The research of the Expertise Center reflects its roots in the history and theory of architecture and urbanism: it focuses on architectural and urban objects, their cultural values, and their performance (specifically in terms of health impacts). Topics range from urban biographies to designers' monographs, from building typologies to the issues at stake when modifying cultural heritage, from the morphology of post-war housing estates to the use and reuse of public space.
Informal urban realities interest me
The choice for this particular Master's track was easy. The diversity of the topics and the city itself, both offer a wide and interesting field of research. The University of Groningen furthermore is the only programme that offers a special research topic: the Healthy City.
My primary interest concerns the contemporary urban condition of non-western cities, now focussed on Sub-Sahara Africa, researched from an historical and health-related perspective. It is in these regions that the global city seems to be most visible, where urban policies meet dramatic demographic growth and a continuous friction between the formal and non-formal dimensions of the urban phenomenon.
Informal urban realities interest me. As when official planning strategies are only partly implemented, how does urban space develop, who uses it and why is this space as it is? In Nairobi I have researched this topic. A unique and inspiring experience!
The diverse modules in the master, have allowed me to work on my research and presentation skills and gain a better knowledge of research methods in general. As well as getting more acquainted with the phenomenon of the global city.
Next to my studies, my job as student-assistant allows me to work with international students working in the field of architecture and town planning. Groningen has a large community of (inter)national students, offering plenty of interesting contacts.
It brings different types of students of educational, cultural backgrounds and research interests together
We had the opportunity to take “The Origins of the Healthy City” course in the first semester of 2013. The course may be a small part of the programme itself, but through it is possible to visualize its overall approach and intentions.
It brings different types of students of educational, cultural backgrounds and research interests together. The lecture conduction is definitely remarkable; after the first lectures, the course turned into extremely productive and informative platform for the students, providing theories to comprehend the historical development of the City/Health relationship, and its mechanisms and phenomena throughout the times. Another highlight is the collective development of the Atlas, the conclusion assignment, which encourages the dialogue and interaction among the participants (Architects/ Urbanists ↔ Engineers ↔ Architectural Historians) in order to obtain a well conceptualized document which offers not only a diagnosis of the present, but the possibility to discuss new “Healthy Cities” paradigms within an institutional approach and bottom-up/community initiatives; instigating the student to rethink our global society's development pattern.
Felipe Amaral (24)
Brazilian Exchange Student – Environmental Engineering Bachelor (final year) in Brazil and Urban Planning Design in the Netherlands. City: Rio de Janeiro.
Matheus Assumpção (19)
Brazilian Exchange Student – Environmental Engineering Bachelor (3rd year) in Brazil and Urban Planning Design in the Netherlands. City: Belém.
Project Officer at Platform GRAS
I am fascinated by cities and urban development. During a city trip to Paris, I made the decision to actually do something with my fascination. The links between people, buildings and the complexity of infrastructure like the city's metro network intrigued me enormously. That's really why I started a Master's track in History of Architecture and Town Planning at the University of Groningen.
During my studies I did a placement at AIR architecture centre in Rotterdam. I worked on a project in which I used timelines to chart a number of locations in the centre of Rotterdam. With the help of archives I searched for stories and illustrations, and one of the things I was able to show was why there are still empty spaces in the middle of Rotterdam without any plans for them.
I completed my degree in Prague, where I wrote my Master's thesis on 'The development and preservation of nineteenth-century neighbourhoods in post-Communist Prague'. I researched how actors such as property developers, designers, architects, officials and citizens influence the preservation of the historical fabric of the city, the city's typology and the importance of historical buildings and monuments during the design and construction of new complexes in and around the nineteenth-century neighbourhoods of Prague.
I am currently working as a volunteer for Platform GRAS, the architecture and urban planning platform here in Groningen. I am organizing events such as the Architecture Day and Open Monument Day. I also write texts for the Big Groningen Building Questionnaire. I'm really enjoying it and would love to keep working here. I would also like to do something with urban development or architecture with a municipality or province.