Category Archives: research

How to find a study place on campus

by Bart Valks, Monique Arkesteijn and Alexandra den Heijer

As part of our “Smart campus tools” research a second blog post is available, in which we take a closer look at smart campus tools for study places. Three examples below illustrate the tools that are used at three universities.

FreeSpace App voor blogRU tool voor blog

UT group work tool voor blog

Smart campus tools, use at Duke University (FreeSpace App), at Radboud University (PC availability) and Twente University (Booking system for group studying)

For more information about the first book and our research, see SMART CAMPUS TOOLS or mail

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Smart(er) campus tools

by Bart Valks & Alexandra den Heijer

Exciting news: a few weeks ago the campus research team got the green light for a second year of research on “smart campus tools”! After publishing the 1st book in Dutch, we can not wait to explore the international tools and publish in English. Both the Dutch and English management summary of the first book can be found on the new page SMART CAMPUS TOOLS.

Smart campus tools - Monique Arkesteijn, Bart Valks, Alexandra den Heijer

Monique Arkesteijn, Bart Valks and Alexandra den Heijer with the 2016 book

In phase 2 of the smart campus tools research project – “smarter and more international” – we will focus more on what is happening in other parts of the world, both at universities and in other industry sectors. We decided to start a blog to report and communicate on our progress, updating you every few weeks. The first post is about our research project: what we intend to do next year and what we’ve found last year. A link to this first blog post can be found on the SMART CAMPUS TOOLS page.

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Campus NL in press and reprint

by Alexandra den Heijer

Three weeks after the publication of the Campus NL book the team is overwhelmed by the media attention and the fact that the book is already reprinted with 160 preordered copies.

With the PDF version freely downloadable this demonstrates one of the many ‘campus paradoxes’:

  1. we are increasingly paperless, but we still really like to read physical books
  2. we can work where we want, but we really like to have some form of territory
  3. we think working is a social activity, but for many activities we need a quiet space

The campus needs accommodate both sides of every paradox: virtual and physical, flexible and territorial, social and quiet. More about the Campus NL project on the CAMPUS NL page and soon in more PUBLICATIONS.

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Campus NL: the 2016 tour

by Alexandra den Heijer

As an important part of our Campus NL project, our research team interviewed more than 35 persons about (the present and future of) 14 Dutch university campuses in April and May. This was an excellent opportunity to visit all NL campuses again: from Utrecht to Maastricht, from Leiden to Nijmegen. Some photos of Rotterdam (EUR), Amsterdam (VU), Groningen (RUG) and Twente (UT) can be found below.

Some preliminary results of both the data collection/analysis and interviews were presented on June 3, for an audience of executive board members, financial directors and campus managers. Together they discussed propositions about tomorrow’s university and campus – the results of that meeting will be added to the Campus NL report, which will be finished in December 2016 and published as a book early 2017.

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Back home to Campus NL

by Alexandra den Heijer

After a turbulent year with many unexpected turns, I am happy to announce that I will focus on the NL campus again. This post will summarise some 2015 milestones in education, research and valorisation, at least so far.

Alexandra den Heijer in front of design course students

October 30, 2015 – moderating the final session for TU Delft design students at BK city’s orange Oostserre (their assignment: TU Delft campus strategy)

July – TH Nürnberg students present designs for AEG campus

More than 60 students present their urban plans and building designs for AEG campus, the former industrial site in the west part of Nuremberg (Nürnberg in German). As guest professor I guided them during the semester and was present at their two-day final assessments mid July. My temporary position at TH Nürnberg was a great experience, thanks to the students and professors, with a special thanks to my host, Architecture professor Florian Fischer.

August – Exploring new business models for resource-efficient campus facades

Since March 2015 we have been working on a research project – funded by Climate KIC as a pathfinder project – to explore the feasibility of integrated facades as a product-service system (with leasing as an option). Both the client/user and the facade industry are actively involved. This could be a solution for the resource-efficient transformation of the large number of buildings from the 1960s/1970s on European campuses. More info: Climate KIC website.

September – Smart campus tools: measuring real use of space

On holiday “the towels on empty lounge chairs by the pool” are a source of irritation. Booked but empty meeting rooms and lecture halls are equally annoying on campus: expensive, high-quality facilities are often under-utilised, because of territorial issues. No problem if there is plenty of space and money, but even then it is unsustainable. With 13 NL universities we will explore existing tools to measure space use and design new tools and apps for campus navigations and better use of expensive and high-quality facilities.

October – TU Delft students present 10 strategies for their own campus

In September and October about 90 BSc students of our Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment studied their own TU Delft campus and explored strategic choices for the portfolio of buildings in their urban setting. With the didactic model of a management game (playing roles in an urban development process) ten teams of students analysed, discussed and designed ten campus strategies, which were presented to professors and practitioners on the last Friday of October.

November – Campus NL research starts

In November we started a research project in close collaboration with (all) 14 Dutch universities, to look back on the past 20 years of campus ownership (since 1995) and to explore the university of the future and strategic campus (investment) choices that need to be made. More info about this research project will be added to this website during the research process.

More about the lectures and publications of 2015 so far can be found under TOUR, DOWNLOADS and/or PUBLICATIONS.

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New publications, positions & projects

by Alexandra den Heijer

We are proud that our 2014 publication “The European Campus” has been distributed to more than 20 different countries (> 400 copies) and has been reviewed by international media like Huffington Post, Times Higher Education Supplement, ScienceGuide (also in Dutch) – see 2014 BOOK more review titles. In the meantime related articles have been published in four different languages (see PUBLICATIONS for downloads and links to publisher’s websites).

recent publications in English, Chinese, German and Dutch - see PUBLICATIONS for links to websites and PDFs to download

recent publications in English, Chinese, German and Dutch – see PUBLICATIONS for links to websites and PDFs to download

This month I have also accepted a new position for 5 months: Guest Professor at Nuremberg Institute of Technology / TH Nürnberg in Bayern, Germany. This is a position for the Summer Term, Studio AEG Campus – transforming industrial heritage – Fakultät Architektur by invitation of Professor Florian Fischer, chair Entwerfen in Theorie und Praxis. For lectures and documentation in German and English, see DOWNLOADS.

At the same time our TU Delft campus team is also expanding with new researchers and together we are exploring some of the subthemes of our Smart Campuses research topic: smart tools on campus (with TU Delft colleagues of Geomatics) and resource-efficient transformation of 60s/70s university buildings (with TU Delft colleagues of Architectural Engineering + Technology). More details will follow!

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Launching our European campus book in Tallinn, Estonia (CESAER seminar)

by Alexandra den Heijer

Today George Tzovlas and I have launched our book “The European campus – heritage and challenges” in Tallinn, Estonia (see cover below).

book "The European campus - heritage and challenges" is available from October 16, 2014

book “The European campus – heritage and challenges” is available from October 16, 2014

About the book and research

The full-colour book (200 pages) contains data of all 28 European Union member states and draws conclusions about the current state of the European campus, highlighting both the heritage and challenges on campus. The target group of our book is decision makers about the campus, from the European Commission and national governments (setting higher education and innovation goals, allocating resources) to policy makers at European universities. The hand-out of our CESAER presentation can be found under DOWNLOADS.

To order the book (price: 29 euro excluding shipping costs), please send a mail to me ( and provide the following information: (1) name company / person, (2) full address – including (3) reference number customer if applicable and (4) VAT number for companies. We will send you the book and the invoice separately (invoice as PDF by mail).

About the CESAER seminar

We present our research at CESAER’s annual seminar, by invitation of Tallinn University of Technology / Tallinna Tehnikaülikool (TTÜ) and CESAER: the Conference of European Schools for Advanced Engineering Education and Research. Every participant (policy makers or board members of European universities of technology) received a book with compliments of CESAER and our university TU Delft. In total 120 copies will be distributed to CESAER members.

impressions of CESAER's annual seminar - CESAER's president Karel Luyben in the upper-left corner, authors Den Heijer + Tzovlas in the bottom-right corner - photographer: Sten-Ander Ojakallas for Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia

impressions of CESAER’s annual seminar – from CESAER’s president Karel Luyben in the upper-left corner to authors Den Heijer + Tzovlas in the bottom-right corner – photographer: Sten-Ander Ojakallas for Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia

Early responses to the book

Many participants welcomed the book with enthusiasm (and wanted a second copy): they are currently rethinking their campus or reinvesting in their facilities and they mentioned that the book is “just in time to support their decisions”. Some offered us to use their campuses as case studies for the next research step or to help with the data collection within their countries (like Lithuania, Belgium and Hungary). Others were proud to recognize their heritage (on the many photos in the book) or their management challenges (coping with underutilization of space, territorial culture, high costs of the campus and energy-inefficiency of buildings). One remarkable fact was that George and I showed a photo of an obsolete lecture hall – without revealing the name of the university – and that more than four (!) universities claimed that it was taken on their campus. The hand-out of our CESAER presentation can be found under DOWNLOADS.

Apart from the management challenges European universities recognized, many are also proud that the book highlights the heritage of European universities and is an invitation to study in Europe, and to enjoy both top-class education and quality of life in European “univer-cities”.

the book "The European campus - heritage and challenges" is available for all participants of the CESAER seminar (board members and policy makers of Europe's universities of technology)

the book “The European campus – heritage and challenges” is available for all participants of the CESAER seminar (board members and policy makers of Europe’s universities of technology) – photographer: Sten-Ander Ojakallas for Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia

Impressed by the TTÜ campus

It is always a privilege to give presentations about university campus at university campuses. In this case we got an opportunity to experience the campus of Tallinn University of Technology / Tallinna Tehnikaülikool (TTÜ). I was impressed by the quality of the facilities, the way this university supports social interaction and how it highlights the academic achievements in the corridors. On top of that, the new innovation and business center “Mektory” (“Modern Estonian Knowledge Transfer Organization for you”) already seems to be successful in connecting starts-ups with industry, investors, the academic community and the many visitors. The building provides many different working environments, including a range of meeting rooms with country themes – each sponsored by the country’s embassy – and aligning with the university’s multinational student population.


the best alumni of TTÜ in the corridors of the main university building


group of students working at Mektory, TTÜ’s innovation and business centre


country-themed meeting rooms at Mektory, sponsored by the country’s embassy


keeping track of who visited TTÜ’s Mektory – accommodating start-ups – on a world map

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