MSc Theses topics

For more information on doing/starting a MSc thesis project or on one of the topics below please contact Ingrid Duchhart. She is the MSc thesis coordinator.


MSc Theses Topics

Sustainable energy landscapes

Info on Sustainable energy landscapes

Major & minor thesis
Depletion of fossil fuels, climate change and geopolitical tensions require us to rethink our energy system which is currently based on fossil fuels. Increasingly, landscape architects are involved in the design and planning of so called ‘sustainable energy landscapes’. They address questions such as How can renewable energy be integrated in existing landscapes? How will renewable energy technologies impact our landscape, and how can we as landscape architects contribute to sustainable energy transition? Moreover, how can landscape architects safeguard the sustainability of these developments?
If you are interested in questions like these, the design of sustainable energy landscapes could be a thesis subject for you. The subject is broad, including technical, landscape and the socio-cultural aspects. The scope of your thesis, of course, is to be specified in your thesis proposal, but the list below (for both major and minor theses) should be of help.
Note that the NRGlab often runs design/research projects that your thesis could be connected with.

Specific thesis topics
(1) Typology and evolution of existing energy landscapes (minor thesis)
(2) Poetry on energy landscape/renewables/forces of nature (minor thesis)
(3) Energy democracy and landscape design (minor thesis)
(4) Offshore wind energy landscapes (major/minor thesis)
(5) Parkstad Limburg Energy Transition (major/minor thesis)
(6) Urban energy landscape in the Amsterdam region (major/minor thesis)
(7) Self-sufficient energy islands across Europe (major/minor thesis)

Advanced Metropolitan Solutions for Amsterdam (AMS)

Info on AMS

Major & minor thesis
The world is urbanising at a tremendous rate. Cities increasingly face challenges of sustainability and quality of life, challenges that put at risk resource and food security, mobility and logistics, water and waste management, health and wellbeing. Cities need metropolitan solutions that are made possible by today’s revolution of new technologies and design methods. The newly funded AMS institute (Advanced Metropolitan Solutions) aims to become an internationally leading institute where engineers, designers, digital engineers and natural/social scientist jointly develop and valorise interdisciplinary metropolitan solutions. AMS is centred on applied technology in urban themes such as water, energy, waste, food, data and mobility, and the integration of these themes (from the AMS website).

Globally, urbanizations accommodate more than 50% of the world’s population and are estimated to be responsible for 70% of pollution and resource depletion. The conversion of resources can be conceptualized as metabolism. Urban metabolism refers to “the sum total of the technical and socio-economic processes that occur in cities, resulting in growth, production of energy, and elimination of waste” (Kennedy et al., 2007). Nowadays the urban metabolism is linear, where resources are used once and then discharged to the environment. This linear consumption pattern is at the heart of present resources exploitation, saturation of ‘waste’ sinks and consequently the imbalance of (global) ecosystems. A transition towards more circular urban metabolism, by increasing efficiencies, reusing and recycling, will avoid waste, increase resilience of urban systems and will be crucial for achieving environmental sustainability. Landscape architects are among the professionals who can help integrating the theoretical knowledge about the urban metabolism in the planning and design of new districts and, more importantly, in the sustainable refurbishment of the entire city of Amsterdam.
If you are interested to contribute to the study of Advanced Metropolitan Solutions with a special focus on Urban Metabolism, you can explore possible topics for your thesis while elaborating your thesis proposal. However, the below list of topics (for both major and minor theses) should be of help.
For more information on research and activities of the AMS institute, please visit the website

Example thesis topics:
- Urban energy landscape in the Amsterdam region (major/minor thesis)
- Processing of data on water, energy, and food flows in space and time (minor thesis)
- Composing four-dimensional maps that show current spatial and temporal dynamics of water, energy, and food flows in Amsterdam (minor thesis)
- Developing decision support
- Design with crowd-sourced data: It deals with the use of crowd-sourced data such as running apps to substantiate planning and design interventions that improve the spatial conditions of urban public space for sports activities, thus contributing to the design of ‘healthy cities’. This topic requires certain knowledge of GIS-based methods and will be supervised in collaboration with the Laboratory of Geo-information Science and Remote Sensing.

Dutch Regional Design: 1985 - now

Info on Dutch Regional Design

Minor thesis
Regional Design is rooted in both landscape architecture and urban planning and design. It is a strategic form of design that envisions the – possible, desirable – future physical form of a region. The Netherlands and Dutch landscape architecture are known for having a strong tradition in regional design. In the 1980s initiatives like ‘Nederland Nu als Ontwerp’ and the founding for the Eo Wijersfoundation initiated a new phase in large scale strategic design in the Netherlands. Over the last 30 years this regional design in the Netherlands has evolved and developed itself in a mature and specific branch of the landscape architecture profession. However, this recent history in Dutch landscape architecture is not yet much documented and analysed.

Subject/research themes:
• Regional design in Landscape Architecture MSc thesis of Wageningen UR between 1985 and 2014
• Nine editions of the Eo Wijers regional design competition, held between 1985 and 2012
• The practice of Regional Designing in the Netherlands (e.g. by interviewing key-designers in regional design between 1985 – now)
• The US connection; Dutch regional design is influenced by American thinkers like Ian Mc Harg and
Frederick Steiner (and vice versa)

Urban microblimate research and design

Urban microblimate research and design

Major & minor thesis
Against the background of global warming and existing impacts of urban heat on the livability within cities, urban microclimate design, especially by means of green infrastructure, gains in importance in urban planning and landscape architecture. Green infrastructure at various scale levels has the ability to effectively mitigate urban heat by shading on surfaces and by increasing air humidity by evapotranspiration and, consequently, improve inhabitants’ well-being and thermal comfort.
At city level, parks or other large urban green structures are cool-spots within cities. They are thermally comfortable outdoor spaces on warm summer days and at the same time they provide cooling for the ambient neighborhoods. At street level, street trees and green front gardens offer shady outdoor places for inhabitants and at the same time reduce solar radiation reaching pavement and facades within the street canyon. Consequently, the heat storage by buildings and other hard surfaces is decreased and air temperature –especially at night- is lowered.

In the following, we present a specific proposal for applying this knowledge to design thermally comfortable slow traffic routes:
Thermally comfortable slow traffic routes in urban areas
Many cities and their inhabitants suffer from the negative effects of motorized traffic, such as air pollution and noise. Indirectly, car use has an influence on the development of obesity and other diseases because people do not move sufficiently. Hence, city governments and health organizations are promoting slow traffic (walking, cycling, etc.) as a remedy. However, as recent research has shown, many people are discouraged to walk or cycle more because the weather circumstances and the microclimates they move through are too uncomfortable. Of course, this can be changed by climate- conscious design of such routes.
Are you interested in designing thermally comfortable walking or cycling routes in the city? Are you fascinated by urban microclimate and influencing it through design? Then you could do a ‘large’ (36 ECTS) MSc thesis on this topic.
You will have to analyze many walking and/or cycling routes on their microclimatic properties. For the most common types of walking and/or cycling routes you will make designs and test them on their microclimatic performance.
Required: working with GIS, basic knowledge about urban climate processes.

Designing the urban climate

Designing the urban climate

Major thesis
Against the background of global warming and existing impacts of urban heat on the livability within cities, urban microclimate design, especially by means of green infrastructure, gains in importance in urban planning and landscape architecture. Green infrastructure at various scale levels has the ability to effectively mitigate urban heat by shading on surfaces and by increasing air humidity by evapotranspiration and, consequently, improve inhabitants’ well-being and thermal comfort.
At city level, parks or other large urban green structures are cool-spots within cities. They are thermally comfortable outdoor spaces on warm summer days and at the same time they provide cooling for the ambient neighborhoods. At street level, street trees and green front gardens offer shady outdoor places for inhabitants and at the same time reduce solar radiation reaching pavement and facades within the street canyon. Consequently, the heat storage by buildings and other hard surfaces is decreased and air temperature –especially at night- is lowered.

Under the umbrella of the on-going PhD project ‘Green infrastructure for climate-proof cities’ MSc thesis topics on a range of scale levels - from city to neighborhoods to street - in various urban contexts – like new developments or urban reconstructions - are possible. Furthermore, as climate adaptation, e.g. through increasing the amount of green infrastructure, is not an urban challenge on its own, combinations with other urban challenges, like urban water balance, urban infrastructure or population ageing, are welcome.

Here are some proposals:
1) City- or neighborhoods park design – How should a park be designed as it is one green spot in a complex network of various green spaces within a city? What is the meaning of a single park in a citywide urban green structure? What are users’ preferences and claims; what are usage frequencies or user groups? And how could park design anticipate on generating thermally comfortable outdoor spaces for various user groups and user frequencies? (Start: September 2013)
2) Design of urban edges and ‘green fingers‘– Urban edges are pulsating spaces where rural, suburban and urban programs, like urban water balance, infrastructure or recreation, encounter. Here, also improvement of urban microclimate should be integrated in planning and design. Which role do urban edges or ‘green fingers’ play in the microclimate of a city? How could the claims of various programs be combined in a design? What are win-win situations? (Start: September 2013)
3) Designing urban green for climate-proof cities in the context of ecosystem services - Microclimatic improvement is one of a large variety of ecosystem services which urban green offers. What are ecosystem services of urban green? How could the various services be combined in integrative designs on various scale levels? (Start: September 2013)

Besides the proposed topics above there is room to discuss your own suggestions and fields of interests. This research project is part of the Dutch research consortium ‘Knowledge for climate – climate-proof cities’, there are close contacts to stakeholders of the municipalities of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Arnhem and Utrecht. Additionally, there is a collaborate with the Meteorology and
Air Quality Group as well as the Geo-Information Group.

Tourism in sustainable coastal development

Tourism in sustainable coastal development

Major & minor thesis
Cases:
• Sustainable tourism in the Caribbean (minor/major thesis)
Sustainable tourism development strategies attempt to find approaches that take people, planet and profit into account. Our research focuses on an integrated landscape-based approach to tourism in sustainable development. The approach connects strategic planning and design with concrete spatial solutions, in cooperation with local communities and other stakeholders.
Several students worked on thesis projects on the island of Statia. A focus on a variety of themes is possible.
• Seaside promenades/boardwalks/ boulevards (minor thesis)
The seaside promenade is one of the archetypes of coastal tourism, copied all over the world. Still every country, every region has its specific characteristics. To support a study on the typology of seaside promenades and their localities we are looking for students to execute spatial, architectural analyses of seaside promenades in the Netherlands and/or abroad.
• Tourism in adaptive coastal landscapes (minor thesis)
In 2012 and 2013 the Coastal Quality Studio (Atelier Kustkwaliteit) explored ways to improve the quality of the Dutch coast by means of long-term protective measures. A similar project was initiated for the Belgian coast, the Belgian Design Analysis Metropolitan Coastal Landscape (Plananalyse Metropolitan kustlandschap 2100). A research-through-designing approach was applied to develop concepts and ideas for an adaptive coastal landscape; integrating coastal protection and water safety, spatialeconomic issues, ecological issues, and coastal management. Students are invited to analyse the designs for urbanized tourist areas made in the context of the Coastal Quality Studio and/or the Design Analysis Metropolitan Coastal Landscape. The outcomes will contribute to the research project on mature coastal tourist areas.
• Tourism development Adriatic Riviera (minor thesis)
The Adriatic coast near Rimini, Italy, has been developed for tourism purposes since the early 20th century. Most literature about this area is written in Italian. We are looking for an Italian speaking student to make a literature review of the most relevant academic and/or professional literature on this topic, to support further research on sustainable tourism development in mature tourist areas

Dutch landscape architecture tradition of the post war period

Dutch landscape architecture tradition of the post war period

Major & minor thesis
An extensive process of renovation and restructuring is taking place in urban and rural areas that were designed in the post war period. Many of these areas are representatives of an impressive and special Dutch landscape design tradition. Unfortunately this heritage is at stake. Cultural, social and economic changes require a reconsideration of the original designs, both in terms of use and meaning. What is more, many plantings are at the end of their life cycle and need to be replaced. However the awareness and knowledge of their architectural quality and historical value is limited.
(only Dutch speaking students)

Cases:
• Village greenbelts – case study Friesland (minor/major thesis, client: State Forest Agency SBB) Many village greenbelts are reaching the end of their life cycle and need to be replaced. Poplar plantings must be replaced with other species due to the hydrological conditions. The thesis includes a study of the original landscape designs for village greenbelts and the intentions of the designers, a vision on preservation and transformation, resulting in design and management proposals.
• Public space in post war neighbourhoods – case study Kerschoten, Apeldoorn (minor/major thesis, client: Municipality of Apeldoorn / RCE).
The neighbourhood Kerschoten in Apeldoorn is assigned as a post war project of national importance. The thesis includes a study of the original landscape design and the intentions of the designers, including the planting schemes, a vision on preservation and transformation, (small-scale) design proposals and recommendations for management and maintenance.
• Post war landscape architects – the work of Jan Vallen (minor thesis)
In the past years several monographies were published on the works of Dutch landscape architects in the post war period, such as Hans Warnau, Jan Bijhouwer, and Pieter Buijs. Until now Jan Vallen’s work has been under-exposed. Architectural historian Josje van Geest and landscape architect Jacqueline Verhees studied the neighbourhood Pottenberg in Maastricht, assigned as a post war project of national importance, but most of his works haven’t been studied yet. Jan Vallen’s work includes different scales, from detailed planting schemes to the Maasplassen area in Limburg.

Landscape Machines: new tech performance

Landscape Machines: new tech performance

Major & minor thesis
Landscape performance is interpreted from the landscape machine concept. Landscape machines is a design concept for productive landscapes that are not merely beautiful but sublime, as landscapes should be. By design these landscapes combine aesthetics, ecology and economy. These landscape machines challenge our common understanding of landscapes because they combine the two powerful purposes for landscapes: agriculture and nature reserves. They also challenge our common understanding of machines as the mechanical parts are driven by tidal rhythms, natural succession and animal interaction. It is no longer a natural given that landscapes provide such inclusive benefits. Over the past decades landscape development has become associated with reducing the negative impact of food industrialization, urban development and demands for resource consumption.
The concept of the landscape machine is used to aim and define a second green revolution. Ecological techniques have by now become instrumental for developing new biotopes that help to clean resources dumped by urban life and industries in the past. These new landscapes also provide the necessary terrain for plants, mammals, birds and insects to find nurture and establish new migration routes. They are proud cultural products where humans can redefine their sense of self in concurrence with a righteous sense of place.

Case 1 (major) : Wegontwerp als landschapsmachine. Roadscape of the future, the self-cleaning road (CO2, fine-dust, noise, waterpolution and ecological lineair lines). Daan Roosegaarde & Heijmans en/of rijkswaterstaat.
Case 2 (major): Staatsbosbeheer inbreng park 21e eeuw ism SBB en Matthijs Schouten. A productive nature reserve to proof that nature produces food, upcycles waste and generates new explorable landscapes for experience rich recreation.
Case 3 (minor): Low voltage landscapes, trees and plants as energy sources. Research Review Project. 5 volt and less, plant electricity capacity and future application for large scale re-forestation and planting.
Case 4 (minor): Wireless landscapes, about the influence of wifi on the electromagnetic field. Pigeons and whales lose their way due to WiFi, plants stop growing. Should we be concerned? Research Review Project. Are parks those places that are not affected by wifi interference?
Case 5 (minor): a short history of landscape machines. Research Review Project. Up-coming Routledge book on landscape machines, example chapter.

Landscape Narratives

Landscape Narratives

Major & minor thesis
In a nutshell, we define landscape narrative as the ‘story expressed by the landscape’. Spirn (1998), Potteiger and Purinton ( 1998) are forerunners. Renée de Waal works on an ‘sustainable energy and landscape’ Phd, whereby she follows Selman (2010) in his idea that landscape narratives may be landscape architecture’s contribution to energy transition. Potteiger and Purinton (1998) distinguish in a narrative, a story line and the telling of the story.
We believe that a landscape narrative and the Wageningen idea of ‘genius loci’ may be the same or at least overlap and therefore this topic warrants our full attention. Several members supervised master theses, whereby the landscape narrative formed a theoretical entry point. Some examples are Roel Theunissen; Sanne van der Mijl; Loes van der van Schie and Jessie Wolters; Jesper Tump

We formulated three to four different projects, which could be shaped in either a minor thesis (27-30 ECT) or a major thesis (36-39 ECT):
- An analysis of the results of the master atelier of 2011 (Beyond Fossils – Envisioning desired futures for two sustainable energy islands in the Dutch delta region (Stremke et al, 2011)) using the landscape narrative structure as an analytical framework. What stories can be distinguished and how are they given form will be key research questions. A possible design case maybe the island of Samsö (see de Waal and Stremke, 2014).
- An analysis of some of the mentioned master thesis documents to reveal the narratives and their expressions, the methods used and the underlying theoretical frameworks.
- (major) German mudflats and a hidden airbase, in collaboration with Pieter Slim
- (major) Sint Oedenrode 13th century water defense and new water machines, in collaboration with Floris Alkemade

Beyond the Visible in Landscape Architecture

Info on Beyond the Visible in Landscape Architecture

Major & minor theses
This PhD-research is aimed at the aesthetic evaluation of designed landscapes. It aims to uncover the topics that are worth discussing in evaluating designed landscapes. These topics can pertain to both the way landscapes come into being, through design, and in the way that they appear to the human observer, environmental and all-sensory. Projects concerning design methodology, criticism in landscape architecture, post occupancy evaluation, and projects where other senses than the visual are on the forefront of design are interesting to me.
There is special attention for projects that will allow for the development of phenomenological research into natural environments, vernacular landscapes and designed landscapes. This method is being developed through a series of theses as carried out by Tesse Bijlsma, Naiara Valcarlos, Ludo Dings and others.

Water for life

Info on Water for life

Major thesis
One of the global crises of the 21st century will evolve around access to fresh water. Landscape architecture can play a role in this by helping to protect fresh water sources local and regional level. Water is also highly appreciated for its aesthetic values - designing with fresh water resources in the back of your mind can therefore lead to high quality landscapes.
Fresh water is important as a source of drinking water, for use in agricultural production (green houses, flushing of silted land), industrial development, and energy production.
A 'research through design' approach either mixed with community participation, a narrative approach are possible starting points for a thesis and the idea of landscape machines will also fit.

There are several case study areas possible:
-In the Netherlands, there are several issues, protection/production of fresh water for example through infiltration and retention (a qualitative (for example through phytoremediation) or quantitative approach may be required); Design cases are based on the 10 ‘hotspots’ whereby the Dutch nature ambitions are combined with large-scale water projects. Examples are climate park IJsselpoort, foreshores along the Ijsselmeer and Markermeer. Supervision will be in collaboration with Alterra. In addition, external supervision might be drawn from technical chair groups, such as the chair group Earth System Science.
Other cases may be drawn from fresh water challenges tabled by the Agricultural and Horticultural Organisation. Small scale, fresh water supply and retention, in first instance related to agricultural needs and possibly linked to the objectives of the (previous) ecological main structure. Here too we will strive for a collaboration with Alterra.
Furthermore, there are options to study and design on the strengthening of the flood protection landscape zone/dike: the Grebbedijk between Wageningen and Rhenen.
-In Europe, possibly by linking up with EurAqua (European Network of Freshwater Research Organisations), with expected climate change serious periods of droughts are predicted which will hit the meditarean area hardest;
-In developing countries – linking up with the WUR Chair Groups International Water Management, for example, but maybe also with Bonaire might be a possibility. Here, often a links are made with protection against soil erosion, agroforestry, and community participation. Also, see a4 attachment for Indonesian Lake Management.

Place based solutions for the Three Countries Park

Place based solutions for the Three Countries Park

Major thesis
The 3 Countries Park is a polycentric cross-border region (BE-NL-DE) situated in the heart of the Euregion Meuse-Rhine between the cities of Maastricht, Aachen, Hasselt, Heerlen and Liège. It is a communal garden for the two million people living in and around it, and it possesses a number of strong landscape assets. In 2013/2014 a landscape perspective was developed for the 3 Countries Park with 13 guiding principles. The perspective envisions place based elaborations of this landscape perspective that include local knowledge, local and regional spatial dynamics, and local habits and customs.

The mystrerious lanes in the Veluwe woods

The mystrerious lanes in the Veluwe woods

Major & minor thesis
For many centuries, the Veluwe has been a hunting- and pleasure ground of the nobility and the rich. This has left many traces in the landscape and in the forest. For instance, we can still find many old lanes of trees within the forests of the Veluwe, and especially along the fringe of the Veluwe massif.
They are a mysterious heritage: Why were they there? From where to where did they lead? What did they connect? What was their specific function? Which aesthetic rules shaped their formation? Many questions to be answered- first of all by conscientious analysis of the remainders of lanes, e.g. with the help of GIS and remote sensing data, archival work and expert interviews.
But there is also a design question: what is the meaning of these tree lanes be for the future landscape of the Veluwe and its fringe?

Required: working with GIS, reading and writing in Dutch (native speaker)

State of the art in urban climate adaptation

State of the art in urban climate adaptation - a worldwide study

Minor thesis
Urban climate adaptation is becoming a ‘hotter topic’ because of climate change. In the past years, it has occurred that some cities worldwide have started to adapt their cities to urban climate problems and other cities have not - although their urban climate problems might be considerable. The question is: Why is that?
Some international MSc thesis students have looked deeper into this question and have come up with research questions and a questionnaire for in-depth interviews that they have answered by many people in municipalities in different countries. The three MSc thesis students working on this study are from Belgium, the Netherlands, South Korea and China. And we need many other students doing the same study for other countries worldwide! If you want to do a ‘small’ (24ECTS) MSc thesis, you can conduct a similar research in another country. Maybe you are from a different country than Belgium, the Netherlands, South Korea and China, speak the national language and are interested to participate in our research on the state?
In this small thesis project, you will conduct in-depth interviews with different representatives from city politicians, municipalities, (landscape) architects, urban designers and – possibly- urban climate experts in the country.

Required: reading and writing the national language of the respective country studied

Visual Analysis Workshop

Visual Analysis Workshop

Minor thesis
Learn to look beyond the image! This minor thesis project (or Capita Selecta of 3 ECTS) is aimed at training you in visual analysis through iconographic interpretation of landscape designs. During parallel workshops with colleagues, you will gain insight into, and learn to identify, the different layers of meaning that are embedded in design representations. Both knowingly and unknowingly, landscape designers use an array of visual techniques, symbols and colour schemes to help them communicate their ideas. Different design phases with different audiences call for different visual styles.
In this workshop, you will analyse a large number of design representations, such as sketches, maps, photomontages, and 3D impressions of the design competition for “Rebuild by Design” in New York. This comprehensive overview of visual styles will help you to develop a critical perspective on both the industry standard and your own way of representing your designs. This perspective might help you visualize more effectively in your major and minor thesis projects.

Designing the terrain of Terminology

Designing the terrain of Terminology: (re)defining major terms in landscape architecture

Minor thesis
Landscape architecture is developing rapidly as an academic discipline. This entails that the discipline needs to create its own discourse, language and definitions of terms. Within the different steps of a design process landscape architects often use the words: ‘concept’, ‘model’, ‘scenario’, ‘alternative’ and many others rather indiscriminately and thoughtlessly. Since such terms are of great importance in our discipline and its academic development, academics need to define these terms better in order to create a common disciplinary language.
Are you interested in helping to shape this discourse by creating clearer definitions? Are you interested in theoretical work? Then this can be a topic for a small (e.g. 24 ECTS) MSc thesis for you!
You will have to analyze many theoretical texts from within landscape architecture and neighboring disciplines. You will conduct content analysis of the texts, map boundaries and overlaps in the use of terms. Eventually you will (re)draw the boundary lines between the terms and discuss your marking of the terrain.

Required: working with sophisticated literature search tools, Content analysis tools ,excellent command of reading and writing English.

Green towns - long term evaluation

Green towns - long term evaluation

Minor thesis
From 1980 up to 2000, I worked in collaboration with a variety of institutions on a series of landscape planning/architecture projects in Kenya. Most of them are described in my promotion research (Duchhart, 2007). Two projects in Machakos District were implemented by the community with support of ICRAF (International Centre for Research in Agroforstry). It seemed that these projects were successful. One unaware visitor described the resulting landscape as an ‘oasis’ while recent Google Earth images nearly fit one to one on the original strategic designs. This is of course very nice but what happened? What were the driving forces behind that these that time landscape visions were realised? Which socio-cultural transitions influenced the renewed care of the landscape? Does the landscape really perform as the Google images suggest? Ground truth has to confirm this. What where the success factors behind the landscape plans? What can we learn from this experience? And how can these lessons feed the theory and methodology of the landscape design approach that formed the foundation for the strategic design principles?
These are just a few challenging questions. Are you interested to help finding answers? Collaboration with ICRAF-Nairobi and the Forestry and Nature Management Department in Wageningen is envisioned. Hopefully, will the results of your study feed the 60th year Anniversary of ICRAF in 2016.

In the 90’s, over 30 participatory environmental planning workshops (which you would now be called nowadays design charrettes or design ateliers) were implemented in Kenya under the name ‘Green Town ‘s PEP workshops (Duchhart, 2007). As a result of the workshops over 70 small projects were implemented by the community. In 2006 and 2007, two evaluations were carried out (van de Wetering, 2006 and de Vries, 2007) to assess the physical and institutional results in the field. Can we still find some physical and institutional evidence of these projects after more than 15 years? What can we learn from the participatory landscape design approach applied?
The lessons have great are relevance for landscape architecture/planning work in Africa but also for the recent movement in Western countries (the Netherlands) towards a participatory society? There is a substantial data base available here in Wageningen, but field observations and interviews with local inhabitants and experts will also be part of these minor theses. Both long-term studies will be carried out interdisciplinary where possible.

Green urban planning and design

Green urban planning and design

Major & minor thesis
In 2050 7 milliard of the world’s population is expected to live in cities. Urban densification and expansion puts pressure on urban green networks and elements, ranging from urban parks and forest up to street trees and gardens. In order to develop and ensure high quality of life in urban environments new issues related to design and planning of urban green arise; think of urban climate, food production, biobased circular economies or new participatory processes in governance.
Green urban planning and design has a long history. During the centuries the focus and challenges of green urban planning and design has changed, so has the cooperation of many disciplines involved. To further deepen this field of knowledge we offer two MSc projects. The projects are suitable for individual or for small groups of students.

Theories/ discourses related to ‘Green urban planning and design’
Urban green infrastructure is an accumulation of green elements and green spaces within the built environment. Green infrastructure enhances various vegetation types (e.g. grass, trees, green facades, parks, urban forests) and various functions (e.g. recreation, agriculture, water retention, quality of life). Green urban spaces are under pressure through ongoing urbanization, being expansion of buildings and built surfaces and (grey) infrastructure above and below ground. At the same time, the positive impact of urban green on cities’ resilience (e.g. urban climate, air quality, food production, biobased circular economies) and citizens’ health and well-being is evident (e.g. recreation, local food, participation).

The question is how can urban green be designed on the long term to ensure resilience and high quality of live in urban environments? Planning and design theories and design paradigms like ‘Green infrastructure’, ‘Landscape Urbanism’ or ‘Urban Ecology’ contribute to answer that question. But how is urban green defined in each of the theories? And what are the most suitable aspects of certain theories that could be applied/ developed further to gain long-term resilient urban green?
This thesis seeks to investigate theories and discourses in landscape architecture or related disciplines that relate to green urban planning and design. In a second step, the theoretical knowledge will be applied and tested in a site specific design.