Florian Boer

Academic year 2019-2020

BK welcomes visiting professor Florian Boer, founder and director of DE URBANISTEN, a Rotterdam-based office for urban research, design and landscape. During his visiting professorship, Boer will focus on the designing of ‘sponge cities’. He states that a city should function as a sponge: porous flexible, breathing and based on natural systems.


Florian Boer (1969) is a freethinking, critical and involved designer and researcher. He is involved in several large scale, complex inner-city redevelopment plans, both nationally and internationally. In all plans, sustainability is a key issue. In Rotterdam, DE URBANISTEN’s design for the water square on Benthemplein combines water storage with the improvement of the quality of urban public space. With the recently opened Sponge garden in the same city, the office aims to further investigate and test new concepts for collecting, retaining and returning water to the natural environment.

Opening ceremony Sponge Garden, Rotterdam - photo De Urbanisten

Visiting professorship

As visiting professor, Boer aims to contribute to both education and research at BK in various ways. The main theme of the Visiting Professorship will be ‘Designing sponge cities – Towards a more nature system-based urbanism’ and will be hosted by the chair of Environmental Technology & Design. 

Our world is changing fundamentally, and themes such as climate change, energy and mobility transitions, ecology and circularity have to become explicit aspects of urban design and landscape architecture. A fundamental shift is necessary. It will occur gradually, but requires radical new ideas. A city should be able to respond to changes as a porous and flexible sponge.

Boer will kick-off his visiting professorship with an opening lecture on ‘Designing sponge cities’ in November 2019. This lecture will be followed by more in-depth seminar sessions, an intensive workshop week and an exhibition, as well as reflection sessions integrated in the master programs of Urbanism and Landscape Architecture. 

More information

For more information about DE URBANISTEN’s recent projects, visit urbanisten.nl.

Water square Benthemplein – photo Ossip van Duivenbode