Themes and projects

For the graduation year 2016-2017 we propose the following three themes. These themes are closely related to running or new research projects.

Theme 1. Technology Transitions.

Transitions in mobility systems will not only change the image of the city, but they will affect the daily life of its inhabitants, and the dynamics of the urban fabric as a whole. How upcoming technologies, like self-driving cars and the Hyperloop, will affect the city is our question. We challenge students to explore possible transitions in mobility systems and the opportunities these systems offer in terms of improving the vitality and sustainability of the urban fabric.
In collaboration with: EWI (smart-grids), CITG (mobility systems).

Example project: new fast transport systems.
New transport technologies, like the Hyperloop and the ET3 combine the speed of an airplane with the comfort of a train. However, the effect they will have on the urban fabric is unclear. This question requires explorative urban design studies from several perspectives, ranging from the positioning of the stops, to the location of the trajectories, the network, and the general impact on cities and regions. We challenge students to contribute to these open questions, and by doing so, strengthening these initiatives from an urbanism perspective.
www.delfthyperloop.nl, www.et3.com

Theme 2. Health and climate

Urban engineering has had a huge impact on human health, safety and comfort in the past to facilitate basic needs like sanitation, drinking water, flood prevention, and garbage collection. The contemporary challenges that European or African cities face, require new urban solutions in order to deal with climate change, air pollution, ageing, obesity, or resource scarcity. There is a need to change the way we design the urban fabric: more robust, more responsive, being able to anticipate on various developments. Just imagine that we could claim that Delft urban design can really help people to live longer and more healthy lives? That our urban design will make cities more robust and agile to the impact of urban heat or extreme precipitation. Urban design that is daring, cutting-edge and fun? Just imagine that.
In collaboration with the Urban Metabolism research group.

Theme 3. Urban Growth & Transformation

Cities are evolving along changing needs of inhabitants and in relation to a cultural landscape with an established spatial structure. Societal and technological changes often leave behind traces, spatial elements like transport infrastructure, empty retail facilities or simply out-dated buildings (technological or socio-economic dross-scapes). Theses related to this topic will consider the existing urban fabric as performative base to investigate: 1) what can be considered current or future dross, 2) which alternative programme can reuse dross, considering recent trends of development and technological advances (like 3D printing, reintroduction of manufacturing in cities) and following a system-morphologic approach define 3) what spatial configurations can be re-appropriated in an adaptive way? The focus in the upcoming graduation year will be on 1) dross from retail and manufacturing, and 2) how future types of retail and manufacturing could be accommodated.

Example project: Learning from New York.

Together with the Veld Academy we research the relation between densification and the wellbeing of people. The location is Rotterdam; the reference project is New York.