History of Architecture and Urban Planning

The History of Architecture and Urban Planning research line explores architectural and urban forms, functions and meanings from long-term, multi-scalar, and multidisciplinary perspectives. It combines diverse methods of historical and historiographical analysis (archival investigation, literature studies, interviews, site visits, statistics and mapping, big data explorations) to understand the construction of the past and its role in the formation of the present. Believing that substantial historical knowledge can only benefit prospective designers, our research aims to anticipate fundamental issues that will impact our immediate and distant futures.

The research group is focused on two different, but entangled approaches:

Flows, nodes, and networks

Architecture and urban form have often been studied as fixities in the past. We argue that nowadays the transformation of places and built form needs to acknowledge global frameworks and mobilities, as well as high, low and vernacular architectures. We study the role of financial and commodity flows, the migration of people, objects and ideas, and the exchange of expert knowledge. Through our Digital Humanities research (ArchiMediaL, Time Travel) and our participation in the Time Machine Organization, we help explore the past for the benefit of the design of the future. Port city regions are a key node in these commodity flows and a focus of our investigations in the LDE PortCityFutures research program and our work with the Union for the Mediterranean. Other themes include the history of urbanism and landscapes, the global petroleumscape, international planning history (IPHS), and global urban history (GUHP).

People, places, and buildings

Constructed environments and buildings are considered key elements in long-term societal change. Their role beyond so-called “high”, popular and vernacular architecture, beyond prioritized (Western) architectural and urban movements is explored, while star-architecture is also investigated. Here, the traditional approaches in architectural, urban and planning history are expanded upon, by exploring diverse architectural representations that are not part of traditional sources, most notably from popular culture, including postcards, maps or toys. Among the research topics are the representation of buildings and cities in professional architectural journals, as well as questions of heritage and sustainability, climate adaptation, health, and the issue of identity in the architectural profession.




Project for research into the automated recognition of buildings in historical images and the development of mixed-method strategies. In close cooperation between architectural historians and computer scientists, ArchiMediaL researches the automatic recognition of architectural and urban forms in diverse visual media that are available digitally or on the web. Recent advances in machine learning have made it possible to process large amounts of data and to train neural networks to recognize spatial forms. As part of our research, we are investigating how computers perceive urban scenarios and which spatial features enable them to distinguish between different cities and buildings. The aim is to facilitate the automatic linking of image content and to prepare these data for the comparative investigation of contemporary and historic built form. We train neural networks to identify buildings in hundreds of thousands of historical images and to find their exact location. ArchiMediaL also uses crowd-sourcing techniques to generate comprehensive data sets needed for automatic image recognition. In this way, experts and interested laypersons help to assess the reliability of the algorithms and can participate in cutting-edge research. ArchiMediaL uses research in computing to address novel questions for the fields of architectural and urban history. Going beyond existing repositories it aims to and to correct potential biases that are inherent in historic data collections, which are often geared towards colonial buildings, high architecture or Western artefacts. The project thus extends the scope of hermeneutic analysis by a quantitative reference system in which subject-specific canons and boundaries are questioned. For the dialogue between architectural history and urban form, this means careful consideration of qualitative and quantitative information and the negotiation of new methodological approaches for future studies. Facts Funder: Volkswagen Foundation Overall budget: € 476.000 Role TU Delft: Lead partner Project duration: January 2017 - January 2020 TU Delft researchers: Prof.dr.ing. Carola Hein Dr. Tino Mager Dr. Jan van Gemert Dr. Ronald Siebes Dr. Seyran Khademi Project partners VU University Amsterdam, HafenCity University Hamburg, University of Duisburg-Essen Visit the project website Contact Carola Hein +31 641141071 c.m.hein@tudelft.nl

LDE PortCityFutures

The LDE PortCityFutures research program contributes to the new LDE strategy in multiple ways. It brings together researchers from humanities, social and design sciences in the LDE who are eager to collaborate. It focuses on the particularities of the port city region where these three universities are located. The Port of Rotterdam, its neighboring cities and municipalities, the Province of South Holland and in fact the greater region are a key example of the challenges of port-city-region interconnections and a place where key transitions need inclusive approaches to develop. Changes in work, production or environmental systems of the port have repercussions throughout the region. Decisions made for the Rotterdam region are interconnected with transformations in other port city regions around the world. Addressing these challenges in and for South Holland provides insights for port city regions globally. To fully understand the developments in the LDE region, we propose comparison of global port city regions. Port cities are internationally connected. What happens in Rotterdam and its hinterland reflects extraction, production, and distribution processes around the world. Studying global examples, including Tokyo (Japan), Sekondi-Takoradi (Ghana), Philadelphia or Savannah (US), where members of our group are working, will help us understand socio-spatial processes in which local communities and urban development, have become implicated in global processes. Cruise shipping, gold extraction, offshore oil-drilling have created intersections between national and global interests, and questions of distribution of opportunities and wealth. Port throughput triggers debates about the distribution of wealth locally and internationally, and about the way the dynamics in this port city relate to wider issues of regional development. Studies of port city regions that focus on the interconnections around the world, taking a scalar perspective, zooming in and out of places, connectivity's and forms of collaboration and contestation can provide novel insights for all places involved. Through its topical focus on port city regions both locally and globally, its integration of humanities, social, and design sciences and its focus on culture and value, this proposal connects to, but doesn’t overlap with other LDE initiatives. Facts Funder: LDE university consortium Programme: Port CityFutures Overall budget: € 351.000 Grant amount: € 351.000 Role TU Delft: Host institute Project duration: February 2020 - mid 2024 TU Delft researchers: Prof.dr.ing Carola M. Hein Dr.ir. Maurice G.A. Harteveld Dr. Ingrid J. Mulder Dr. Reinout J. Rutte Thomas van den Brink Yvonne van Mil Stephan Hauser Penglin Zhu Rachel Lee Dan Baciu Tianchen Dai Paolo De Martino Project partners Leiden University, Erasmus University, University of Ljubljana Visit the project website Contact Carola Hein +31 15 27 87196 c.m.hein@tudelft.nl 0