Category Archives: international network

No clicks without bricks

by Alexandra den Heijer

Last week our president Dirk Jan van den Berg gave a speech in Milan that created a buzz – for the 32nd Conference of Rectors and Presidents of European Universities of Technology. One of his quotes can be found below.

“I would argue that the university system in Europe is at least as determining for Europe’s future as the banking system. We too are too important to fail. So why not conduct a university campus stress test to assess the robustness of Europe’s higher education and research infrastructure. I fear the outcomes will be rather chilling and will call for an extensive overhaul of the existing facilities.”

TU Delft president Dirk Jan van den Berg

He pleads for a university campus stress test to assess both the state of current campuses and the campus strategies, to make sure that the (scarce) resources for higher education are spent in the most effective way. More about this tool and our research “European campus” can be found on the page RESEARCH: EUROPEAN CAMPUS (2014). His speech can be downloaded as a PDF file: 2013-09-28 Milan, Italy – speech TU Delft president DJvdB. A reflection on his speech (in Dutch) can be found on the ScienceGuide website: http://www.scienceguide.nl/201310/te-groot-om-om-te-vallen.aspx

Dirk Jan van den Berg also gave interviews (in Dutch) about the university campus stress test for newspaper De Volkskrant and for radio station BNR – 4-minute interview.

BK city's population is back after summer

BK city’s population is back after summer – working in teams, emphasizing the importance of a physical learning environment, next to all the online learning and online communities

Dirk Jan van den Berg also stated that there will be “no clicks without bricks”, highlighting the importance of a physical place to meet, interact and work. By definition, the university is a market place for knowledge exchange. We can replace some bricks with clicks, but we can’t and won’t replace them all. Without bricks universities are footloose and will neither be rooted in cities nor add value to the regional economy. I would even defend the proposition: without bricks a university can not be world-class (like the proposition: “a relationship can not be very good, when it is only virtual”). The need to physically interact is at the basis of both – see previous blog: “Students become tourists”.

This also became obvious when a combination of TU Delft, Wageningen UR and MIT won the competition for a new Technology Institute in Amsterdam: AMS (Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, but AMS is also Amsterdam’s airport code): see press release website TU Delft. One of the first questions that journalists asked was: “Where in Amsterdam?”. Innovation very much benefits from serendipity and physical interaction between ‘academic acquantainces’, scientists that inspire each other with different perspectives on the same subject (source: research Bentinck 2013 – s.a.bentinck@tudelft.nl) – the success of thinking ‘out of the box’ also reflect this.

In the past weeks – inside our own BK city building – we experienced the importance of physical interaction (next to virtual interaction) in our own curriculum. Physical interaction leads to a higher priority in (the sometimes endless) ‘to do lists’ and to more focus when interacting: non-verbal behaviour is hard(er) to hide and the distraction that a smart phone brings, is easier to suppress when everybody notices.

It has been a very busy period – the end of the summer and the start of a brand new BSc curriculum at our faculty. Nonetheless, the energy of new students is contagious. Certainly when they have a group assignment like making a bridge, demonstrated in the 4-minute movie below. This movie not only makes you want to go back to school – in this case: our own school – it also shows our building BK city at its best.

All of the above made me very proud of my university, my faculty (department) and my colleagues. Yes, our new academic year had a very good start…

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Univer-City Bochum, Germany

by Alexandra den Heijer

Today I am experiencing Univer-City Bochum on a Saturday, after presenting my view on univer-cities for an all German audience yesterday evening. See C60 collaboratorium website for more info about the project in German.

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Goal of the Univer-City Bochum project is to create a place to meet, to experiment and work for students, academics and start-ups of the 7 universities (Hochschulen) in Bochum.

Start small, brand the area, gradually develop and don’t ever finish… Those were some themes of the discussion with the audience yesterday evening.

The hand-out of my presentation can be found under DOWNLOADS.

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Assessing Facade Value

by Alexandra den Heijer

On June 6, 2013 I was a speaker at a conference about the Future Envelope – the theme this year was Facade Value. My presentation can be found under DOWNLOADS.
Facade_Value_program 

Choosing “façade value” as a theme for this year’s Future Envelope 7 was an excellent choice. Value has many angles – which showed in the four different sessions – but also forced every speaker to answer one common question: who benefits from the façade? Value connects experts from design and manufacturing to stakeholders who own, use and manage the building – this is increasingly important in a time of changing roles and new business models.

Themes like the value of façade innovation on design (transparency, flexibility in form, customization), the influence of the façade on (the user’s) performance, life cycle costs (and benefits) and sustainability issues were discussed in a range of presentations. These are all themes that should be made explicit during the design and construction process, involving the client and user in decisions. This also calls for sharing more knowledge about these subjects in practice and in academia, of which the conference was a very good example.

Facade Value - on stage after our presentations: Alexandra den Heijer and Thijs Asselbergs, interviewed by Tillmann Klein (photo: Marcel Bilow - Facade group TU Delft)

Facade Value – on stage after our presentations: Alexandra den Heijer and Thijs Asselbergs, interviewed by Tillmann Klein (photo: Marcel Bilow – TU Delft) – more photos

I want to thank professor Ulrich Knaack (TU Delft / Design of Constructions) and his Facade Research Group for inviting me to speak at this conference. Involving the client – future owner/user of the building – in briefing and design decisions is one step, but giving them the evidence-based knowledge about how new (façade) concepts influence their performance is even more important for successfully implementing innovation in the built environment.

For the future of the built environment demand and supply side should go hand-in-hand. On-going research – including the NWO-funded FuturA research (Future Value Chains of Architectural Services) that explores the changing roles of designers – emphasizes that. This is all the more reason to share knowledge between the chairs of Real Estate Management, Design & Construction Management and Design of Constructions for future research.

More about the NWO funded research about future role of architects – FuturA “Future Value Chains of Architectural Services” – can be found using the following link. More about TU Delft’s Facade Research Group can be found on the TU Delft website and on the Imagine blog.

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The European campus: Czech Republic

by Alexandra den Heijer

Today I am writing another post from Prague, a city that accommodates more than 120.000 students (data 2013) at least 8 public universities (see map from our research The European campus).

from our European campus research: locations of public universities in Czech Republic (Tzovlas, Den Heijer 2013)

from our European campus research: locations of public universities in Czech Republic – the darker blue, the older the universities (George Tzovlas & Alexandra den Heijer 2013)

I am a guest of Charles University – our hosts are planning extensions to their Albertov campus, close to the old city centre. With more than 50.000 students this university is the largest and oldest (founded in 1348) university of Czech Republic. My presentation can be found under DOWLOADS.

The propositions I ‘defended’ during my presentation, in Czech… (for English, Dutch, French, German, Spanish and Swedish: see PROPOSITIONS)

flag Czech1. Každý cíl vysoké školy může být zmařen kampusem / infrastrukturou.

2. Kampus budoucnosti je město.

3. Inovativní a flexibilní ekonomika založená na znalostech může vnést nový život do zastaralých průmyslových historických budov.

4. Ke změně akademického pracoviště může pomoci krize – například požár.

For my previous visit to Prague in October 2012, see blog post “Bohemian academic life in Prague”. For a review of my lecture in Czech.

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Student city = knowledge city

by Alexandra den Heijer

In the beginning of November I visited Belgian student city Ghent with DUWO (student housing), to compare the Belgian and Dutch student housing market. Ghent has a huge and still growing student population – approaching 70.000 (population Ghent is about 250.000). The cities of Ghent and Leuven have Belgium’s largest student populations: essential for the regional and national knowledge economy. Student housing is a ‘critical chain’ in the transition from a student city to a knowledge city. When students live in a city, they are more likely to get attached to the city, both socially and economically.

Student city Ghent in Belgium - view from the famous university library building "boekentoren" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boekentoren

Student city Ghent in Belgium – view from the famous university library building “boekentoren

Both the Ghent University and the city of Gent have policies (and strategies) to accommodate national and international students within the city boundaries. We visited different projects. The photos below show two examples: a public-private partnership with the university as a client (campus Kantienberg) and a private initiative (“Ter Plaeten UpKot”).

private student housing project in Ghent by Upgrade Estate http://www.upgrade-estate.be/studentenhuis/omschrijvingen/terplaetenupkot.php

private student housing project in Ghent – “Ter Plaeten UpKot” – by Upgrade Estate

public-private student housing project Kantienberg, client: Ghent University - http://www.bamppp.com/projects/ppp-kantienberg

public-private student housing project Kantienberg, client: Ghent University

The crucial role of student housing in “student cities becoming knowledge cities” was also confirmed by speakers of the conference Class of 2020 (see website for report and more information). And – equally important – what happens after they graduate? Do they (have to) leave their student city (because there is no alumni housing strategy)? The city of Ghent is also struggling with that issue: where do our alumni go and what do we have to do to keep this talent for “Ghent knowledge city”? (more info about the potential of Ghent: website)

At another conference in November – Campus 2020 – my colleague and PhD student Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel presented her ‘univer-city research’, highlighting our observation and vision that the campus is no isolated area, but a network of functions – see figure below.

the campus as a network of functions - source: Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel, 2012 (presented at conference "Campus 2020", November 22, 2012)

source: Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel, 2012 (presented at conference “Campus 2020”, November 22, 2012)

Coming back on the title of this post: “student city = knowledge city”. This is true if a city succeeds in not only attracting students for higher education, but also in retaining the talent for economic growth. Student housing and ‘alumni housing’ appears to be a critical chain. For papers and articles on this subject, see PUBLICATIONS and RELATED RESEARCH.

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Moving November – from Delft to Delhi

by Alexandra den Heijer

November was so overwhelming that I did not find the time – or energy – for a new post. Last month we visited India. It was actually my only trip this year that did not have anything to do with work. In fact, I almost forgot work when we were there. Even though there were many links to my research: the importance of physical infrastructure for education.

adding dams in Karauli, India - enabling the (female) population to focus on education instead of water

the result of our project to add dams in Karauli, India – enabling the (female) population to focus on education instead of water; more info in English http://www.karauli.com and in Dutch http://www.stichtingkarauli.nl/

In a small group we visited the Karauli area to see the dams (that hold back water after the wet monsoon, the resulting reservoir being used as a water supply). Our last visit was in 2005, before the dams were constructed. Without the dams young women and girls spent their days walking to get water. The project is combined with investments in schools and courses for women. We work in close collaboration with the maharaja of Karauli. We were amazed by the results after 7 years: 7 effective dams. The importance of physical infrastructure for education…

In my next post I will get back to what else happened in the past month – all related to the importance of physical infrastructure (university campuses, learning landscapes, student housing) for higher education and the knowledge economy…

PS New publications of the past months can be downloaded: PUBLICATIONS / RELATED RESEARCH

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Bohemian academic life in Prague

by Alexandra den Heijer

Yesterday I gave a lecture in Prague, Czech Republic by invitation of the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth & Sports (Ministerstvo školství, mládeže a tělovýchovy) for about 80 representatives of tertiairy education institutions, including many Czech universities.

conference for project EFIN in Prague – two of the three international speakers: Jon File (CHEPS) and Alexandra den Heijer (TU Delft)

The conference was part of the EFIN project (http://efin.reformy-msmt.cz/, only in Czech): promotion and development of effective management principles. I want to thank dr. Aleš Vlk (Alevia) and prof. Josef Basl (main guarantor EFIN) for their hospitality.

Again, it was clear – by the reactions and questions from the audience – that the challenges for universities are the same in many European countries. Struggling with the limited budgets, the increasing demands of students and professors, the low occupancy rates (utilization of space) and the aging campus. However, the cultural heritage and the bohemian quality of place are assets – cards we should play in the global “war on talent”. The trade-off is quantity for quality: less territory, less m2 per user and more quality per m2 and sense of place in return.

During the conference I also learned from the other international speakers Dennis Dunn (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Jon File (CHEPS – Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies). Higher education management – including campus management – is a huge responsibility which requires skills and management information. The latter I hope to supply with every lecture and publication. The hand-out of my presentation – including all photos – can be downloaded (see DOWNLOADS). Below the four propositions that I ‘defended’ during my lecture are translated in Czech, thanks to Aleš Vlk.

1. Each university goal can be frustrated by the physical campus. Každý cíl vysoké školy může být zmařen kampusem / infrastrukturou.

2. It takes a crisis – for example a fire – to change the academic workplace. Ke změně akademického pracoviště může pomoci krize – například požár.

3. The innovative and flexible knowledge economy can bring new life to obsolete industrial heritage buildings. Inovativní a flexibilní ekonomika založená na znalostech může vnést nový život do zastaralých průmyslových historických budov.

4. The campus of the future is a city. Kampus budoucnosti je město.

See PROPOSITIONS for these propositions in 4 more languages – Spanish, French, German and Dutch – translated by native speakers.

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Students bring back life to our campuses, after summer

by Alexandra den Heijer

This week the academic year has started in the Netherlands. I was happy to see the students again for many reasons, including the fact that they really bring back life to our campuses and buildings, after summer. Today, I am in England, enjoying the hospitality of University of Salford. Yesterday I gave a dinner speech (see DOWNLOADS for hand-out) and I got a chance to see parts of their campuses, including MediaCity:UK, a campus they share with the BBC, Adobe and ITV (among others).

MediaCity:UK on a sunny Thursday, 2 weeks before the students arrive

MediaCity:UK is located at Salford Quays on the banks of Manchester’s historic ship canal. The vision is to become a leading international hub for the creative and digital sectors, and a vibrant destination to work, live and play. The students will arrive in two weeks, when the new academic year starts for UK universities. For more information see http://www.mediacityuk.co.uk/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MediaCityUK.

University of Salford has more campuses and is very much aware of the university’s role in the local economy: “With a turnover of some £180.5m, we take our responsibility towards the city of Salford very seriously. The University is one of the area’s biggest employers and makes a significant contribution to the local economy.” (source: http://www.salford.ac.uk/)

one of the “red-brick buildings” on University of Salford’s campus

In the Netherlands the academic year has started last Monday. I wish our students a very productive and inspiring year. Our building has changed from BK (holiday) village to BK city again…

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Back to South Korea, with students (looking back)

by Alexandra den Heijer

In the past two weeks professor Hans de Jonge and I travelled through South Korea with 24 of our TU Delft students (see previous post). We started by visiting harbour city Busan in the south. The urban municipal planning office of Busan city welcomed us on the first day and showed us some iconic projects like the Busan Cinema Centre and the construction site of the Busan Lotte Tower (see group photo below).

visit construction site Lotte Tower Busan

After Busan we visited the 2012 Expo in Yeosu with the theme “The living ocean & coast” – see 2012 Expo website for more info.

Expo 2012 in Yeosu – LED roof

Dutch design @ the Dutch pavillion – the first pavillion of many country and theme pavillions we visited

student association BOSS organised this study trip – this photo was taken by prof. Hans de Jonge at the 2012 Expo in Yeosu – five students formed the organising committee: Dora Baalman, Coen Geesing, Luuk Kops, Roberta Gutierrez Llaguno and Peter Horst

On Saturday July 14 we arrived in Seoul where we stayed for more than a week. In Seoul our academic and business program became really busy, with visits to Dongdaemun Design Plaza (architect Zaha Hadid) and Hanyang University on Monday and to Sangji Architects & Engineers (see website) and Heyri Art Village on Tuesday.

visiting the construction site of Zaha Hadid’s Dongdaemun Design Park & Plaza – after an inspiring presentation of one of the project architects

thanking Sangji architects for their presentations – on the right: two members of the BOSS organising committee, students Peter Horst and Dora Baalman

At Hanyang University all professors contributed to an academic session – about (the changing context of) urban planning – also intended to compare education and research of both universities.

after giving lectures at Hanyang University – meeting the dean, the vice-dean and a professor of the department of Urban Planning and Engineering

group photo at the campus of Hanyang University

Some other photos of the first three days in Seoul are shown below, including my favorite urban project “Cheonggyecheon”: an 8.4 km (5.2 miles) long, modern public recreation space in downtown – see info on wikipedia.

my favorite Seoul project: Cheonggyecheon – flowing through downtown

part of our group in front of Seoul’s Gyeongbokgung Palace…

in front of Seoul’s Gyeongbokgung Palace… zoomed in

On Wednesday we visited Seoul Development Institute – in a series of presentations of Dutch and Korean speakers we compared Netherlands and South Korea and Amsterdam – or better: our Randstad region – and Seoul. In the afternoon we were impressed by both the size and work of Samoo architects (see Samoo website). On Thursday we visited “The Green” by recommendation of Dutch architecture firm Architecten Cie / architect Frits van Dongen who designed part of a new sustainable housing area for client LH – Korea Land & Housing Corporation (see LH website). The Green demonstrates the newest sustainable measures for housing projects (see photos, also with our hosts).

visiting The Green by LH Housing – a photo with our hosts

sustainable housing unit – with many eco-friendly measures and a lot of flexibility in the floor plan


sustainable housing unit – also demonstrated in the Green as a complete mock-up scale 1:1

On Thursday afternoon we got a tour at Ewha Womans University. Last month I was impressed by both the ECC project (see photo and text in post) and this prestigious university. One woman started this university in 1886, which still shows in the university name: “Womans” from Woman’s, see EWHA on wikipedia.

thanking our host for the tour of (the ECC building of) Ewha Woman’s University

our student Dora Baalman, Ewha professor Judith Yoo Daun and me

group photo at Ewha’s iconic ECC building

On Friday July 20 we visited Savills in the morning and SeoulTech in the afternoon. Savills presented us the facts & figures of the office market and retail market in Seoul. They took us to one of the newest office buildings in Seoul’s Central Business District – see group photo below.

our complete group with Savills hosts, in front of a prime Seoul CBD office building (next to downtown stream / successful project Cheonggyecheon)

In the afternoon both professors and students enjoyed an academic visit to Seoul National University of Science and Technology – Seoultech (see website and Wikipedia). Our host professor Ock did not only lead the discussion about shared knowledge and research (Public Private Partnerships i n particular), but also offered our students “Friday afternoon drinks” in a very popular student bar. Both the academic connection and the social encounters were very much appreciated by (PhD) students and professors!

prof. Ock and me – after a fruitful academic discussion, at SeoulTech campus


enjoying “Friday afternoon drinks” near SeoulTech’s campus

As a token of our appreciation – and according to local tradition – professor De Jonge signed ‘our name’ on the wall: “20/7/2012 – RE&H / BOSS was here – TU Delft” (see photos below). BOSS is the student association of Master track Real Estate & Housing (RE&H).

as a token of our appreciation – and according to local tradition – professor De Jonge signed ‘our name’ on the wall

“20/7/2012 – RE&H / BOSS was here – TU Delft” (RE&H is TU Delft Faculty of Architecture’s Master track Real Estate & Housing)

This was an excellent end of a busy week and successful student trip. On Saturday July 21 we took a DMZ tour to North Korea, which was very impressive. On Sunday our group split to various Asian countries – some stayed in South Korea and some returned to Netherlands. Professor Hans de Jonge and I want to thank everyone – including our group members and especially the BOSS organising committee – for their valuable contributions and we also look forward to the student report!

To be continued…

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Back to South Korea, with students

by Alexandra den Heijer

Today I will return to South Korea with 24 students from our Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). Professor Hans de Jonge and I were asked to join the group of Architecture / Real Estate / Design & Construction Management students on their trip to Busan, Yeosu (Expo 2012) and Seoul. All students are members of BOSS – a student association related to our department of Real Estate & Housing.

a group photo – a few days before our flights to South Korea – in front of our BK city building @TUDelft

It is purely coincidental: two visits to South Korea in the same month! At this moment – just before we leave – I am happy that I can share my experience, my Korean network and my enthusiasm about Seoul and South Korea with our students.

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