Fields of Interest

Each project is clearly linked to one or several fields of interest:

o Making the public-private-collective.
We are increasingly confronted with different types of open spaces for which the distinction public/private is no longer effective. Beside public and private different forms are being developed
§ How to develop a new vocabulary for these open spaces and how to relate them to buildings and programs?
§ The focus in this research for a new vocabulary is on ways to strengthen unexpected use and appropriation thus strengthening the local identities.
§ A special focus is on contemporary streetscapes

o Local identities – Practices and discourses of collective spaces
The inextricably intertwined elements of space-production, identities and place-making is investigated, focusing on the existing inherited buildings and fabric. The emphasis is laid on the development of (fragile) intangible aspects of the tangible edifices. It explores how meanin.g is constructed by (re)appropriating and (re)negotiation by locals and/or newcomers. Elements such as globalisation, ownership and legacy, community engagement, (super)diversity, re-interpretation & regeneration strategies of modest heritage, local empowerment… are taken up.

o The narrative of design.
§ How to take design away from an exclusive relation between design and object or program? The narrative of design is a research of the non-tangible character of design
§ This exploration of the structuring capacity of the narrative of design takes several forms
· The narrative of heritage
· The narrative of the site. Reading the site as the regulatory aspect of the design
· The narrative of use and reuse. How to value the fascination for appropriation, use and reuse in design?

o Collective Spaces and limited resources
The research on collective spaces is especially essential in difficult areas as: deprived neighbourhoods, districts under pressure or the developing world context. Research on the existing inherited urban fabric, buildings, typologies and spaces (often of modest nature) and on the ways in which identity is produced is crucial. Often built in other times for other social or ethnic groups they are appropriate in new ways due to migration. The focus is on the fragile and nontangible aspects, developing strategies the reuse and regeneration. It requires a highly critical rethinking of needs, methods and tools for mapping and intervention. Elements as changing social demands, limited resources and missing technical expertise are taken up.

o Collective Spaces in the Dispersed City
§ Dispersed urbanity has been studied in several ways. Current research is focused on a regional scale. However the group changes the focus on the intermediate and small scale
§ On the small scale the need to develop a new vocabulary is essential. We tend to copy urban or landscape configurations while the mix of city and land needs a proper vocabulary…

o Bottom-up participative design – Collective Reflexivity {in} and {through} Design.
This research covers an interdisciplinary area between architecture and urban design, bottom-up participation and digital spatial media. The ‘bottom-up reflexivity {in} design’ integrates research, development and real world testing of collective action and agile strategies to support sustainable ways of self-organization and bottom-up learning. Examples of these are digital spatial media such as crowdsourcing platforms, ICT-enabled collective and counter mapping practices as well as social-geographic web (Geoweb 2.0) environments that augment design learning.
‘Bottom-up reflexivity {through} design’ looks at everyday life as a site for transformative spatial practice and explores alternative ways for enabling reflexive and empowering participation modes through design. It involves recognizing and creating spatial qualities that enable the users to shape and reshape their own living environments. Some of the key design concepts are super-diversity, open form, dynamic program, adaptability, spontaneity, open sources practices, looseness and polyvalence.