Research Fellowship Urban Forestry

News - 24 May 2018 - Communication BK

René van der Velde (Landscape Architecture) has been appointed as Research Fellow Urban Forestry, cementing a new collaboration between the BK City and the Dutch association for green-space professionals VHG. The collaboration entails the development of research and education on and around trees in the urban environment, from street trees to urban woodlands.

The newly established research fellowship expands attention for this topic on an academic level. This will be done through deepening knowledge, awareness, and activity from the perspective of landscape architecture and urbanism. The focus will be on four topics: urban (landscape) design, urban climate (adaptation and mitigation), urban infrastructure, and urban ecology. 

René van der Velde: “I am really excited about this initiative. There is a relatively large body of knowledge on (urban) trees on a species level. However, we are still lacking so much knowledge on how trees and woodlands are beneficial to cities on the urban design and urban landscape level. For instance, we know that trees have been important, and still are, as a means to structure, beautify, and give meaning to cities. But how can we quantify and qualify this? How can this be integrated into challenges such as climate adaptation and biodiversity? What do trees nowadays mean for a city? What are cultural and socio-ecological qualities of trees and woodlands? These questions will be addressed from the perspective of landscape architecture. In this research initiative, we will be looking into how this urban and landscape scale of trees and woodlands have developed historically in Dutch cities, and what that means for the 21st century. This also goes for the less quantifiable characteristics. The intention is to sketch out how trees and woodlands can become instrumental in the future spatial and socio-ecological fabric of cities.”

The programme will start in September 2018 with a kick-off event. During the three years, an effort will be made to research not only the four topics, but to also create a platform where researchers, administrators, and practitioners will come together in an effort to really put trees on the urban agenda.