Design and Decision Support Systems (DDSS)


Design and planning problems in architecture and urban planning have become increasingly complex in recent years. Numerous policy documents have asserted that the quest for more integrated solutions needs to be assessed from multiple perspectives. Existing models and tools often fail to meet such requirements.

The aim of the DDSS research programme is therefore to develop groundbreaking design and decision-support systems that focus on particular types of design and planning problems in architecture and urban planning.

The core of the programme is concerned with the formulation of innovative models that can be used to assess the performance of particular designs or plans. Because many types of performances of buildings and especially the built environment are directly or indirectly influenced by the responses of people to changes in their environment, most of these models concern people’s preferences, choices and behaviour. This work is embedded in supplementary research that is focused on theory development, empirical analysis of the phenomena under investigation, and the development of improved or innovative methodologies and computer technology. Individual projects usually focus on one of these aspects; a series of related projects will ultimately lead to a fully operational design or decision-support system.

System components have been developed for specific sub-domains such as the planning of green space, design of energy-neutral neighbourhoods and urban land-use planning, or for general types of problems such as modelling location decisions, activity-based models, and simulation of micro-behaviour in buildings and small-scale environments in evacuation and non-evacuation situations. The work is based on the vision that models and decision-support systems allow researchers and designers to apply state-of-the-art knowledge, models and technology to make better-informed design and planning decisions.


The mission of the research programme is threefold:

 -   Develop groundbreaking, innovative models and design and decision-support systems for specific applications in architecture and urban planning.

 -   Disseminate such progress to practice.

 -   Develop specialized knowledge about user responses to changes in their environment that can be applied to issues currently important to society such as energy use, mobility, information technology, safety, climate change and sustainable urban development.


The main objective of the DDSS research programme is to conduct research that is academically rigorous and of practical relevance. Innovative, fundamental results are submitted for publication to journals with the most critical reviewing standards, and are elaborated in externally funded projects to assess their applied relevance and to foster valorization.

Innovation is based on the objective of exploring new multi-disciplinary issues; DDSS brings together advanced expertise on data collection, modelling, applied computer science and substantive knowledge. The team and programme is consequently unique as most similar programmes tend to focus on either the modelling or the technology. Researchers participating in the DDSS research programme have backgrounds in architecture, urban planning, computer science, artificial intelligence, civil engineering, social psychology, research methods, methodology and statistics.

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