The Studios

The two studios cover a whole semester; thus a full first year in total. The studios are set up as real life cases, whereby the first studio is focussed in innovative design and the second studio on efficient project management. The students work both individually and in a group as if they were part of a project agency. The cases discussed in the studio are derived from actual ongoing planning processes in practice. Students enter conversations with the main (planning) actors and end users directly. In the first studio the emphasis is on analysing the context, detecting opportunities and formulating strategic goals. In the second studio these goals are being worked out for execution and realization according to an actor-oriented approach.

Some examples of the studio’s:

The urbanization of Dendermonde, autumn 2016
Guidance: Michiel Dehaene (responsible lecturer), Peter Vanden Abeele

This studio started with an introduction in spatial design and project approaches. The main task was to 'make the programme' within an accessible context of a small municipality in Flanders, in this case Dendermonde. Starting from a wide analysis of different aspects of this context, several optional proposals for the future of this municipality were elaborated. For this exercise the students were asked to take the role of an external consultant or a planning engineer within the strategic planning cell of the municipality, in order to formulate a project definition, and to perform preparatory (study and design) work, including the necessary spatial analysis, the covenant within the existing developmental dynamics, the ratio to current projects and planning tools, the necessary design research, feasibility and objectives etc. The exercise started from a shared analysis conducted by the entire group, ending with individual 'project definitions'. During the Studio short workshops were organized to elaborate concrete design skills to spatially frame and pursue the strategic projects.
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The impact of scattered retail on the core shopping area Lokeren, spring 2017
Guidance: Luuk Boelens (responsible lecturer), Geert Haentjes

In reference to the first studio mentioned above this studio also focussed on a small municipality in Flanders, but now specifically with regard to the scattered retail along provincial and regional highways. The planning and design process was organised along four steps: tracing the problems, mapping the possibilities, diagramming and consultation of the involved actors, elaborating possible alliances and agencies for implementation. Objective of this project was the reclamation of the spread retailing along the provincial highway N70 in order to re-strenghten the fading core store areas of the smaller and medium sized cities alongside; in this case Lokeren. For this purpose, Three potential catchment locations were researched and designed within this municipality: the cluster Ter Beek (with an interior design focus), the cluster Dam (for food) and the cluster Kaai (for recycling retail). Subsequently the main stake- and shareholders were identified for each of these clusters and the proposals were discussed with each of them. Based on these discussions the plans were adjusted, and further calculated on their financial feasibility and economic surplus value for retailers and the core shopping area of Lokeren itself. The results of these elaborations were such promising that they are now taken into consideration by the involved governments, project developers and retailers.
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