Design, Social Media and Technology to Foster Civic Self-Organisation (21-22/05/2015) conference

Ever since the turn of the millennium, countries all over Europe are increasingly witnessing situations in which citizens are demanding a more direct form of democracy, ranging from a cry for more information, to being involved in actual decision-making procedures, and even to get the autonomy to (partly) self-organize. At the same time, governments of these countries are increasingly putting citizen participation at the centre of their policy objectives, striving for more transparency, the coproduction of public projects, and even the empowerment of local people and communities to self-organize and take up part of the decision power (e.g. the idea of the ‘Big Society’ in the UK and the ‘Participation Society’ in the Netherlands).

In short, there is a loud and clear call for civic self-organisation. In order to facilitate this call, what is needed is a multitude of “architectures, technologies of speech, sets of procedures, definitions of freedom and domination, ways of bringing together those who are concerned – and even more important those who are not concerned – and what concerns them, and ways to obtain closure and come to a decision” [1]. Design, social media and technology have been put forward as a way to operationalize this multitude. Design refers here both to the analogue and the virtual, the temporary and the permanent and can range from the scale of objects to cities. Social media refers to digital applications supporting posting, sharing, commenting, rating, etc. And technology refers to hardware such as urban screens, smart tags, georeferenced sensors. The objective of this conference was to discuss three issues related to the implementation of this multitude.

More information about the conference:


Doctoral defense Marijn van de Weijer (30/04/2014)  
"Reconfiguration, Replacement or Removal? Evaluating the Flemish post-war detached dwelling and its part in contemporary spatial planning and architecture”

Promotor: prof. dr. Koenraad Van Cleempoel & prof. dr. Hilde Heynen (KULeuven)

New project: JPI Urban Europe-project on location-based games !

 Together with partners at the University of Groningen (NL) and the University of Hagenberg (AT), Oswald (within Capacity Building) submitted a research proposal for the JPI Urban Europe programma (

The goal of this proposal was to investigate how location-based games (i.e., games people play in group, on a specific location, using digital technology) can be used to stear complex urban processes.

Out of the 150 submissions, 10 projects were selected, including our project !  In the project, three Phd-students will collaborate and each student will develop and test a game in the cities of Genk, Groningen and Vienna. 

More info:

Doctoral defense Simona Sofronie (12/02/2014)
“A Location-based game to visualize spatial tactics”

Promotor: prof. dr. Oswald Devisch

Doctoral defense Lieve Weytjens (16/12/2013)
“Design support for energy efficiency and summer comfort of dwellings in early design phases - A framework for a design tool adapted to the architects practice in Flanders.”

Promotor: Prof. dr. Griet Verbeeck

Symposium (16/12/2013)
Sustainable architecture: research from an architect’s perspective.

Organised by Griet Verbeeck and Lieve Weytjens:

1) Developing better outputs from building thermal simulation tools to improve decision making in the design of low energy buildings.
   Dr. Clarice Bleil de Souza, Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University.

2) Forward to the Past / Back to the Future- the Vernacular Prospect of Connected Architecture.
   Prof. dr. Andy van den Dobbelsteen, Faculty of Architecture, TU Delft.

3) From bioclimatic architecture to sustainable architecture.
   Prof. dr. André De Herde, Faculté d’Architecture, d’Ingénierie architecturale et d’Urbanisme, UCLouvain

Symposium on the occasion of the inauguration of the Faculty of Architecture and arts (ARK) of Hasselt University (8/10/2013)

De rol van een faculteit Architectuur en kunst in het maatschappelijk debat / The role of a faculty of Architecure and arts in societal debate

At the start of its very first year as the Faculty of Architecture and arts, we organised a symposium in which academics, designers, architects, artists, and professional actors react on statements put forward by our researchers and reflect on the role a faculty of Architecture and arts should play in todays society.

With a.o. Pascal Cools, Koen Van Synghel, Christophe Grafe, Anita Evenepoel, Patrizia Zanoni, Heleen Van Loon, Karl De Sloovere, Gideon Boye, Annemarie van Zeijl, Patrick Boucneau...




The symposium was finished up with the presentation of the inaugural publication 'RE  SEARCH COLLECTED - MAD ArcK'.

In this publication, both the faculty itself and the two research groups of the new faculy, ArcK and MAD research, present themselves through texts, images and an overview of recent projects...