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Emil Evenhuis, BA, MA, MA, MSc, MPA, PhD

Emil Evenhuis, BA, MA, MA, MSc, MPA, PhD

Research Associate (working with Prof. Ron Martin)

Looking at the long-term economic performance of UK city economies and their capacity to cope with structural changes in the economy, in the context of the ESRC-funded project 'Structural Transformation, Adaptability and City Economic Evolutions'.


I have a keen interest in the evolution of cities - in particular their economies - over time. I was an economic consultant for 7 years in The Netherlands to advise governments at various levels (local, national and European) about priorities in urban development, and large-scale investment projects and programmes. In 2011, I then started working on a PhD-thesis at the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies at Newcastle University, entitled 'The Political Economy of Adaptation and Resilience in Old Industrial Regions: A Comparative Study of South Saarland and Teesside'. Since early 2016 I am one of the researchers at the University of Cambridge involved in the ESRC-funded 'Structural Transformation, Adaptability and City Economic Evolutions'-project to understand the divergent growth paths of cities in the UK as a result of their varying capacity to cope with long-term changes in the economy. In particular we hope to address the scope for policy interventions to enhance adaptive capacity and thus improve economic performance of lagging city economies, in the context of policy objectives such as rebalancing the UK economy and the Northern Powerhouse. I have a background in Economics and Geography, but also hold degrees in Philosophy, Public Administration, and Japan Studies.


  • 2016 - present: Research Associate, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge (UK)
  • 2011 - 2016: PhD-researcher, Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies, Newcastle University (UK)
  • 2004 - 2011: Economic Consultant (on urban, regional and area development), Rebel Advisory (Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
  • 2001: Research Assistant, SEOR Social Economic Research, Erasmus University Rotterdam (Rotterdam, The Netherlands)


  • PhD, Geography, Newcastle University (UK), 2016
  • MPA, Public Administration, Netherlands School of Public Administration (The Hague, The Netherlands), 2010
  • MSc (cum laude), Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam (The Netherlands), 2004
  • MA, Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam (The Netherlands), 2004
  • MA, Philosophy of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam (The Netherlands), 2004
  • BA (cum laude), Japan Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Hitotsubashi University (Tokyo, Japan), 2004


My research focuses on the mechanisms and processes through which cities transform (or fail to transform) their economic base over time. I specifically look at the role of policy and governance (at different levels of scale) in shaping the long-term evolution of city economies. For my PhD-research I have undertaken a comparative case study of two city-regions historically characterised by steel and heavy industry: South Saarland (Saarbrücken metropolitan area) in Germany and Teesside (Middlesbrough metropolitan area) in the United Kingdom. These two mid-size city-regions both experienced a crisis in their economies in the 1970s and 1980s. South Saarland has been able to adapt successfully, whereas Teesside continues to struggle. I have argued that this is to a considerable extent because of (1) different priorities and consistency in the policies implemented, (2) the more robust governance arrangements present in South Saarland compared to Teesside, and (3) the federal government structure and more cooperative form of capitalism in Germany, which appears to have been more conducive for long-term resilience than the centralist structure and more liberal model in the United Kingdom. Currently I am part of the research team for the 'Structural Transformation, Adaptability and City Economic Evolutions'-project (within the ESRC Urban Transformations Initiative), which aims (1) to examine and explain the economic growth paths of British cities in terms of how far and in what ways actors within them have been able to re-orientate and transform the economic base over time, and (2) to understand the scope for policy intervention to enable cities successfully to adapt to structural change in a world of increasingly devolved decision making and perhaps new forms of city-region governance.

I position my research explicitly within the burgeoning literature on Evolutionary Economic Geography. I aim to contribute to this strand of economic geography not only at the empirical level but also at the conceptual and methodological levels. I attempt to further extend and refine the conceptual apparatus for Evolutionary Economic Geography by further developing a framework (based on Path Dependency and Complexity Theory) that offers an alternative to the as yet dominant Generalised Darwinism framework (which has some inherent limitations). Moreover, in my research I combine quantitative research techniques (the collection and analysis of statistics), with a sophisticated comparative case study approach based on (also) qualitative data from mainly archival research and interviews (that can better capture relevant factors concerning e.g. policy, institutions, and world views). With this I hope to expand the repertoire of methods and techniques used within Evolutionary Economic Geography (which so far has been dominated by quantitative approaches).




  • Martin, R., Sunley, P., Gardiner, B., Evenhuis, E. and Tyler, P. (2018): The City Dimension of the Productivity Growth Puzzle: The Relative Role of Structural Change and Within-sector Slowdown, Journal of Economic Geography, Volume 18, Issue 3,
  • Martin, R., Tyler, P., Storper, M., Evenhuis, E. and Glasmeier, A. (2018): Editorial: Globalisation at a Critical Conjuncture?, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Volume 11, Issue 1, special issue 'Globalisation at a Critical Conjuncture?',
  • Evenhuis, E. (2017): New Directions in Researching Regional Economic Resilience and Adaptation, Geography Compass, Volume 11, Issue 11,
  • Evenhuis, E. (2017): Institutional Change in Cities and Regions: A Path Dependency Approach, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Volume 10, Issue 3, special issue 'Cities in Transformation: Processes, Problems and Policies',
  • Tyler, P., Evenhuis, E., Martin, R., Sunley, P. and Gardiner, B. (2017): Growing Apart? Structural Transformation and the Uneven Development of British Cities, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Volume 10, Issue 3, special issue 'Cities in Transformation: Processes, Problems and Policies',
  • Evenhuis, E. and Dawley, S. (2017): Evolutionary Perspectives on Economic Resilience in Regional Development, in Williams, N. and Vorley, T. (eds.) Creating Resilient Economies: Entrepreneurship, Growth and Development in Uncertain Times, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.
  • Evenhuis, E. And Vickerman, R. (2010): Transport Pricing and Public-Private Partnerships, in Research in Transportation Economics, Volume 30, Issue 1,

Conference presentations

  • Policies, Institutions, and City Economic Evolution: A Tale of Five British Cities, at Regional Studies Association (RSA) Winter Conference in London, 16-17 November 2017 (with Andy Pike).
  • New Directions in Researching Economic Resilience and Adaptation, at conference on Future Directions of Resilience Research in Economic Geography in Leipzig, 15-16 June 2017.
  • Evolutionary Economic Geography meets Comparative Historical Analysis, at workshop of the Regional Studies Association (RSA) Research Network on Regional Economic and Policy History in London, 25-26 April 2017.
  • Institutions and Policies in City Economic Evolution: Evidence from British Cities, at Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting in Boston, 5-9 April 2017 (with Andy Pike).
  • Structural Change and the Economic Evolution of Cities in the UK, at Regional Studies Association (RSA) Winter Conference in London, 24-25 November 2016 (with Peter Tyler).
  • Path Dependency across Scales: Towards a Differentiated and Multi-scalar Perspective on Regional Institutional Change, at Global Conference on Economic Geography in Oxford, 20-22 August 2015.
  • Evolutionary Approaches and Institutionalism in Regional Studies, at Regional Studies Association (RSA) Early Careers conference in Manchester, 1 November 2013.
  • The Political Economy of Adaptation and Resilience in Teesside, at RGS-IBG annual international conference in London, 28 - 30 August 2013.
  • Conceptualising Adaptation and Resilience in Regions: Taking Stock and Moving Ahead, at Association of American Geographers (AAG) annual meeting in New York, 24 - 28 February 2012.
  • Lock-in and Decline in Cleveland, at conference on Shrinkage in Europe; Causes, Effects and Policy Strategies in Amsterdam, 16 - 17 February 2011 (Available through:


  • 2016-date: Supervisions and lecturing, University of Cambridge (Cambridge, UK), in various modules on City Economies and Economic Globalization.
  • 2012-2015: Seminar Leader and Teaching Assistant, Newcastle University (Newcastle, UK), in various modules on (Quantitative) Research Methods, Economic Geography, and Local and Regional Development.
  • 2001: Teaching Assistant, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Kumasi, Ghana), in module Techniques of Poverty Analysis.

External activities

  • Member of the Editorial Board (as Assistant Editor) of Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, published by Oxford University Press.
  • Postdoctoral Associate of St. Catharine's College Cambridge.
  • Visiting fellow of the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies at Newcastle University.
  • Events Officer in Committee of Economic Geography Research Group of Royal Geographical Society.