Research Profile Living Cities

Social challenges
The twenty-first century is labeled as the urban century and sustainable urban development as one of the key assignments for the decades to come. The city is therefore increasingly central in leading academic studies from the fields of social sciences, economy, technology, ecology and governance. Often studied through a single disciplinary lens. How these aspects work together and materialize in the spatial development of the city and its architecture is the specific focus of the Living City program. The City and its Architecture Interpreted as an evolutionary and integrated process of urbanization driven by socio-historical processes. Creating a spatial construct in which aspects of geography, technological systems, urban form and architectural typologies determine each other reciprocally and dynamically: a cultural ecosystem (lagenbenadering).

The Living Cities research is therefore:

•    cross-scalar (correlating spatial scales of region and city or type and block)

•    multi-disciplinary (combining social and urban studies, architectural and urban history and theory as well as city making (comprising both architectural and urban technology, design, planning and policy making) 

•    within a temporal perspective of historical evolution (both retro perspective and prognostic)

•    combining both qualitative and quantitative research methods from social and historical science as well as methods of design research from the spatial sciences (geography, urbanism and architecture) 

Along these lines the Living City Program seeks to contribute to wider academic discourses pleading for an integrated cross-disciplinary urbanization science, conceptualizing both the city and architecture as the materialization of evolutionary processes within an integrated spatial and cultural eco-system: essentially a dynamic socio-spatial-temporal construct.

Thematic Clusters
Within the overarching research focus of an Urbanization science integrating the different aspects and evolutionary logics of sustainable urban and architectural development strategic focus has been made on five thematic clusters. A strategic research agenda substantiated by overlapping research projects forming a portfolio, supported by active participation in relevant networks and matching with the dominant research themes within the strategic research agendas of the university as well as the National and European research agencies. These thematic research clusters are grouped around the themes of: (i) Cultural Heritage, (ii) Sustainability and Circular Cities, (iii) Active Mobility and Health, (iv) Smart Cities and Buildings, and (v) Emerging Materials and Building Technologies.

The living cities research program brings together the research from the chairs of Architectural History and Theory (AHT), Architectural Design and Engineering (ADE), Rational Architecture (RA) and Urbanism and Urban Architecture (UUA). In line with the Departments strategic research agenda on Sustainable Transformation, the program focusses on exploring and understanding the development of the city and its architecture for reuse, adaptation and new interventions in response to these shifting societal challenges.

Program leader: Prof. Dr. Ir. P.J.V. van Wesemael

Program coordination: Dr. Ir. A.R. Pereira-Roders, Dr.Ir. S. Krishnamurthy, Dr. Ir. T.W.A. Schroder, Dr. Ir. S.M. de Sousa Lopes Figueiredo. Dipl.-Ing. H. Apelt

Supervising Professors: Prof. Ir. J. Bekkering, Prof. Dr. B. Colenbrander, Prof. Dipl-Ing. C. Rapp, Prof. Dr. Ir. P.J.V. van Wesemael