Climate adaptation in design education: applying a fourstep research by design strategy

Ifigeneia Psarra, Luc Willekens

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic

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    The purpose of this paper is to discuss the insights gained by testing in a design studio a particular research-by-design strategy, focusing on the generation of innovative solutions for climate change adaptation. The strategy is based on the Design Thinking Process and has been applied in the climate adaptation design studio, which took place in 2022 at a Master of Architecture degree program in the Netherlands. The case study area was the Zernike university campus in Groningen, the Netherlands, which is situated in the verge between the city and the surrounding rural landscape, facing the urgent climate change challenges of the wider region, mainly floodings due to increased frequency of rainfalls and sea level rise. Furthermore, the area faces particular challenges, such as the increasing demand for serving additional needs, beyond the current educational and business related functions, such as (student) housing. Three indicative design research projects were selected to illustrate the tested research-by-design strategy, while systematic input has been collected from the participating students regarding the impact of this strategy on their design process. The results reveal that this strategy facilitates the iterative research-by-design process and hence offers a systematic approach to convert the threats of climate change into opportunities by unravelling the potentials of the study area, resulting in place-based, innovative and adaptive solutions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages24
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2023
    EventInternational Associations of Design Research 2023: Life Changing Design - Polytecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy
    Duration: 9 Oct 202313 Oct 2023


    ConferenceInternational Associations of Design Research 2023
    Abbreviated titleIASDR 23
    Internet address


    • climate adaptation
    • research-by-design
    • design thinking process
    • design education
    • university campus


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