Dr. C.J. van Oel

Dr. C.J. van Oel


Clarine is an environmental psychologist and associate professor in the Department of Management in the Built Environment at TU Delft, the Netherlands.

User-communication, empowerment and co-design

Visualisation of buildings, space and place add to a better communication between residents, patients and other lay users and professionals as design is normally expressed in a visual language. Following Star and Griesemer (1989), visualizations can be considered as Boundary Objects (BOs), which will be flexible enough to adapt to individual needs of involved stakeholders, yet specific enough to maintain a common meaning across all different stakeholders to support decision-making in participatory procedures. 

Recently, I was granted 2 NWO projects in which we will develop the use of VR as a means to communicate AND empower social tenants during sustainable renewal of their homes.

  1. uVital: NWO grant (k€250) in which I collaborate with Meloek Mlihi (uVital researcher), Arno Freeke (VR-Zone,  https://vrzone.tudelft.nl/ ), Jelle Koolwijk (DCM), and Dirk Zuiderveld (Noorderberg & Partners) with housing association Acantus in Veendam to organize a living lab in which we will develop virtual reality modules to better communicate and empower social tenants during the sustainable renovation of their homes. 2020-2013.
    The project is part of a collaborative project funded as part of the Trans-Atlantic Platform (https://transatlanticplatform.com/activities/social-innovation/) together with Prof. Doris Kowaltowski (University of Campinas Brazil; LPI), Prof. Sigrun Kabisch (UFZ Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Germany), Dr. Clarine van Oel (Technische Universiteit Delft) and Prof. Patricia Tzortzopoulos Fazenda (University of Huddersfield, UK).

  2. VR-Renovate, NWO program Transition and Behaviour: as a main applicant and together with Elmar Eisemann (TU Delft EEMCS, chairing the computer graphics and visualization group), we received a grant for two PhDs (total budget of k€660). In the next 5 years, and together with Arno Freeke (New Media Center/VR-Zone), Dirk Zuiderveld van Noorderberg & partners, and Jelle Koolwijk, we will team-up with the 3 contractors Knaapen Groep, Mateboer Groep, and Zaanderwijk Beheer. VR-Renovate complements the uVital project. uVital emphasizes the role of VR as boundary objects as a means for social innovation, whereas VR-Renovate will enhance the quality of the immersive visualization and will develop a feedback tool to further enhance communication. 2020-2025.

Both projects follow up on previous work with students and the NWO-project Beyond the Current in which we used visual questionnaires with discrete choice experiments to identify the most important design factors.

Healthcare architecture: design and management

I have a keen interest in Healthcare architecture and interdisciplinary collaboration. For this reason, together with Luc Willekens (section of Architecture), I initiated the Health@BK graduation lab for master graduates from MBE, CME, and Architecture. In the Health@BK lab we closely collaborate with care providers (Pieter van Foreest in Delft, and Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam). Here, students do research into the preferences of patients / elderly people for / during the design of Healthcare real estate. Other topics are f.i. how Healthcare real estate can add value to the care provider.

Green View Study Erasmus MC

Between 2018 and 2021, I will replicate - together with Erasmus MC - the initial study of Ulrich (1984) in Science that outside view to greenery is benefical to patients. Given the available evidence, the new Erasmus MC has roof gardens, and this offered the opportunity to replicate the study using today's methodological standards.

Further background

Before my current position, I worked for more than 15 years as researcher in public health and psychiatry. I obtained my PhD based upon a twin and family study of risk factors in schizophrenia.

Scopus, Author ID: 6602909369; H-index=13

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  • 2021-9-3

    Best paper award for the theme Industrial Strategy

    International SEEDS conference 2021: Sustainable Ecological Engineering Design for Society, 1-3 September 2021 Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, United Kingdom.
    International Sustainable Ecological Engineering Design for Society conference 2021

  • 2021-9-3

    Research Innovation Sustainability Enterprise (RISE) award in the category Contracting and Construction Management

    These highly regarded awards seek to recognize, celebrate and showcase exemplar case studies from the Built Environment sharing emerging best practice in Research, Innovation, Sustainability and Enterprise for new and innovative products, technologies, processes, projects and schemes. The award was presented by the Leeds Sustainability Institute, Technological University Dublin, Suffolk Sustainability Institute, and the University of the West of England.
    Research Innovation Sustainability Enterprise Award

  • 2019-4-12

    Paper presented at PM congress selected as best paper on the theme collaboration

    The mediation role of teamwork between a no-blame culture and team effectiveness in project-based design teams in the contruction industry
    Project Management Congress “ADAPT or DIE”.

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