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Job ID: 203795

Assistant Professor in Spatial Planning
Aalto University

Date Posted Jan. 18, 2023
Title Assistant Professor in Spatial Planning
University Aalto University
, Finland
Department T213 Built Environment
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Assistant Professor
  • Transportation Engineering
    Civil Engineering
Aalto University is a community of bold thinkers where science and art meet technology and business. We are committed to identifying and solving grand societal challenges and building an innovative future. Aalto University has six schools with 11 000 students and a staff of more than 4000, of which 400 professors. Our campus is located in Otaniemi, about 10 km west from the city center of Helsinki, Finland.

Aalto University School of Engineering, Department of Built Environment
invites applications for:


Background. The digitalization of Finnish society has profound implications for the future functions of cities, and the ways in which cities are planned and developed. Digitalization is changing the ways in which the natural and built environment are used and managed. It means, not only a wider use of new types of spatial planning and management tools (e.g., artificial intelligence, city information modelling, 3D, digital twins, machine reading, spatial data platforms, online participation tools), but it is also resulting in transformations in how land-use and transportation planning is organized, managed and communicated. The digitalization of society has significant future implications for transport demand, mode choices, property development and the location choices of businesses and households. Moreover, the digitalization of society affects how participation is arranged and how policy development and monitoring are structured. For example, the Finnish Ministry of Environment is currently developing a nationwide information system for the built environment, including data models for zoning and building permits, and the land-use planning and building legislation will take the reform into account. At the same time, some cities have made innovative use of their information system reforms in spatial planning coordination and strategic management.

Job description. The academic field of this tenure track position is spatial planning, with a view on land-use and transportation planning coordination and integration. In particular, the position addresses teaching and research implications of the digitalization of land use and transportation planning processes and practices. Rather than focusing primarily on technologies of digital information management per se, the focus is on how digitalization in its many forms can be utilized in planning to promote sustainability, democracy, justice, wellbeing, and quality of life in cities and regions. Besides expertise in the use and development of advanced digital tools and platforms in spatial planning, there is a need for a visionary understanding of digitalization in spatial planning as a phenomenon, and academic leadership in developing insights on this transformation, including changing planning processes, transdisciplinary data and knowledge integration, and participatory and inter-sectoral communication and coordination. A strong candidate for this position is interested in these processes and has practical experience and skills, as well as insights on how to develop new research and teaching in the field. The typical teaching load is 10-15 credits at master’s level and possibly bachelor’s level, in addition to the supervision of students from bachelor up to doctoral level. Openness to studio-type teaching and curriculum development in the field would be appreciated. Ideally, the candidate has an interest and expertise (academic and/or professional) in one or more of the following themes:
  • Spatial planning and data management in the context of city information models (CIM).
  • The use, usability and usefulness of data and tools in planning, bridging the implementation gap between information technology development and planning practice.
  • Planning support systems and the interoperability of digital information systems.
  • Technological disruptions and developments in planning associated with topics such as artificial intelligence, IoT, machine readable data, digital twins, and virtual and augmented reality.
  • New ICT-supported methods and practices for participatory planning.
  • The role of digitalization in shaping and managing the demand for passenger and freight transport in cities, as well as its role in managing the use of urban transport infrastructure.

Requirements and evaluation process. The position will be filled at the Assistant Professor level. The Aalto tenure track principles are explained at Applicants are required to have a doctoral degree in a discipline relevant for this position (e.g., spatial planning, transportation engineering, architecture, geography), and should demonstrate excellent research potential in addition to good teaching ability.

Following Aalto University’s strategy, we are looking for a person whose research and teaching relate to university-level focus areas of human-centred living environment and ICT and digitalization, and the focus area of sustainable built environment of the School of Engineering. The applicant should aspire for world-class research, be willing and able to foster active teaching collaboration at the department, be able to acquire external research funding from Finnish and international sources, and be able to demonstrate potential regarding societal impact of research and education. The language requirement is fluency in written and spoken English. International recruits will be encouraged to learn Finnish.

Evaluation at the assistant professor level follows the tenure track system of Aalto University and is mainly based on research merits, as well as the applicant’s potential to develop into a world-class academic. Based on the qualifications, the recruited candidate will be placed on the first or second assistant professor term stage in the tenure track system. In all levels of the tenure track system, a professor is expected to perform high-quality research and teaching at doctoral, master’s and bachelor levels, to be an active member of the international scientific community, and to exhibit academic leadership. Advancements in the tenure track are based on scheduled performance assessments, which take into account the candidate’s merits in all these areas.

Research environment. The Department of Built Environment is an internationally oriented community that has 30 professors and more than 230 employees from 22 countries. The department is further divided into four Research Groups: Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering, Water and Environmental Engineering, Real Estate Economics, and Geoinformatics. Additionally, the Research Institute of Measuring and Modeling for the Built Environment is affiliated with the Department. See:

The new professor position will be located within the Research Group of Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering (SPT), as a younger faculty member among five tenured professors, a part-time assistant professor and a part-time professor of practice. The research of the SPT Group focuses on three main themes. The first theme relates to everyday human behaviour and values in the living environment, and relies on a range of economic, psychological and sociological approaches. Understanding human needs for living and mobility in urban environments is accompanied with development of advanced data collection and analysis methods. The second theme, new planning and policy-making methods and processes, advances land-use and transportation planning integration, and examines complex challenges in planning and management of urban and regional environments. The third theme concerns the development and governance of urban and mobility technologies and services, drawing on a deep understanding of technological transition processes and their societal impacts. This research contributes to steering technological pathways of mobility, as well as to developments in national and international policies and regulation. The group hosts the Master’s Programme in Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering.

Salary. The salary of the professor is based on the salary system of Aalto University, but applicants may also state their own salary requirements. The contract also includes occupational health benefits. The position has a start-up package.

How to apply. The application material for the tenure track position includes:
  • Cover letter including a summary of merits, most important achievements, and motivation for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae (with contact information, see recommendation about cv at 
  • Complete list of publications.
  • Five most significant publications, to be submitted in full-text electronic form
  • Research statement describing the applicant’s previous research, his/her research plans for the future, and an overview of emerging issues in the field (max. five pages).
  • Teaching portfolio, presenting competence, experience and professional development of teaching, supported with reflection, self-evaluation and evidence.
  • Names and contact information of 4 referees.

All material should be submitted in English. The material will not be returned. The documents are to be submitted in PDF format and the file names are to follow the format documentname_lastname_firstname.pdf (e.g. cover letter _ lastname_firstname.pdf).

Applications with attachments (in PDF format) for the tenure track position are to be addressed to the President of Aalto University and submitted through the eRecruitment system no later than March 6th, 2023 (before midnight Finnish time (EET)).

General instructions for applicants, including language requirements, and guidelines for compiling the teaching portfolio and CV are given at

For more Information, please contact Head of Department Raine Mäntysalo, For questions related to the recruitment process, please contact HR Coordinator Kirsi Kärkkäinen,        

Aalto University reserves the right for justified reasons to leave the position open, to extend the application period and to consider candidates who have not submitted applications during the application period.

Tenure track in Aalto University
The tenure track is open to talented individuals who have excellent potential for a scientific career. Individuals placed on the Aalto University professorial tenure track have the possibility to advance in their career through regular performance assessments, which take into account their merits in all areas of their scope of duty. Launched only in 2010, the tenure track has attracted a wide range of international applicants, giving Aalto University the possibility of recruiting top experts and young research talent to join the Aalto University community.

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