Research projects

Example project 1. Better Airport Regions: design methodology

Better Airport Regions: models and development pathways for sustainable urban transformationis a research project supported by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and several international academic and societal partners. This research investigates airport regions of international hub airports. The focus is on the case of Schiphol (the Netherlands) within an international comparative approach with Zurich (Switzerland) as the main reference case. As large-scale urban actors and strong drivers of urbanisation, airports are key players in urban regions. The core hypothesis is that enhanced reciprocity between the airport and its surrounding metropolitan region can facilitate a transformation path towards more sustainable, better airport regions. I developed a design methodology to act in large-scale complex urban environments by combining several (design) methods and involving multiple actors in the decision-making process. In the context of this project, I supervised an MSc student (Martijn Lugten) on noise abating environments for airport regions, raising national media attention and invitations by key stakeholders in the Schiphol region. Both contributed to the conceptual model for the integration of airports and cities, and to transformation scenarios enabling a broad discussion on the future of airport regions.

Partner investigator

Example project 2. Province of North Holland: The Design Dimension of Planning

The design dimension of planning is a four-year action research project commissioned by the Province of North Holland, the Netherlands. The project investigated how the design dimension of Provincial planning can be improved. In parallel, the project contributed to the development of the complexity-cognitive model of urban design as part of my PhD research. A conceptual model of urban design is developed that helps to enhance the design dimension of planning instruments, such as the structural vision of the Province. Specifically, the model is used to analyse design policy instruments to improve the quality of spatial developments: the design guidelines for landscape and cultural history; the design review committee for plans impacting the province; the taskforce to improve the quality of densification; the space exchange regulation; and the Provincial Advisor for Spatial Development. Also, the conceptual model clarifies the role and position of the Provincial design team. Since this was an action research project, various recommendations were directly implemented to improve the quality of Provincial planning, while simultaneously raising awareness about the design dimension of planning.

150,000 AUD – Chief investigator, attracting grant funding

Example project 3. Complexity, Cognition and Urban Planning and Design: academic conference and book

Complexity, Cognition, Urban Planning and Designis a scientific book published in the prestigious Springer’s Complexity Series, which I co-edited with prof. Juval Portugali. This book is the result of the second of an international conference series held in Delft. I am the key figure in the organisation of this conference series. The conferences are supported by the Delft Infrastructures & Mobility Initiative (DIMI) & The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. The second conference aimed to explain how planning and design as basic cognitive capabilities of humans, next to being professional activities, play a role in the complexity of cities. New insights are generated with contributions from renowned scientists from various domains, amongst others: complexity and cities (Michael Batty), design cognition (Andy Dong), zoology (David Eilam), urban design levels (John Habraken), space syntax (Bill Hillier), neuroscience (Scott Kelso), urban design patterns (Stephen Marshall), psychology of planning (Roni Sela), city games (Ekim Tan), emotions and cognitive science (Paul Thagard), termite physiology (Scott Turner), and the psychology of sketching (Barbara Tversky).

150,000 AUD – Co-chief investigator together with Prof. dr. Juval Portugali, attracting grant funding