ABE019 | The Sustainable City: Theories on Urban Design

Course description

During this course we will explore the dynamics of urbanised landscapes and the role of adaptation (and its limits), resilience (anticipation, robustness), transition and transformation, dynamic performance and affordance, sustainability and liveability in spatial planning and design. Methods and techniques will be explained to describe and assess physical, ecological, socio-economic and political systems focusing on narratives and values. The theoretical background will be given in both scientific articles and in a series of lectures and workshops on the transformation of landscapes and inner cities. Before every lecture, students in small groups are required to read selected articles. Following every lecture, the groups are requested to present and discuss their findings and views on the articles. To conclude this course, students are requested to write an essay on a specific topic, which is addressed during the course and combine it, as theoretical framework, to the design project. The essay has approx. 3000 words and pictures. Students that are registered in this course are required to attend all lectures and deliver the essay by the end of the course.

Learning objectives

At the conclusion of each seminar / course the participants will 
- have developed knowledge and understanding of the background on the factual influence of the urban design profession on the task of adaptivity and sustainability
- understand theories on sustainability in relation to urbanism
- have the ability to reflect in a critical way on these theories
- have the ability to develop a critical theoretical position.


Mondays 13:45-16:45 hours

17 February 2020Room VSystem dynamics
24 February 2020Room VIntroduction to sustainability & liveability 
2 March 2020Room VNarratives & values
(socio-cultural, economic and policy analysis)
16 March 2020Room VAdaptivity & resilience 
23 March 2020Room VTransition & transformation
30 March 2020Room VDynamic performance & affordance
20 April 2020Room VAdvances in landscape urbanism
- theory & methods
4 May 2020Room VReview session and Hand in draft theory essay

About the Lecturer(s)/Coach(es):

Dr. Taneha K. Bacchin is Assistant Professor at the chair of Urban Design, TUD Faculty of Architecture, Dep. Urbanism. She holds a PhD (double degree) in Landscape Architecture & Urbanism and Water Science & Engineering from Delft University of Technology jointly with UNESCO-IHE; an Advanced Master Degree in Spatial Planning, GIS & RS (distinction); a Master Degree in Architecture (summa cum laude) from IUAV University of Venice, Italy.  Her research focuses on the design and engineering of climate/water resilient cities, retrofitting urban nature through landscape infrastructure planning and urban ecology principles at different spatial and temporal scales (Green-Blue Infrastructure Design & Engineering). She has experience with environmental and social fragility in Latin America, Europe and Asia. She is also an expert in GIS & RS based design and planning support tools. She was involved in GreenBlueCities (JPI), CORFU (FP7).

DI Birgit Hausleitner is lecturer in Urban Design at the chair of Urban Compositions, TUD Faculty of Architecture, Dep. Urbanism. She holds a master degree in architecture (TU Vienna) and a post master degree in urbanism (EMU TU Delft). BH’s research focusses on the relation between urban configurations and urban programme. She lays special attention on the development of urban structural typologies that allow an evaluation of a cities’ potential for different types of performances from the city to the block scale. BH is an expert in advanced spatial and statistical spatial analysis, relating geographic with various big data. Further she developed a method for morphological cross case comparisons in relation to urban economic activities. She is involved in the JPI project Cities of Making.

Both lecturers combine their research in building up knowledge on the adaptivity of urban environments focusing on the integration of environmental, economic and societal concerns.   

How to enroll

Please send an email with your name, mail address, start date, research group and title of your research to abe@tudelft.nl

Course Info

Course code
ABE 019

Course type
Theory course

Number of participants
min. 8 /max. 16

Course load
8 sessions with lectures and exercises (each session: 3 hours teaching sessions and 3-4 hours home assignments/reading)

Graduate school credits
5 GS credits

Courses, dates and times
Mondays 13:45-16:45 hours (see schedule)

Name of lecturer(s)/coach(es)
Dr. Taneha Bacchin, DI Birgit Hausleitner

Teaching method
Lectures, group discussion and workshops.

Cost price of course (per participant)
Free for PhD candidates