Birgit Hausleitner

Birgit_HausleitnerI’m an urbanist and architect. My research focuses on the urban morphological and socio-spatial preconditions that influence urban programme, with a special interest in mixed use and diversity. I emphasise on working through the scales, from the building to the city region. My work so far comprised research and design mainly in Amsterdam, Paris and Vienna, including their surrounding regions.

Mixed use and diversity are both scale depended. The scale on which we find mixture (of functions or people) sketches more or less what urban living qualities or conflicts the users of an area may experience. Not only the effects of spatial vicinity of functions at the present are important to investigate, but also change through time puts a challenge to the planning and design of urban programme.

The goal is not to predict future programme and it’s specific location, but preparing a diversity of urban conditions in our cities (and regions), that can accommodate also non-foreseen programme. Design triggers for the thesis projects will be new trends and technological advances of urban development like new types of mobility or of manufacturing. Using them and the analysed dross scape to test designs, and thereby envision different possible future evolutions of the city.

Possible case study is Amsterdam or are other capital cities or city regions.

Main methods: scenario driven spatial analyses, design pattern development and evidence informed design

Possible thesis topics related to my research:

  • Spatial Conditions to accommodate micro businesses in mixed use areas

Diversity and mixed use are on the agenda of urban development of many cities. Small businesses are an important component of the mix. Currently, there is still little evidence on what spatial conditions accommodate specific functions, a mix of functions or adaptive infill with new programme. I invite students interested in developing design patterns that allow more evidence informed urban development. I am especially interested in students that work in other (capital) cities than my main case study cities.

  • Small scale industry and crafts in the city

European cities have to a large part lost their role in the production of goods. Cities and urban regions have transformed from territories that both produced and consumed large quantities of their own products to mainly consuming territories. For both economic and environmental reasons, the importance of local production has recently increased again in European cities. Micro-businesses are mentioned as the motor of current cities’ economy and are often pointed out as essential in building social capital and community. This triggers the question whether ‘productive’ micro-businesses can become integrated parts of our cities’ again. The interesting questions to explore further are, how small scale industrial or crafts businesses can be integrated in mixed-use areas. What spaces can host them? What are the spatial requirements that enable their proximity with residential uses? What spatial configurations of cities can support this change that includes considering full life cycles of products?

  • Reuse (re-programme) current and future left-overs

Which dross can be identified in a certain territory? How can this dross be reused? Cities are constantly evolving along changing needs of inhabitants and taking place in a cultural landscape with an established spatial structure. Societal changes are often triggered by new technological interventions, ways of production and manufacturing. These changes and the introduction of new technologies often leave behind traces, spatial elements like transport infrastructure or buildings, thus fragments of the old socio-economic system (technological dross-scapes). The target of investigation is thus, what can be considered dross, which alternative programme can reuse dross from past, but also future periods, considering recent trends of development and technological advances. What part of the urbanised landscape can be occupied by temporary uses, adding to the ecological quality, to the liveability for the inhabitants and adding benefit for businesses in an area?


Relevant publications of/and my own research (for further projects/publications, take a look at my profile at

Cities of Making JPI Urban Europe Project – Project concerned with building up an understanding about and developing (design) guidelines for urban conditions to facilitate manufacturing in European cities.

Understanding and designing cities from a performative perspective

Hausleitner, B., Berghauser Pont, M. (2017). Development of a configurational typology for micro-businesses integrating geometric and configurational variables. Proceedings XI space syntax conference, Lisbon.

Berghauser Pont, Stavroulaki, Gil, Marcus, Serra, Hausleitner, Olsson, Abshirini, Dhanani (2017). Quantitative comparison of cities: Distribution of street and building types based on density and centrality measures.  Proceedings XI space syntax conference, Lisbon.

Hausleitner,B. (2012) Re-Using the built material. In book: Recycling City : lifecycles, embodied energy, inclusion, Chapter: PART 3: RECYCLING TERRITORIES, Publisher: Giavedoni editore, Pordenone, Editors: Fabian L, Giannotti E., Vigano P., pp.p. 258-267

Hausleitner, B. (2014) ‘Kleinschalige bedrijvigheid als component van vitale steden’, in Meyer, H., Westrik, J., and Hoekstra, M. (eds) Het programma en ruimtegebruik van de stad. Uitgeverij Bom, pp. 108–125.

Hausleitner, B. (2010) Tracing scopes of action: Principles to Approach the complexity of the urban block. Along case studies in Paris. Delft University of Technology.

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