For the graduation year 2017-2018 we propose the following three themes. These themes are closely related to running or new research projects.
THEME 1. TECHNOLOGY
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.
THEME 2. HEALTH
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.
THEME 3. GROWTH
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 and question the suitability as well as alternatives of the urban layout to accommodate the changes triggered by different drivers. Exemplary drivers for growth are increasing population growth in the main metropolitan areas or more recently, the dominance of specific activities like tourism, but also the necessity to mitigate climate change. All drivers ask for questioning the built layout of the city when looking for spaces to accommodate the growth and its distribution/density of people and thus also built form.