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An independent designer and researcher since 2003, Paul de Graaf investigates possibilities for designing the human habitat as a sustainable socio-ecological system; reintroducing natural processes and ecological principles in the humanmade environment.
His work involves research, design, writing, organisation and teaching and is informed by more than 15 years of experience and meeting with and learning from pioneers in the field of ecological design, ecological engineering and sustainable agriculture. He combines an international orientation, network and expertise with strong local engagement.
He is an expert on the sustainable integration of agriculture and other multifunctional living systems in the city, and initiator of a number of local networks, innovative collaborations and events in this field. A founding member of the Dutch expert group in urban agriculture Eetbaar Rotterdam, he is initiator and main author of the study Room for Urban Agriculture in Rotterdam and took part in several other studies on the role urban and peri-urban agriculture can play in the city. As initiator of the Rotterdam Forest Garden Network initiates and develops food forest and agroforestry pilot projects and studies the possibilities for food forestry and agroforestry in the Netherlands. To disseminate knowledge and skills in the local urban agriculture scene he set up the yearly educational festival ERGroeit and co-started the online Stadslandbouwtijdschrift (Urban Agriculture Magazine) of which he is editor and contributor.
He is attached to Rural Sociology as an external PhD. The subject of his dissertation is Integrating urban food production in urban planning. The interaction between planners and societal urban agriculture initiatives and its influence on planning policy in a complex, pluralistic society. Within Centre for Space, Place and Society he is part of the Foodscapes Cluster.