African Public Spaces?

What is public space in African? Does it exist as we may presume? At the current, we are analysing and comparing urban life and presumed public spaces in selected segments of four African cities to map what we know about these cities. It is a first step in deepening cross-cultural understanding: An exiting start of a new exiting scientific journey along Dakar in Senegal, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Maputo in Mozambique, and Lusaka in Zambia.

Image by Vaggy Georgali
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Public Space for all Nations

Good public spaces enhance community cohesion and promote health, happiness, and wellbeing for all citizens.

It has been with this quote that UN Habitat launched the Global Public Space Programme in an aim to improve the quality of public spaces worldwide. Of course, without doubt, the programme stands for a crucial challenge to make our urbanised world better, but what to do? The ideas on this have been matured and agreements seem to saturate the scope at the recent Habitat III conference held last week in Quito. A list of final set criteria is emerging, but this cannot mean that we’re done… By no means this listing will work if stakeholders do not accept that people gather on a variety of places around the globe, in a variety of cultures, hence not just in those urban spaces which are created by Western idealists’ minds: publicly-owned outdoor space.
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Constructing the Commons

Constructing the Commons at
Delft University of Technology

3rd – 4th March 2016

Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment
Julianalaan 134
2628 BL Delft

Investigating ‘the commons’ at the intersection of philosophy, sociology and architecture, keynote speakers Atelier Bow-Wow, Richard Sennett, Margaret Crawford, Paola Viganò and George Baird, discuss the city, public space and social practices during this conference.
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Chinese will Humanise Cities

December 20 to 21, after a lapse of 37 years, the Central Urban Work Conference was held in Beijing. President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech.

Embracing a new round of top-level design, the meeting reflects the Chinese central government attention to work in the cities. It is a more humane attitude. Everyone has its own ideal city in mind. For the country, the ideal city lies in what kind of philosophical concept is dealt with. Although, as the meeting stressed, cities should work as one engineered system, they should “adhere to people-centred development, adhere to human cities for the people. This is what we should do in the urban Works departments from start to end point”. “The city of the future lies in our own hands”, as depicted in the meeting, “so that the people live in the city more convenient, more comfortable, more beautiful.”



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Expo goes Guangzhou

Design Exhibition
Reclaiming the Human Space at
South China University of Technology

on invitation of
SCUT-TU Delft Joint Research Center on
Urban Systems & Environment

8th – 15th November 2015

School of Architecture
381 Wushan Road
Tianhe, Guangzhou




天河区, 广州市

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Royal Visit to Expo

Besides meetings with the authorities and the official events of the state visit, King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands visits the ‘Next City Living Lab’, the Dutch pavilion at Beijing Design Week. The expo embodies innovation and creativity for a better urban future, it also aims to demonstrate the spirit and strengths of Dutch design: Delft University of Technology presents Reclaiming the Human Space to promote social sustainability and better standards of life. In this expo, the king is being informed on the future urban challenges in the People’s Republic, including humanisation of planning, integration of social groups, recreation of community places, and rehabilitation of daily-life environments. This agenda is exposed in the midst of other exhibitions from leading Dutch design firms including West8, OMA, MVRDV, NL Architects and UN Studio.

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Reclaiming the Human Space

Delft University of Technology and
Beijing University of Technology at
Beijing Design Week

Exhibition 1

Reclaiming the Human Space
on invitation of
Netherlands Embassy in Beijing
Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs

23rd September – 30th October 2015

The Nurturing House, Dashilar
21 Sanjing Hutong (near Meishi Street)
Xicheng District, Beijing

In the past decade, Beijing has focused on overall strategies for its rapid urban development. New functional zones, land-use layout, and a comprehensive traffic system, laid the basis for a booming urban economy, and widespread social wealth. Iconic buildings by global starchitects, including works by the ‘Big Dutch’, are evidence of this development. The city has been reshaped. Yet, along its motorways, and in its streets and alleys, we see other images of the city. People feel lost, houses are dilapidated, and the quality of urban spaces is relatively low. The current generation of international design students is taking on these big small-scale issues. Their designs show a more human-centred approach. Therefore, they take the culture of the city as their starting point and work across disciplines in search of answers. A clear paradigm shift. The collaborating universities of technology in Delft and Beijing strongly support this people-oriented approach by means of research. Here they present the outcome of recent studio work as a visual manifesto, forecasting four major challenges in the long-term development trend of the city: Humanisation of Infrastructural Wastelands; Integration of Modernist Fragments; Recreation of Community Places; Rehabilitation of Daily-Life Environments.





西城区, 北京


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Design for the People

Delft University of Technology and
Beijing University of Technology at
Beijing Design Week

Exhibition 2

Design for the People
on invitation of
Shijia Hutong Preservation Association
Chaoyangmen Sub-District Council

23rd September – 7th October 2015

The Shijia Hutong Museum Annex
22 Shijia Hutong (near Dongsi South Street)
Dongcheng District, Beijing

Within boosting big-scale Beijing, community-based spatial action gain exposure. Top-down development and market oriented real-estate is supplemented by communal initiatives. Participatory design is emerging. People ask themselves: How can we make our common courtyards and alleyways more attractive places to linger? Members of the Shijia Hutong Area are pioneering in initiatives inquired by design. Their recently opened museum is one of the many projects. At this place and together with their local partners, the universities of technology of Beijing and Delft present the exhibition ‘Design for the People’ to the public. It showcases a wide set of interrelated design issues inspired and supported by locals: Social investigation and among others the recording of hutong oral history show that improvements on their own living environment are free from any theoretical disciplinary restraint. Their suggestions to strengthen micro-economy derive from local entrepreneurship. Their appreciation for historic streets come from their own memory. Likewise, one will discover that the combat with the increase transport and tourism is foremost their own struggle. In this expo daily issues matter. These have inspired collaborating young designers to rethink issues on a local level. By visualising physical improvements and emphasising the added value for the people, now these designers aim to inspire locals vice versa. Therefore, local residents and visitors are invited to vote for their favoured future.





史家胡同 22号(近东四南大街)
东城区, 北京


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10yrs of Graduation Projects

Liveability and Public Space in the Happy City
9th September 2015, 8:45-10:30h


Delft University of Technology
Room: IO-Bernd Schierbeek
Landbergstraat 15

My faculty in Delft is one of the world’s largest in the field of architecture and urban design. “It is a place that is buzzing with life from early in the morning until late at night, with four thousand people studying, working, designing, conducting research and acquiring and disseminating knowledge*.” In this environment, I have supervised quite some graduates in their final master thesis, all focussed on liveability and public space. What can we learn from them and how to proceed?

Liveability and Public Space in the Happy City [download pdf]

Everyone Contributes

Singapore has been undergoing a fast growth scheme in a short time frame. No single person, no single firm or institution, not even a single government can solve all themselves. So, within the international Vertical Cities Asia competition, exactly this is challenged in the Paya Lebar area. How to house hundred-thousand people per square kilometre in the future?

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