Cor Wagenaar studied history at the University of Groningen before specializing in the history of architecture and urbanism at the same university. In 1993 he published a PhD-thesis on the reconstruction of Rotterdam. In 1995 he joined the University Medical Center of Groningen where he was in charge of various research projects in healthcare architecture; these culminated in a number of books. In 2000 he joined Delft University of Technology, where he still works as an associate professor. In 2014 he was appointed Thomassen à Thuessink Professor at the University of Groningen, which focuses on the relation between architecture, urbanism and health, and in 2016 he was appointed a full professorship in the history and theory of urbanism at the same university; both chairs merged in 2019. He is head of the Expertise Center Architecture, Urbanism and Health (a-u-h.eu), the unique quality of which is that it starts from the perspective of architecture and urbanism, instead of public health. He lives and works in Groningen and Berlin.