Urban Fabrics Graduation – approach

Graduating as part of Urban Fabrics implies you will start designing early in the process, as we consider design an excellent tool for conducting research. Thus, your projects will begin with reading a concrete place or phenomenon to understand the actual urgencies, potentials and constraints of (a) place(s). We then promote two complementary approaches, including iterating phases of imagination and evidence:

  • Design – driven by science. In this case, design is used to explore various possibilities that arise from fundamental research intonew technologies and developments in science. The urban impact of these technologies and developments is explored, providing feedback, and giving insight into future challenges and possibilities.
  • Design – driven by practice. In this case, design addresses questions arising from practice based on socio-technical trends in society. You are invited to involve actors from practice as part of your project. In designing in a multi-actor setting, you will be able to test your design ideas and methods with relevant stakeholders, including end-users, governmental organisations, developers, etc.

Design testing takes place in the framework of scenarios, considering the possible, probable and desirable. The possible, probable and desirable are related to different stages of a project. What is possible is investigated by exploring everything imaginable; the probable comprises reflection and assessment of everything possible to the likely to happen. The desirable promotes value-driven design shaped by paradigms of a concrete time and place.

The imaginative phase of your project can be supported in different scale levels, for example, by learning from reference cases, working with metaphors, (local) stories, literature or music, and being informed by future studies. The design assessment and reflection phase requires methods like advanced spatial analytics, interviews or workshops with local actors. The development of patterns can support the synthesis from reading local spatial practices, the spatial analyses, your theoretical body of knowledge and the scenario outcome. The methods and tools mentioned here will be offered either as part of the graduation essentials or the intensives. Some components will also be elaborated further during Q6, after you have completed P1.

(Figure: Taeke de Jong (2012) Diversifying environments)

Design projects conducted within the Urban Fabrics studio always have to consider the local place – the fabric comprised of street networks, buildings, and urban blocks embedded in the relevant urban systems. This means the design of a place will, to some respect, always be multi-scalar, from the building to the metropolitan region. This also implies that potentials and limitations for design can appear from requirements of related disciplines. During Q6 Urban Fabrics will provide further lectures and workshops for further elaboration of design and analysis methods, having practitioners introducing inspiring and complex projects from practice and peer sessions.

During the graduation process, the research group offers various supportive workshops on:

  • Patterns & urban design;
  • Designing with scenario’s;
  • Imagination & evidence;
  • Space Syntax;
  • GIS & the urban fabric; and
  • VR and/or AR.