Where to study? Students become tourists

by Alexandra den Heijer

If students could study anywhere, where would they go? My theory: they would select their learning environment the same way as tourists do: places with unique qualities – usually cultural heritage – and attractive public space, densely populated areas that encourage social encounters or at least give a sense of place. At the same time many universities in the world are adding new buildings to ‘could be anywhere’ locations – usually isolated campuses – with not much attention for public space or public transport to the city. Of course, researchers that need specialized labs that are only available on specific locations will still come, but more and more university activities become place-independent and flexible to accommodate. Paradoxically, more place independency makes (quality of) place more important. If students can go anywhere, why would they go to your campus or univer-city? Or why would they stay in your univer-city after graduation?

These questions were asked (and answered) in three sessions in the past week:
– June 14, 2013 – 3-hour session about Univer-city Bochum in Germany (see previous post Univer-city Bochum, Germany);
– June 18, 2013 – 2-hour meeting about a common agenda for Delft “Univer-City” with TU Delft’s executive board (College van Bestuur) and the mayor and aldermen of Delft (Burgemeester & Wethouders)
– June 21, 2013 – two 1-hour sessions about the importance of the city for universities at a VSNU retreat for executive boards of all 14 Dutch (research) universities

All three presentations of the past week can be found under DOWNLOADS.

Univer-city checklist, based on TU Delft research (Den Heijer, Curvelo Magdaniel, Bentinck, Tzovlas)

Univer-city checklist, based on TU Delft research (Den Heijer, Curvelo Magdaniel, Bentinck, Tzovlas)

Since the goals of cities (regions) and universities are increasingly similar – attracting and retaining knowledge workers for economic growth or (keeping/improving) their position in the global rankings – the strategic agendas are more and more alike. All the more reason to align them. The lack of resources to plan independently and ‘the brain drain already taking place’ are two more reasons to collaborate – before it is too late (and knowledge workers and their economic value have moved elsewhere).

During these discussions (after my lecture or introduction) the following comments were remarkable:

– in Bochum, Germany (a president of one of the “Hochschulen”): “A substantial group of my employees never visits the city of Bochum – they do not spend any euro here”
– student housing and – after that – alumni housing is crucial (one of the aldermen in Delft): “First house, first child: if you can keep the knowledge worker long enough, they will decide to settle and grow roots”
– in the end “place attachment” depends on alumni finding work – in the meantime: stimulating and accommodating entrepreneurial activities will be one of the collective tasks of university and municipality
– at the VSNU retreat both groups concluded that there are niche Master tracks (i.e. agriculture), world-famous (i.e. Ivy League) universities or unique research institutes (i.e. CERN) that will attract students and other knowledge workers despite their location or quality of buildings, but there are many, many more ‘same quality universities’ that offer similar Bachelor/Master/PhD programmes and compete on other qualities, including their physical (urban) setting.

Some facts from research:
EU Study Portals published research (2012) about “reasons to study abroad” – 25% mentioned academic quality, 24% city/culture/country;
– UK research (HEDQF 2012) showed that 1/3 of all students admit to have rejected a university based on the (poor quality of) the physical environment; that does not necessarily mean “buildings in bad condition”, but could also refer to an isolated campus or lack of social space.

Every discussion about the university of the future includes scenarios about increasingly ‘virtual’ universities (also in my own book). Many policy makers state: “Students in 2040 will be completely different: we can not predict how they will behave.” The physical campus will completely disappear? No, because one thing will not change (ever): biology. Let’s face the facts: students are not just attending our universities to learn, but also to meet people, to start relationships – sometimes for life.

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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 unforgettable fire – 5 years later

by Alexandra den Heijer

Today exactly 5 years ago – on May 13, 2008 – our Architecture faculty building went up in flames, after we had been evacuated safely. It destroyed the home base of more than 3000 students and 800 employees and – judged by all the reactions we received – a place full of memories for so many more alumni and former employees. It was a traumatic day for many… all academics lost their physical archives.

Our Architecture faculty building (1970-2008), Berlageweg 1, Delft, Netherlands (source: TU Delft)

Our Architecture faculty building (1970-2008), Berlageweg 1, Delft, Netherlands (source: TU Delft)

Nonetheless, we used this crisis to (re-)build “BK city” at Julianalaan 134 in Delft and received compliments from all over the world for both the process (just months: BK city timeline and project organisation) and the result (new life for old academic heritage). It is amazing to realize how a disaster for the faculty could also bring so much success for the same faculty. As a BK city project team we are still very proud of what we achieved after the fire.

BK city = our Architecture faculty building (> 2008), Julianalaan 134, Delft, Netherlands (source: TU Delft)

BK city = our Architecture faculty building (from September 2008), Julianalaan 134, Delft, Netherlands (source: TU Delft, photo: Rob ‘t Hart)

Since the fire I have given more than 80 lectures about the making of BK city – at least 40 with facility manager Dennis Cruyen – to groups from all over the world and on many stages world-wide. Of all the presentations since 2011 hand-outs can be found under DOWNLOADS. Since 2011 – when I published my book/dissertation “Managing the university campus” – presentations were usually a combination of theory and practice. Indeed, at BK city we have tried to practice what we preach. What we preach can be read in my dissertation/book and scientific publications, what we practiced can be found in the list of publications below.

Interview with (TU Delft president) Dirk Jan van den Berg and professor Hans Wamelink, who both had leading roles in the making of BK city.

Interview in newspaper AD – published last week – with TU Delft president Dirk Jan van den Berg and professor Hans Wamelink, who both had leading roles in the making of BK city.

PUBLICATIONS ABOUT BK CITY FROM 2008 TO 2013:

BOOK
Den Heijer, Alexandra (2011), Managing the university campus – information to support real estate decisions, Delft: Eburon Academic Publishers. DOWNLOAD Appendix VI “Project BK city – background, facts & figures” (black & white free downloadable version): Managing the university campus (appendix VI BK city – black & white)

BOOKLET (DESIGN GUIDE)
Patijn, Wytze en Dennis Cruyen, Alexandra den Heijer (tekst en redactie), BK City Guide, Delft: TU Delft, mei 2009. [Link to DOWNLOAD]

BOOK (in Dutch)
Den Heijer, Alexandra en Hans Dalmeijer, Etty van der Leij, Dennis Cruyen (2009), The Making of BK City, Bouwkunde, een jaar na de brand, Delft: TU Delft, december 2009. [Link to MORE INFO]

ARTICLES
Den Heijer, Alexandra (2009), “The Making of BK City, the ultimate laboratory for a faculty of achitecture” in The Architecture Annual 2007/2008, article, Rotterdam, 010 Publishers, released June, 2009, p. 20-25. DOWNLOAD: BK after the fire – article Architecture Annual + figures 1 and 3 separately: FIG-1 (Timeline) and FIG-3 (Project organisation)

Den Heijer, Alexandra (2012), “Managing the university campus: exploring models for the future and supporting today’s decisions” in CELE Exchange 2012/2, Paris, OECD, July 2012. DOWNLOAD: CELE Exchange 2012-02 article Alexandra den Heijer

VIDEOS

TU Delft’s 3-minute “The Making of BK city” video can be found on YouTube:

The HEDQF film below – released at a UK conference (AUDE 2012) – shows new academic places to work and learn (United Kingdom: University of Greenwich, Ravensbourne College, Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, Napier University Business School, Loughborough University, Finland: Aalto University, Netherlands: TU Delft, Faculty of Architecture / BK city):

SERIES ABOUT BK CITY (all in Dutch)

1. Heijer, Alexandra den en Dennis Cruyen (2008), “De opdracht: herhuisvest de faculteit in drie dagen, Faculteit Bouwkunde doet naam eer aan” in Facility Management Magazine, nr. 161, juni 2008, p. 17-19. DOWNLOAD: FMM 161 AdH-DC — (1) Faculteit Bouwkunde doet naam eer aan
2. Heijer, Alexandra den en Dennis Cruyen (2008), “De opbouw van faculteit Bouwkunde van de TU Delft, Een effectievere faculteit op één locatie” in Facility Management Magazine, nr. 162, augustus 2008, p. 60-61. DOWNLOAD: FMM 162 AdH-DC — (2) Een effectievere faculteit op 1 locatie
3. Heijer, Alexandra den en Dennis Cruyen (2008), “De bouwplaats als ultieme werkplek” in Facility Management Magazine, nr. 163, september 2008, p. 65-66. DOWNLOAD: FMM 163 AdH-DC — (3) De bouwplaats als ultieme werkplek
4. Heijer, Alexandra den en Dennis Cruyen (2008), “Minister Plasterk lanceert ideeënprijsvraag in Venetië, Het universiteitsgebouw van de toekomst” in Facility Management Magazine, nr. 164, oktober 2008, p. 66-67. DOWNLOAD: FMM 164 AdH-DC — (4) Het universiteitsgebouw van de toekomst
5. Heijer, Alexandra den en Dennis Cruyen (2008), “Academische werkplek heroverwogen” in Facility Management Magazine, nr. 165, november 2008, p. 48-49. DOWNLOAD: FMM 165 AdH-DC — (5) Academische werkplek heroverwogen
6. Heijer, Alexandra den en Dennis Cruyen (2008), “Bouwkunde weer thuis, BK-city ontworpen voor ontmoetingen” in Facility Management Magazine, nr. 166, december 2008, p. 56-58. DOWNLOAD: FMM 166 AdH-DC — (6) BK-city ontworpen voor ontmoetingen
7. Heijer, Alexandra den en Dennis Cruyen (2009), “BK-city gezamenlijke facilitaire verantwoordelijkheid: nieuwe producten en dienstverlening” in Facility Management Magazine, nr. 167, februari 2009, p. 44-45. DOWNLOAD: FMM 167 AdH-DC — (7) BK city gezamenlijke facilitaire verantwoordelijkheid
8. Heijer, Alexandra den en Dennis Cruyen (2009), “Design rules @ BK-city: speeltuin voor ontwerpers” in Facility Management Magazine, nr. 168, maart 2009, p. 53-55. DOWNLOAD: FMM 168 AdH-DC — (8) Design rules at BK city, speeltuin voor ontwerpers
9. Heijer, Alexandra den en Dennis Cruyen (2009), “Reversed briefing, bewoners BK-city aan zet” in Facility Management Magazine, nr. 169, april 2009, p. 44-46. DOWNLOAD: FMM 169 AdH-DC — (9) Reversed briefing, Bewoners BK city aan zet
10. Heijer, Alexandra den en Dennis Cruyen (2009), “Bouwkunde in Delft, een jaar na de brand: toegevoegde waarde huisvesting en FM bewezen” in Facility Management Magazine, nr. 170, mei 2009, p. 48-49. DOWNLOAD: FMM 170 AdH-DC — (10) Bouwkunde in Delft, een jaar na de brand

–> om de 10 publicaties hierboven in 1 keer te downloaden: lage resolutie (2MB) FMM 161-170 AdH-DC alle artikelen gebundeld (lage resolutie) of hoge resolutie (13MB) FMM 161-170 AdH-DC alle artikelen gebundeld (hoge resolutie)

VAKPUBLICATIES, GESCHREVEN OVER BOUWKUNDE, ENKELE WEKEN VOOR DE BRAND

(01) Heijer, Alexandra den (2008), “Mooi is ook functioneel op toekomstige campus” in Schooldomein nr. 4, maart 2008, p.16-17. DOWNLOAD: SD4 – Mooi is ook functioneel (Den Heijer)
(02) Heijer, Alexandra den en Dennis Cruyen (2008), “Motto voor de huisvesting van de Delftse Bouwkundefaculteit: Practice what you preach” in Schooldomein nr. 5, april 2008, p.16-19. DOWNLOAD: SD5 – Practice what you preach (Den Heijer – Cruyen)

For more information: see page CASE BK CITY and website Architecture / TU Delft.

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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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Introducing my campus research team

by Alexandra den Heijer

This week I proudly added a new researcher – George Tzovlas – to my campus research team. George and I will work on the next publication – “Managing the European campus” – that will be launched at a EUA / TU Delft conference with the same title in 2014.

campus research team: Alexandra den Heijer (associate professor), Salome Bentinck (senior researcher), Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel (PhD researcher) and George Tzovlas (researcher)

campus research team: Alexandra den Heijer (associate professor), Salome Bentinck (senior researcher), Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel (PhD researcher) and George Tzovlas (researcher)

Next to our project “Managing the European campus” the research team is also exploring “Campuses and cities” (Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel) and “The campus as a place to learn, meet and work” (Salome Bentinck).

About the team members:
– George Tzovlas has recently completed my Master thesis “Strategic Management of University Real Estate supported by BIM: An application to the real estate of the Greek University A.U.Th.” (awarded with honours), following his architectural training in his country of origin, Greece. A link to his Master thesis REPOSITORY TU DELFT and to his LinkedIn Profile.

– Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel focuses on the role of the built environment in knowledge-based development. She obtained her BSc degree (Architecture) in Colombia and her MSc degree (Real Estate) in Delft. In-between BSc and MSc she has worked as an architect (4 years of experience). Her Master thesis (awarded with honours) combined both insights from campus management and urban area development. More about her research can be found on this website and through Flavia’s LinkedIn profile.

– Salomé Bentinck has extensive experience as a campus manager in practice (University of Amsterdam) and has been working at TU Delft since June 2011. She focuses on the university campus as a place to learn, meet and work. More about her can be found on Salomé’s LinkedIn profile.

For recent publications of our research team go to PUBLICATIONS.

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Presenting the European campus… but not today

by Alexandra den Heijer

This morning I was looking forward to present my research “The European Campus: an important asset for Europe 2020” in Brussels, for the European Commission (ERAC Working Group on Knowledge Transfer).

this map says it all - source: De Standaard

this map of Belgium says it all – source: De Standaard

But the morning news already showed early signs of the record-breaking traffic jams in Belgium, due to the heavy snowfalls. Maps on the Belgian newspaper website of De Standaard were very graphic (see photo left).

The presentation will be rescheduled, but the hand-out can already be found under DOWNLOADS. The most important message of my presentation is summarized below, based on our research document “Managing the European campus – attracting and accommodating Europe’s knowledge capital” (Dirk Jan van den Berg, president TU Delft and Alexandra den Heijer, associate professor Faculty of Architecture, TU Delft).

“We strongly believe – based on research – that improving (the management of) the European campus is a precondition for attracting and retaining Europe’s knowledge capital, for more competitive EU universities in the global battle for brains and for supporting innovation in the EU economy (strategy “Europe 2020”). In the current European context the university campus can be perceived as a (potential) problem as well as an asset for European universities (and consequently for Europe’s knowledge economy).” The presentation elaborates on both.

from our research "The European campus"

from our research “The European campus”

One of the slides - more propositions about the university campus in 7 European languages PROPOSITIONS

One of the slides – more propositions about the university campus in 7 European languages: see PROPOSITIONS

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Discussing UniverCities in Stuttgart

by Alexandra den Heijer

After two months closer to home – with the exception of an inspiring visit to the European Commission in Brussels – it was time to travel again for a lecture in Stuttgart, Germany. I was invited by Städtebau-Institut Universität Stuttgart, Germany (prof. dr. Helmut Bott), see TOUR or university website for program and speakers.

My last time in Stuttgart – in 2011 – I wrote a post “Managing the Automobile campus” (link), which has some parallels with managing university campuses. I will write more after my lecture, which can already be found under DOWNLOADS.

Geography of Global Top Knowledge base / Overall score - Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel, 2012 Data: The Times Higher Education Top Universities rankings 2011-2012

Geography of Global Top Knowledge base / Overall score – Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel, 2012
Data: The Times Higher Education Top Universities rankings 2011-2012

PS My presentation also included work of PhD candidate Flavia Curvelo Magdaniel. Some of our publications can be found under PUBLICATIONS. More information about Flavia and her research: FLAVIA CURVELO MAGDANIEL.

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Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013

by Alexandra den Heijer

Today WordPress sent me an Annual Report “Your 2012 in blogging”. The most interesting was the map of “2012 country views”: in 2012 my blog was viewed by visitors from more than 100 countries! (see map below)

Country views 2012 (since WordPress started counting in February 2012) - in 2012 visitors from more than 100 countries!

Country views 2012 (since WordPress started counting in February 2012) – in 2012 visitors from more than 100 countries!

And since some of these visitors come from countries that have already welcomed 2013, I end this blog year with wishing everybody a very healthy and happy 2013!

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World citizen 2012

by Alexandra den Heijer

I am writing this post in Sweden – today I gave my last lecture of 2012 here. My Scottish colleague/friend and I received a warm welcome from Linköping University (www.LiU.se). The white campus felt like ‘a white Christmas’ at this time of year.

Kåkenhus building of Linköping University's campus in Norrköping

Kåkenhus building of Linköping University’s campus in Norrköping, Sweden

Linköping University has 3 campuses: two in Linköping and one in Norrköping (40 km to the North-East). We were invited to speak about campus strategies, because our hosts were in our audience in Seoul, Korea this year. In 2012 the song “world citizen” (David Sylvian and Ryuichi Sakamoto) went through my mind frequently – not only because of the lyrics, but also because it is part of the affecting soundtrack of the beautiful film Babel that connects storylines in four different countries. I certainly have felt connected this year (see TOUR) and I am sure that 2013 will not beat 2012 in terms of inspiration from all these cultures. I truly feel blessed to have been welcomed in so many different countries.

It is time to reflect again. I will make sure to publish many conclusions of the ‘world tour’ (with a focus on Europe) of the past 20 months. In January I will post new research (results and ambitions). For 2012 I have only one flight to go – “Flying home for Christmas”, to stay there for a while.

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