Graduation project: Iren Koomen

On December 16 2014, Iren Koomen graduated on ‘Street Smart – A Social Learning Perspective on the Restructuring of Oud-Charlois’.

The graduation process Street Smart focuses on the problems prevalent in problem neighbourhoods, particularly those that affect young people. By creating a link between the social sciences and urbanism, this projects aims to create socio-spatial interventions that target both the social and spatial dimension of the problems at play. This approach is illustrated through a practical case study of the neighbourhood of Oud-Charlois. It’s design is specifically focused on supporting children and adolescents, who are not merely target groups but also co-designers of the project.



Besides addressing an investing societal topic, it is an example excellent thesis from a methodological point of view: developing a (innovative) theoretical framework, an in depth context analysis (including workshops at a primary school), the development of design patterns, and an elaborated design proposal integrating the various elements.

Iren’s work can be found in the repository of the TU Delft.

  • Main mentor: Egbert Stolk
  • Second mentor: Maurice Harteveld

New book by Herman Haken & Juval Portugali: Information Adaptation

Information adaptation: The interplay between Shannon information and semantic information in cognition

More information can be found on the website of Springer. Disciplines concerned: Information science, compute science, cognitive science, complexity science/dynamical systems, neuroscience, urbanism. The book will be published in the beginning of 2015.

Graduation project Martijn Lugten

On July 1st 2014, Martijn Lugten graduated on ‘Re-sil(i)ence – design patterns for an aircraft noise abating spatial environment’. Instead of focusing on the noise source (the aircraft) this research aims to develop mitigations which can be applied within the built environment for different varieties of aircraft noise.

The project showed that the resulting twenty-four design patterns are effective to translate (technical) information to design and planning tools and incorporates today’s complex realm of (airport) urban planning and design. One of the design proposals is the development of a multi-functional noise barrier (page 234 of his report):

Besides addressing a highly relevant societal topic, the project is an excellent example of the development and application of a pattern language to deal with the complex nature of the urban environment.

Martijn’s work can be found in the repository of the TU Delft.

  • Main mentor: Egbert Stolk
  • Second mentor: Frank van der Hoeven, chair of Urban Design

Update: news items related on ‘Re-sil(i)ence’:

Graduation project Sarah Oudenaarden

On June 27, Sarah Oudenaarden graduated on a MSc-thesis called ‘Framed-space versus Free-space’. She developed a design method based on notions of control and complexity, and applied this in a design study for Hirzbrunnen South, Basel, Switserland. The conclusions of the literature review are summarised in the following diagram (see page 37 of her report):

One of the contributions of her work is the application of a schema proposed by Findlay and Thagard in their paper ‘How parts make up wholes‘ within the domain of urbanism. In doing so, the project clarifies the relations between the various scales in urbanism.

Sarah’s work can be found in the repository of the TU Delft.

  • Main mentor: Egbert Stolk
  • Second mentor: Denise Piccinini, chair of Landscape Architecture
  • Third mentor: Robbert Jan van der Veen (external mentor, Plein06)

New paper: A SIRN view on design thinking – An urban design perspective

In this paper we bring together two notions: SIRN (synergetic inter representation networks) that was originally developed as a complexity theory approach to cognition, cognitive mapping, and urban dynamics; and DT (design thinking) which is a field of research that studies the general process of design as it is implemented in domains such as engineering, architecture, urban design, crafts, and art. In the paper we suggest how a SIRN view can contribute to DT, and specifically to urban design—dealing with large-scale collective artifacts. We conclude by presenting a research agenda that illustrates and exemplifies SIRN’s potential to participate in the discourse on some central DT issues.

Keywords: SIRN, complexity, cognition, design thinking, urban design

The paper will be publised in Environment and Planning B. The paper can be downloaded here.

Graduation project Laurien Korst

On April 15, 2014, Laurien Korst graduated on her MSc-thesis ‘Mare;’ an exploration of the relationship between narratives and imagination, movement and experience – in search for a narrative approach to urbanism – and was inspired by the PhD thesis ‘Urban Literacy’ (Havik, 2012). The project focused on the inner harbor of Katwijk aan Zee, The Netherlands – an illustration (see page 45 of her report):

The project is an excellent example of a reflective design process, in which different types of representations are used in parallel: narratives, stories, interviews, sketches, watercolors, mock-ups, etc. This process is illustrated by an extensive logbook.

Laurien’s work can be found in the repository of the TU Delft.

  • Main mentor: Egbert Stolk
  • Second mentor: Daniel Jauslin, chair of Landscape Architecture
  • Third mentor: Klaske Havik, Department of Architecture

Graduates, 2008-2013

From 2008-2013, 6 of my MSc-students graduated. More information can be found in the repository of the TU Delft.

  • Feltins, Aleksandrs (2013) Research on How to diversify microrayon. A pattern language for user control facilitating urban design in large postwar estates. The case of Plavnieki, Rīga. Repository.
  • Jaarsma, Mariët (2013) Endless Stationsweg: The Stationsweg as starting point for natural neighbourhood renewal. Repository.
  • Liu, Zoe (2013) Liveable port, passive zone. Repository.
  • Lijnse, David (2012) The Hubway: A new mobility system in a future urban environment. Repository.
  • Jansen, Thijs (2009) Emerging Neighbourhoods: Or why piece-by-piece urbanism leads to flexible and diverse city development. Repository.
  • Lee, Ji Young (2008) From urban barrier to urban connector: How to intervene to dissolve the existing barrier of the former military base. Repository.

Graduation project Alexandrs Feltins

On June 25 2013, Aleksandrs Feltins graduated on a research on how to diversify microrayons in his hometown Riga, Letland. For this, he developed a pattern language (16 patterns) for user-control facilitating urban design in large postwar estates. Besides, 3 design diagrams are developed to generate a vision. Based on the patterns and vision, several projects are defined and elaborated. The figure on page 146 of his report illustrates these steps (mapping patterns – 3 design diagrams – existing situation – design proposal):

The work of Aleksandrs is a rich combination of theoretical concepts, well-elaborated patterns, and creative design ideas synthesized in seven concrete design proposals.

Aleksandrs’s work can be found in the repository of the TU Delft.

  • Main mentor: Egbert Stolk
  • Second mentor: Paul Stouten, Chair of Spatial Planning and Strategy

2e plaats Plandag 2011: Alles is anders en andere illusies

Martian_face_viking_croppedEen paper met een sterk afwijkende inhoud van wat gebruikelijk is. Een prijs winnen leek me een illusie.

Download hier het paper.

Uit het juryrapport:
“Egbert Stolk van de faculteit Bouwkunde van de Technische Universiteit Delft heeft de duidelijke verdienste ruimtelijke planners een spiegel voor te houden. Door te wijzen op de valkuil van ingebakken denkpatronen en cognitieve illusies, waarschuwt hij deze planners en beleidsmakers voor het keer op keer opnieuw uitvinden van het wiel, bij het plannen van de toekosmt. De invalshoek om ruimtelijke planning te koppelen aan onderliggende principes van het cognitieve proces wordt door de jury als origineel ervaren. Het is een afwijkend paper, met een strakke betooglijn en stelt een universeel thema onder de aandacht. De jury apprecieerde in het bijzonder de inbedding van de gedachtengan van de auteur in de internationale literatuur.”