Projections, Limits, Encounters: the Urban Design month has started

News - 25 October 2023 - Communication BK

The Urban Design month (UDM) will take place between October 24th and November 28th. It aims to inspire everyone, especially students, to dive into the work of this discipline. One of the organisers is assistant professor Victor Muñoz Sanz. “We want to spark new collaborations, new knowledge, new alliances, and new education practices geared towards addressing future challenges.” He encountered a welcome challenge while organising the UDM: a wave of enthusiasm. “Everyone wanted to participate in the programme. It shows the sense of urgency we feel in bringing the urban design perspective into the public eye.”

The UDM originated when the Section of Urban Design, part of the Urbanism department, decided to organise an exhibition and symposium this fall. The group had two initial goals. Firstly, the recalibration of the group by becoming more aware of each other’s work and their position within the field of Urban Design. And secondly, reaching out to a wider audience both within and outside of the faculty. Coincidentally, a number of related events by other members of the faculty were taking shape in the same period. The idea was born to coordinate these efforts and invite more collaborations, with the final product being the UDM. Victor: “we saw an opportunity to be more ambitious, and we took it.”

Everyone can find a fitting event

The events of the UDM are ordered roughly by their outlook, meaning the month starts with a number of reflective events. To name just a few examples, on the 24th of October an exhibition opens in the Oostserre which showcases previous Urban Design-related projects from across the faculty. Three days later, the symposium Repositioning Urban Design in the Berlagezaal will reflect on the current state of the discipline. And Janina Gosseye of the Architecture department organises the ‘Symposium of Urban Design History and Theory’ in the first three days of November.

Richard Sennett is, among others, Honorary Professor at the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, Senior Advisor to the United Nations on the Council on Urban Initiatives, and Visiting Professor of Urban Studies at MIT.

The programme then shifts to a forward-looking agenda. Multiple workshops will engage the students and staff of the faculty with current problems in urbanisation. There are high profile events, like the discussion with influential urban designer Kees Christiaanse the 16th and the lecture of preeminent sociologist Richard Sennett the 24th of November. Both these events are expected to draw in diverse audiences and spark invigorating debates. Finally, the closing event on the 28th of November will focus on setting a collective agenda for the repositining of Dutch design education, to better address the collective and unknown challenges of the future.

Who are the Section of Urban Design?

Urban Design is a diverse group within the Urbanism department, consisting of a mix of researchers and teachers. They are highly involved in the educational side of the faculty, organising multiple courses in both the bachelor and master tracks as well as heading Urbanism graduation studios. 

The group’s mission can be divided among three pillars. Firstly, performing research to better understand urbanisation and the forces which shape the development of cities everywhere. Secondly, developing tools and methods to support urban development, to be used in both education and practice. And thirdly, participating in societal debates surrounding pressing issues such as the climate crisis, technological developments, or the demographic transition.

This third mission is pursued through research projects, events, and producing publications. The idea is to contribute a design-oriented perspective to these often abstract debates. Victor: “We wish to ground these debates, make them specific. Society provides the challenges, and urban design imagines solutions in the built environment.”

The Section of Urban Design is a team of highly motivated researchers and educators with a wide variety of interests and expertise.

More information

Information on the programme, locations and registration can be viewed on the website of the Section of Urban Design at TU Delft.

‘Projections, Limits, Encounters: a Month of Urban Design’ is curated by Taneha Bacchin, Nikos Katsikis and Victor Muñoz Sanz, with the assistance of Julia Moura, Tara Kanj and Noud van de Mast and support by Danielle Hellendoorn and Martine de Jong-Lansbergen. 

The program is the result of a cooperation between the Section of Urban Design (Department of Urbanism) with: Building Ideologies Group and Urban Architecture (Department of Architecture); Section of Spatial Planning and Strategy and Section of Landscape Architecture (Department of Urbanism); Polis Platform for Urbanism and Landscape Architecture; TU Delft Deltas, Infrastructures & Mobility Initiative (DIMI); Platform Ontwerp NL; and Public Programs of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment of TU Delft.

Header image: work of Anne van den Berg.