QLE.20.011 – Transform by Design

Route: Quality of the living environment

Cluster question: 030 How can we keep our densely populated country liveable?

While the severity of the energy and climate crisis calls for a discussion on transformative (and potentially disruptive) change, science, engineering, design, governance, and practice are currently too detached to effectively contribute to such discussion.
This project will adopt Research by Design into a transdisciplinary approach that will allow for a full discussion on, and implementation (living labs) of, transformative change in the Socio-Technical-Ecological System (STES) of the Dutch delta. We will use high-end IPPC sea-level scenarios as a driver for integrated transformative change in our energy, mobility, transport, housing and agricultural systems. Our research is (climate) action oriented; it aims to connect and re-connect citizens, spatial designers, spatial planners, engineers, ecologists, geographers, economist and policy analysts in a design-oriented practise for transformative change based on STES.
Where STES is predominantly linked to the governance and management system, our Research by Design will take a multi-layer stratified model approach that distinguishes spatial planning in a land-use occupation layer, an infrastructure network layer and a subsurface layer. True transdisciplinary work will be at the intersection between systems and layers.
The research will be scale-free, seeking to defy multi-system and layer issues through design-based interaction in local, regional, and national living-labs. Lab, system and layer demarcation relations and actions will be designed based on solutions rather than problems. To achieve its objectives, Transform by Design connects academics and professionals from different institutes and practises. The research uses a multi-method approach combining design, engineering, modelling and action research with participative approaches and citizen science. Its products are innovative practices and designs, supporting methods and models and informed professionals and citizens and active niches for transformative change.


climate action, research by design, socio-technical-ecological systems, transformative change

Other organisations

Policy and Management, TUDelft Faculty of Architecture, TUDelft Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, TUDelft Faculty of Technology, Zones Urbaines Sensibles (ZUS.cc)


Organisation Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences (TUD)
Name Dr. Joep E.A. Storms
E-mail j.e.a.storms@tudelft.nl