Solving urban issues with education

News - 07 May 2020 - Communication BK

Growth, innovation, and liveability in Dutch cities is the goal of Agenda Stad. Three new research projects of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment are using education to accelerate the development of innovative solutions to these social issues. As part of the 'City Deals Knowledge Making' programme, the projects are working on heritage workshops, connections between universities and municipalities, and a management game.

Within the 'City Deals Knowledge Creation' programme, a number of so-called 'knowledge cities' are striving to speed up the resolution of societal challenges. The connection with researchers, lecturers and students should help this acceleration. This improves the knowledge base and makes for cities with rich learning environments for students. A total of fifteen new projects have been accepted, including three projects by the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at Delft University of Technology. Each project receives € 20.000,- to explore different directions. 

New positions: heritage workshops as a spatial development method for municipalities and design courses

Public participation in defining, valuing, and transforming (landscape) heritage is becoming increasingly important, in which municipalities and provinces are taking the lead. This results in a growing demand from (lower) governments and owners to create clear visions of the future through student workshops and sketching sessions in order to inspire difficult processes. Over the past ten years students have contributed to such social workshops within the course of Heritage Landscapes. The series 'Atelier notes and heritage notes, landscape and city' includes results for complex or emotionally charged heritage such as the Mussert Wall and the rural landscapes in Gelderland. Students have also designed public space for the DRU factory in Doetinchem and for tourism in Giethoorn. What else can be learned by systematically analysing these results?

The aim of the study ‘Nieuwe Stellingnames’ is to develop tools for the use of design visions developed within student workshops. This knowledge can be used to define, value and transform (landscape) heritage into widely supported processes from and for municipalities. Focal point is a student workshop Zuiderwaterlinie for the municipality of Breda. The Zuiderwaterlinie is a line of forts, cities and inundation fields in the province of Noord-Brabant. This workshop is one of five for the entire line. Nowadays this military defence line is a carrier for a new recreational and vital heritage landscape to be developed. In this research TU Delft is collaborating with the municipality of Breda, the Zuiderwaterlinie project office, Staatsbosbeheer and Wageningen University.

For more information about this project, please contact researcher Gerdy Verschuure-Stuip (Urbanism).

Routes to urban issues

Universities and municipalities meet around urban challenges and work in the city to create rich learning environments for students, course coordinators, and municipalities. This is how (coordinating) lecturers have faster access to authentic issues in education through the municipality, municipalities gain access to the university's knowledge network, and students learn to work on real and concrete issues that intrinsically motivate them.

Nevertheless, urban issues are not directly applicable in an educational context. Because of their complexity, multidisciplinarity or political sensitivity, the issues are sometimes difficult to grasp. It is difficult for students, course coordinators, and municipalities to deal with the uncertainty in urban issues at the start of an educational cooperation.

This project searches for a way to provide guidelines in this process from three perspectives: the student, the course coordinator, and the municipality. The process of designing and delineating urban issues will be analysed in different educational forms within two cooperation programmes of Delft University of Technology. On the one hand the cooperation between TU Delft and the municipality of Delft is examined, among other things as a result of the City Deal Knowledge Making. On the other hand the cooperation between AMS Institute, in which TU Delft is a partner, and the municipality of Amsterdam is investigated.

The goal is to build a roadmap, based on various practical experiences from these two collaborations, to give stakeholders insight and guidance in defining issues.

For more information about this project, please contact researcher Nina Bohm (MBE).

City Deal Management Game Rotterdam Delft

The Management Game is the popular name for the design box BK6ON5. Every year, some 300 to 350 third-year bachelor students from the bachelor of Architecture, Urbanism and Building Sciences take part in this course. In ten weeks, students work in groups towards a development vision for a specific Rotterdam area for the next fifty years. From the redevelopment of Blaak (2013) to the Alexanderpolder (2019), everything comes along. This rich learning environment contains a lot of knowledge for the City Deal network. The long-standing relationship with the municipality, the innovative structure of the profession, the close collaboration between teachers and students, and the actual impact of the results in the city contribute to this. Within this project the didactic concept behind the management game will be analysed, and how this can be applied within other cities, levels and contexts.

For more information about this project, please contact researcher Peter de Jong (MBE).

Research on education innovation

These three projects are part of the faculty-wide research programme on education innovation. The projects tie in with two elementary components of education at the Faculty of Architecture. The projects focus on teaching design and actively address the relationship between design, working in the set-up of a studio and project education. The three projects also pay special attention to transdisciplinary education, in which the direct cooperation between university and city takes centre stage.