Urban Design

Theory and Methods of Urban Design


In the Netherlands, three quarters of the Dutch population live in cities or city-regions. The future quality of life in these urbanized areas depends very much on how they manage and adapt to future challenges of urban transformation. Theory and Methods of Urban Design aims to provide insights into these transformative processes in the Netherlands and worldwide. It focuses on how people and cities interact in an urbanizing world. It studies the change of urban spaces linked to shifts in fundamental drivers, such as demography, climate change or technology and investigates the role and potential of urban design in the production of urban form.

Theory and Methods is organized around three main tasks:

  • It studies urban from and the relation to social processes through both quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis.
  • It explores methods and instruments, through which urban designers, planners and other stakeholders shape the built environment, and investigates design strategies, rules and regulations that motivate their actions.
  • It provides insights into theory building i.e. the ideas and strategies that guide the design of cities and critically reflects upon the different theories and ideas that guide its design.


Research and Education

Theory and Methods understands urban design as a cultural practice that shapes cities and city regions both on the level of the environment, its infrastructure as well as on the level of the urban fabric. It therefore follows an integrative approach addressing problems from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Research focuses on the future challenges of urban transformation, analyzing the urban fabric and quality of live. Through teaching Theory and Methods provides methods for urban analysis and urban design practice and gives insights into discourse and theory-building taking into account the historical and cultural dimension of urban design.


Main fields of expertise

Spaces in Transition – Investigating the impact of city design on processes of urban transformation

  • Processes of urban transformation, growth and shrinkage of cities and city regions and their implications for urban design.
  • Housing and land use policies and their effects on urban design and sustainable neighborhood development.
  • Forms of communality and urban governance as drivers of urban change.

Living Cities – Investigating the impact of city design on livability and health

  • Enhancement of quality of life in urban densification processes.
  • The role of public health and social inclusion in the design of public spaces.
  • The role of housing in urban transformation processes, innovative housing typologies and practices, adequate and affordable housing.


Blog Delta Urbanism: https://deltaurbanism.org


Dr. T. Herdt

Associate Professor


Danielle Hellendoorn