and a more 'emergent' development of the available organizational ability? What perspectives emerge for a 'multi-scale' design of the future Dutch sustainability landscape, from the viewpoint of time-space interaction between the sustainability issue and problem solving ability?

TiREG, partly funded by the Province of Noord-Brabant, will focus on innovative forms of coordination and cooperation between government, businesses, citizens, and knowledge institutions that develop on the regional level in response to such social issues as climate change and energy transition, but also organized crime and the fight against its subversive effects. TiREG aims to describe the rich diversity of these interactions, explain the remarkable differences among and within regions, and to help evaluate the effectiveness and legitimacy of the interactions.

Hans Mommaas (1955) has worked as the Director-General of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency PBL in The Hague since November 1, 2015. Before that, he was Professor of Leisure Studies at Tilburg University and Breda University of Applied Sciences / NHTV, and was a visiting professor of Culture Management at Antwerp University. In addition, he was Science Director at Telos (Brabant Center for Sustainable Development) and an associated member of the Netherlands Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli).

In 2000, Mommaas wrote a Scientific Council for Government Policy study entitled "De vrijetijdsindustrie in stad en land". In cooperation with N. van Boom, he published the study "Comeback Cities" in 2009. In his quality as a member of the former Council for Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM-raad), he chaired the commissions that advised on "Groeten uit Holland, Vrijetijd, toerisme en ruimtelijke kwaliteit" (2006), "Wisselende coalities" (2008) and "Duurzame verstedelijking" (2010). He also (co-)authored numerous articles and studies at the interface of leisure, sustainability, and spatial planning.

Mommaas studied Western Sociology at Wageningen University. In 1993, he earned a PhD at Tilburg University with a PhD thesis entitled "Moderniteit, vrijetijd en de stad".