Research Group Future Urban Regions

Since May 2013, Eric Frijters has headed the Future Urban Regions research group, a collaborative project of the six Academies of Architecture, focused on improving the city and the urban environment. The objective is to organise collaborations between the Academies and the spatial assignments of local and regional governments. The aim of the overarching research group programme is to create forms of collaboration between educational institutions and local and regional governments that conduct design-based research for ‘healthy urbanisation’. Healthy urbanisation is the coherent development of sociocultural, economic and ecological objectives on the scale of the region, city and street, with a coalition of citizens, companies and governments.

Network Programme
Through the Future Urban Regions (FUR) research group headed by Frijters, the Academies of Architecture together elaborate on the Network Programme of Design Study Programmes (Netwerkprogramma Ontwerpopleidingen). This programme stems from the Action Agenda for Architecture and Spatial Design (ActieAgenda Architectuur en Ruimtelijk Ontwerp) of minister Schultz van Haegen. The research group will set up and implement a research programme, in which the Academies will collaborate within their curricula with various governments on a number of contemporary and relevant spatial assignments at a local and regional level. Both specific and more generally applicable schools of though and problem-solving approaches will be developed for these assignments by mean of design-based research.

The FUR research group has formulated six major challenges for the city. Each of these lines of research has been assigned to a researcher at one of the Academies of Architecture. On behalf of the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam, architect and urban planner Marco Broekman will be occupied with the question of how spatial strategies can contribute to the development of vital economic urban regions.

FUR talks
Starting from February the FUR research group organises a lecture series lasting 14 weeks on the theme ‘Healthy Urbanism’. During each subsequent edition of FUR talks, a FUR researcher and an expert will share insights in relation to one of the FUR themes, and enter into discussion with members of the audience afterwards.

FUR studio P6 ‘SouthWest Works’
FUR will also be organising a P6 studio on the topic ‘Vital Economy’ (Vitale Economie). The location of this combined urban design and landscape architecture P6 is the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (AMA). The central research question in this studio is how local, spatial interventions in the working landscape of the AMA South-West (Zuidwest) can lead to quality improvement for all districts and thus strengthen the competitive position of the entire region. Various parties will be actively involved in this studio, including the City of Amsterdam and the municipality of Haarlemmermeer, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and the Deltametropolis Association (Vereniging Deltametropool).

FUR publication 'Urban Challenges, Resilient Solutions'. 
The future of humanity is urban. We are facing major problems such as climate change, social inequality, large-scale migration, and resource depletion. Cities (and those who 'make' the city) play an important role in addressing these problems. In Urban Challenges, Resilient Solutions the 'Future Urban Regions research group' offers designers, their commissioners and (local) governments new models and ideas to deal with healthy urban development. Illustrated by more than fifty case studies and global examples, this book offers a toolkit for those interested in implementing research by design and healthy urban regions. With contributions of: Sandra van Assen, Tijs van den Boomen, Marco Broekman, Guido van Eyck, Eric Frijters, Marieke Kums, Willemijn Lofvers, Saskia Naafs, Thijs van Spaandonk, Ady Steketee, Franz Ziegler. More information and orders via the Valiz publishing house.