Waterfront as Environmental Infrastructure

The waterfront is a fragile and thin marginal area where multiple interactions occur between the city and the water. It is not a border or a limit. On the contrary, it is a meeting space, an interchange area, a transition – and tension – between different biological communities. Like all environmental frontiers, the waterfront is an ecosystem with a dynamic and precarious balance. Water-related challenges such as protection from wave motion, and adaptation to multiple conditions (e.g. hydrogeological, health, and environmental risks), albeit relevant, are often addressed in a sectorial way through confusing and ineffective procedures and plans. The centrality that the environment assumes in the transformation processes of the land-water interfaces requires the preparation of a design approach that aims to operate as a device capable of providing a response to social and ecological rebalancing, in terms of resilience as well as energy efficiency, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and environmental safety. Urban design solutions need to consider the availability of resources; social-environmental changes are confronted with the long time of ecological-environmental processes and adaptations. At the same time, targeted interventions correlate with the many ongoing and planned activities in the specific territories.
According to this approach, the concept of a waterfront becomes an environmental infrastructure, overcoming obsolete ideas of waterfronts as purely related to commercial development. The design of a waterfront is incremental and inter-scalar and it considers the risks and socio-ecological environmental fragility of coastal territories as priority themes to trigger urban, and territorial, regeneration.

Faculty of Architecture, TU Delft

September 8, 2022
15:00-17:00h

Matteo Di Venosa (speaker)
Carola Hein (discussants)
Paolo De Martino
Elise van Dooren
Maurice Harteveld

Public Health + Public Space

Health is an important societal topic in the Netherlands. In one of the most densely populated countries in the world, healthy living environments reduce diseases, deaths, healthcare costs, and shifts focus from prevention and medicalising on the individual levels to taking care of communities. Still, for example, the air quality in the Netherlands is considered moderately unsafe, resulting in the highest rate of asthmatic children worldwide. The same goes for recordings of diseases related to polluting substances on land and in water. This makes public spaces social determinants of public health. We see similar correlations when it comes to the presence of infectious microbes and parasites, and environmental stress. Especially in world port-cities like Rotterdam unhealthy conditions coincide with unequal socio-spatial patterns. Here the impact on individual health is largely untraceable. Understanding the impact of inherent industrial and human activities on urban areas at the neighbourhood level and crossing it with heterogeneous data sets help us understand the socio-spatial impact of pollution-related and vector-borne diseases on cities. Measuring environmental pollution in public spaces can tell us e.g. more about the impact of air quality on citizens as a group. Statistical time series and cross-sectional data analyses can be applied to generate valid correlations if they are made geo-specific. By using machine learning and AI technologies we cross data on environmental pollution with other heterogenous socio-spatial and temporal data sets. The use of mapping, spatial statistics, and urban narratives including historical data can lead to a better understanding of the lived experience at the local level. Through workshops at the local level and notably in the public spaces of the city, we engage the general public and local decision-makers in discussions on public health using advanced computer models for visualisation. The Rotterdam case study provides insights applicable in other cities internationally.

See: Dutch Research Agenda (NWA) initiative on Public Health and Public Space

Designing Domestic Places

Public space is the place to play, move and meet. This applies to our rich city center with all its shops and restaurants, but just as much to residential areas. But how can we make these public spaces even more attractive for all types of users?

At the beginning of February, students from TU Delft, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, and Inholland University of Applied Sciences developed various ideas for the public space in the Tanthof district. In various teams, the students have investigated how existing routes or routes to be designed can be provided with ‘stopping points’: places where you can rest for a while, look around and chat with other residents.

During this meeting of Delft Design, these design sketches will be briefly explained and we would like to discuss these design sketches with you and, among others, Tako Postma (City Architect of Delft), Eveline Berghout – van der Schee (urban designer, City of Delft), Maurice Harteveld (researcher, Design of Public Spaces, TU Delft), Ben Kuipers (landscape architect) and Flip Krabbendam ( architect) in a discussion about the preconditions for successful public space.

The discussion starts with a lecture on
Designing Domestic Places
by Maurice Harteveld

Afterward, there is an opportunity to chat and view the different designs. This while enjoying a snack and drink.
The challenge is organized by Delft Design in collaboration with the City Deal Kennis Maken Delft, study association POLIS and architect Flip Krabbendam.
 De openbare ruimte is dé plek voor spelen, bewegen én ontmoeten. Dat geldt voor onze rijke binnenstad met al zijn winkels en horeca, maar even zo goed voor woonwijken. Maar hoe kunnen we deze publieke ruimten nog aantrekkelijker maken voor alle type gebruikers?

Begin februari hebben studenten van de TU Delft, De Haagse Hogeschool en Hogeschool Inholland verschillende ideeën uitgewerkt voor de openbare ruimte in de wijk Tanthof. In verschillende teams hebben de studenten onderzocht hoe bestaande of nieuw te ontwerpen routes kunnen worden voorzien van ‘halteplaatsen’: plekken waar men even kan uitrusten, kan rondkijken en een praatje kan maken met andere bewoners.



Tijdens deze bijeenkomst van Delft Design worden deze ontwerpschetsen kort toegelicht en gaan we graag met u en onder andere Tako Postma (stadsbouwmeester van Delft), Eveline Berghout – van der Schee (stedebouwkundige. City of Delft), Maurice Harteveld (onderzoeker, Design of Public Spaces, TU Delft), Ben Kuipers (landschapsarchitect) en Flip Krabbendam (architect) in gesprek over de randvoorwaarden van succesvolle openbare ruimte.



De discussie wordt geopend met een lezing over
Het Ontwerpen van Huiselijke Plekken
door Maurice Harteveld

Na afloop is er gelegenheid tot napraten en het bekijken van de verschillende ontwerpen. Dit onder het genot van een hapje en drankje.
De challenge wordt georganiseerd door Delft Design in samenwerking met de City Deal Kennis Maken Delftstudievereniging POLIS en architect Flip Krabbendam.

The Public Space as Meeting Place
De Openbare Ruimte als Ontmoetingsplek

where:
Prinsenkwartier en online

when:
2 March 2020
open 19.30, start 20.00 untill 22.00

More: Delft Design, City Deal Kennis Maken Delft

Design Challenge for Students

City Deal ‘Kowlegde Making Delft’ is organising a challenge about the use and design of public space for ambitious students who would like to push their boundaries. How can we make the public space more attractive for all types of users as a place to play, move and to meet?

More: Design Challenge: Public Space as a Meeting Place

Partners:
the Municipality of Delft
The Hague University of Applied Sciences
Inholland University of Applied Sciences
Delft University of Technology
Delft Design

Empowering Resilient Communities

Resilient Communities | Comunità Resilienti

Following earlier presentations of the Design of Public Space research group from Delft, Maurice Harteveld participates in the ‘Empowering Resilient Communities’ event organised at the Italian Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice, on Friday 12 November, from 2 pm. As part of the international scientific committee of the pavilion, he will reflect on various Italian projects, which will be presented in this session. His review relates to a broader inventory of actions, which are being currently taken in the networks of public space to strengthen community resilience. Rotterdam serves as an exemplar, and as such these actions challenge the design of public space, and with that among others the disciplines of urban design, landscape architecture, and architecture.

The Italian Pavilion has organised the event as an opportunity to present and discuss some of the experiences already included in the research project Mapping Resilient Communities, while providing a platform for knowledge transfer and capacity development, especially in most vulnerable areas, in Italy and beyond, with the participation of UN-Habitat.

when:
Friday 12 November
14:00-17:00h

where:
17th International Architecture Exhibition
Italian Pavilion
Venice
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Expo SubTerra

New Roots for Underground Urbanism – Exhibition


photo by Joran Kuijpers

City x Space: Cross-Section Thinking

How can the integral and multifunctional use of public space, subsurface, and buildings -within a densified urban environment – create space and value that contribute to an attractive and future-proof living environment?

“This seminal question generates various answers depending on the specific context and location of asking. International interdisciplinary students from Delft University of Technology have outlined various design solutions. Manifest in all cases are the spatial bottlenecks on the level of public space. Connecting the intervention areas with the surrounding socio-spatial networks, therefore, forms the basis of all solutions. In addition, in the densification challenges we see the attention for the multi-layered space: on the one hand, a train or metro station, for example, generates flows of people at several levels; on the other hand, building in higher densities and/or living and working in collectives, generates new shared spaces.” As Maurice Harteveld explains in the exhibition; “The hybridization of the urban and architectural program also requires a cross-section thinking. This can be seen in future-proofing both large-scale sports or industrial areas, as well as small-scale residential houses in neighborhoods where work is shifting to local entrepreneurs and home workers. Finally, the subsurface plays an important role in greening the living environment and in water storage.”
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City x Space

In the spring of 2021, the Delft University of Technology, COB Platform of Subsurface Construction, the Environmental Department of the Flemish Government, and the Deltametropolis Association have started a design study exploring the possibilities of integral and multifunctional use of space within highly densified cities. Design consortia from practice have been invited to choose from a number of cases in The Netherlands and Flanders involving spatial bottlenecks in ​​public space, subsurface, and buildings. Seven teams have already started.

Underground Use of Space as a Game-Changer
Due to the convergence of a multitude of tasks and transitions (energy, climate, circularity, mobility) in ever densifying cities, the pressure on public space is increasing. It is especially today because these cities also have to absorb a large share of the housing assignment, following the aims to preserve the rural landscape as well as to reduce the pressure on the current mobility system. However, how much densification is (still) possible for locations that are already overloaded with functions and programs and where the public space – both above ground and below ground level – threatens to silt up and get stuck?

Current and future space claims require careful consideration of the options for using space more effectively and efficiently, with the aim of increasing the ‘spatial efficiency’ of the city in an innovative way.

In the design study, partners focus on a different view of the organisation of urban programmes and transition tasks while they search for new ways of thinking, patterns, and solutions for integral and multifunctional use of space from the cross-section.

The central question:

How can integral and multifunctional use of public space, subsoil, and buildings within a densified urban environment create space and value that contribute to an attractive and future-proof living environment?

The design study has resulted in various spatial designs with visions of the future and implementation strategies. A number of urban locations as case studies are being worked on, namely Ostend, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Mechelen, Leuven, and Maastricht. For each case study, a multidisciplinary team was selected (in Rotterdam 2) of spatial designers (architects, urban planners, landscape architects), engineers, and the experts required for underground developments such as geo-technicians.

Stad x Ruimte / City x Space

Partners:
Centrum voor Ondergronds Bouwen / COB Platform of Subsurface Construction
Departement Omgeving Vlaanderen / Environmental Department of the Flemish Government
Deltametropolis Association / Vereniging Deltametropool

Creating Value through Public Space

The United Nations just launched the ‘UN-Habitat State of the World Cities Report 2020 on the Value of Sustainable Urbanization‘. “COVID-19 has transformed our urban world. However, it does not signify the end of cities. Urban areas hold the key to resilient, green recovery, and building back better!”, Victor Kisob, th assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat states. The United Nations emphasises that we create “value through public space”. This includes interior public spaces, which were closed due to COVID19-induced lockdowns recently. In this case, “local governments must work to provide sanitation infrastructure in all public spaces in order to mitigate the health risk”. Yet, also, “when designed with climate adaptation, mitigation and resiliency, components of cities from buildings to public spaces can create communities that enhance environmental values”. They also enhance social and economic values. “Cities can unlock the intangible value of sustainable urbanization by creating public spaces and opportunities for democratic participation and social inclusion that allow the cultural fabric of urban life to flourish”. And, public space can offer a livelihood for people to be entrepreneurial and take part of labour work. Equality plays a huge role in sustainable urbanisation. “Diversity contributes to the social, economic and environmental value of urbanization through tolerance, integration, and coming together in public spaces.” This includes for instance the representation of the urban poor, migrants, and cultural minorities, hence this should lead to prioritising “their needs in any decision-making process, be it about the urban commons, atmospheric commons, public spaces or resource use”. And, “engage a wider audience – e.g. children and youth – in urban planning and design processes for safe, inclusive and accessible public space.” Everyone should “understand their rights to access public spaces and services”. I would like to add: Our challenge is to contribute to the design of public spaces for everyone.


World Cities Report 2020

Public Space in the Entrepreneurial City

New public spaces have emerged in the entrepreneurial city. Their existence relates to entrepreneurial action of public governments, of the people, inhabitants of the city, and of entrepreneurial alliances of civic actors. The entrepreneurial way of governmental action led particularly to new spatial conditions and typologies as governments delegated the responsibilities for the production and management of public space to private actors. This extended the debate to the city’s public space in its ubiquitous shopping malls and private residential estates. Secondly, the opportunities which the city offers for the entrepreneurial contributions of general citizens, migrants, and refugees, relate to its public spaces too. Characterised by the proximity of mixed land-uses and flexible building typologies, as well as a well-connected street network and high density, the new urban typologies, effecting public space in their socio-economic nature, are found in many places, using the same models concerning citizens initiatives and popular action. Lastly, new emerging alliances of actors form the relationship of the ‘entrepreneurial city’ and public spaces. These alliances of civil society groups comprise old and new NGO’s, academics and activists, and start-ups of social enterprises launch own initiatives to co-designs alternative community spaces, more affordable and communicative workspaces, and build capacities. Such trends can be seen in cities worldwide too and start to create new forms of public spaces, which facilitate social interaction while creating more micro-economic opportunities.

Read full editorial online:
Maurice Harteveld and Hendrik Tieben (eds) (2019) ‘Public Space in the Entrepreneurial City’, In: The Journal of Public Space (Special Issue), 2019, Volume 4, Number 2, pp. 1-8
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