Knowledge meeting ‘Designer for and in area development’ on 11 November –

Area development is a long-term problem. In these times of great change challenges – think of urban densification, climate adaptation, energy change, but also affordability, health and aging – it is important to have a dot on the horizon that provides direction and guidance for development. And because these tasks cannot be solved individually because they are related to each other, they require an integrated approach and choice.

design power

The design disciplines can help to show this dot on the horizon and provide this approach. By making possible futures imaginable and bringing the parties involved in an area task together in the search for spatial visions for an area, they can help shape the common course.

But how does design work exactly in front of and during area development? With the national environmental vision (NOVI) and the spatial action agenda approaching, this is an excellent time to reflect and look ahead to the way in which we can jointly use design power to achieve integrated area development.


During this meeting, we will present the insights into the research conducted by the Area Development Chair over the past two years. Then, under the leadership of SKG Director Tom Daamen, we discuss with experts in management and policy, research and design and area development practices. Two questions are central here: How can we best use design to find solutions to the challenges we face? And what aspects increase the impact of design research in concrete area developments?

Adri Duivesteijn was, among other things, councilor for construction and physical development of Almere municipality (2006-2013), where he gave form and substance to the political agenda Schaalsprong Almere. His position allowed him to be directly active in practice.

Jannemarie de Jonge is a landscape architect and works with spatial design, politics and research. She received her PhD from Wageningen University on regional design and ‘design dialogue’ as a form of interactive design research. De Jonge is a co-founder and partner at Wing, where she works with strategic issues with a design-oriented approach. From 1 December, she will start as a state adviser for the physical living environment.

Architect and urban planner Marco Broekman is a partner in the design agency BURA and works with an exploratory and collaborative design attitude around urban planning issues, design research and (landscape) architecture.

Maarten Janssen is project director at development investor Amvest and works at DUIN and Floriade 2022 in Almere, among other places. Janssen is a trained planner and has many years of experience with strategic spatial visions and plans and area development practices.

From the ‘front row’, the following experts participate in the interview: Hans ten Hoeve (Atelier X / BZK), Yvonne van Mierlo (Blue Hat Studio), Paul Gerretsen (Association of Delta Metropolis) and Fred Schoorl (BNA).

The insights from this knowledge meeting will be included in the professional publication that will be published after the knowledge meeting.

Research line ‘Spatial design and area development’

Over the past two years, the Area Development Chair has developed a research line on the connection between spatial design and area development. The aim of this research line is to provide more insight into the role of design and influence on area development. In this way, we want to help parties – both designers and others involved in area development – to use design expertise optimally and thereby work together on solutions to the integrated tasks we face.

In this research, we distinguish between two types of design science: design research (design study) and exploratory design (concept and plan development). Designed research takes place in or before the initial phase of area development, sometimes even before there is a clear demarcation of the area or task. We call this’ design to area development ‘; the use of design in front, even before there is any concrete area development. These studies usually have public clients and are aimed at more insight: what area is involved, what opportunities or problems are there, and what solutions are conceivable? Designers explore very different directions of development or scenarios.

In exploratory design (ie concept and plan development) the designer works towards a feasible plan. These are the more well-known phases of area development, with public or private customers, economic calculation and testing in relation to political and legal frameworks (calculation and drawing). Organizational and contract formation also come into the picture. We call this’ design in area development ‘; the use of design during an area development process. But even though design for area development is at first glance an extension of design for area development (and thus seems to build on its results), in practice it is more unruly.

Would you like to read more about this line of research? See our Spatial Design file here

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