Our PhD students (F to J)

Willie Fikken

Project title: Co-investment in sustainable urban development projects

Project summary: Due to financial restrictions it is hard to implement sustainability measures in urban development projects.  A co-investment strategy, implemented by the variety of stakeholders typically involved in these projects, offers a promising solution. The emphasis of the study is on the motives and circumstances, which determine the willingness of actors to co-invest in sustainable urban development projects. The study aims to gain insights into the terms and conditions under which sustainable urban development projects overcome the initial financial restrictions. Based on the insights specific, context-related recommendations for designers and decision makers of these kind of projects will be developed.

Related platform: Sustainable city systems

Claudiu Forgaci

Project title: Resilient Urban Form. A morphological approach to urban resilience: the case of Bucharest

Project summary: The research explores the links between the two domains of Urban Resilience and Urban Morphology and it commences with the hypothesis that an accurate description of spatial urbanization patterns may give evidence about the capacity of urban environments to respond to known and unknown disturbances (for instance, climate-related events such as floods, earthquakes, but also changes that are unpredictable in nature, magnitude or occurance). Following this hypothesis, the research focuses on the case of Bucharest and aims to develop a spatial and resilience framework based on the concept of territorial synergy. Considering the complexity of the context and topic of enquiry, the exploratory nature of the research, the variety and changing nature of data sources, and, consequently, the need for triangulation, the study employs a mixed method approach, structured in two parallel threads: (1) an extensive literature review, meant to find correlations between the two theoretical fields and (2) a design-based research focusing on the case of Bucharest, on which the hypotheses are tested and the connections between the two fields are identified through design.

Related platform: Sustainable city systems

Santiago Gaitan Sabogal

Project title: Urban adaptation to climate change effects

Project summary: Higher densities of people and assets, and heavier weather conditions, intensify vulnerability of cities to pluvial flooding. Cities need to adapt this increasing threat. However, the mechanism leading to damage after heavy rains is not completely understood. The goal of my research is to analyze spatial characteristics of the urban environment that can significantly be linked to rainfall-related flooding impacts. The spatial distribution of environmental, demographic, cadastral, and crowd-sensed information is being assessed. Findings will identify variables explaining the spatial variability of rainfall-related incidents. Such findings will be valuable for the ongoing adaptation plans and practices of cities facing the effects of climate change.

Related platform: Sustainable city systems

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Anouk Griffioen

Project title: Saving energy when others pay the bill: A field experimental approach to behavioral aspects of energy conservation in student housing and hotel settings

Project summary: This project aims to expand theoretical knowledge about stimulating energy conservation behavior in situations where financial incentives are irrelevant. In these instances, other approaches, such as feedback or nudges, may offer promising alternatives in motivating individuals to act pro-environmentally. Therefore, we want to test different types of interventions in terms of their effectiveness in motivating individuals to decrease their energy and water consumption. Motivating people to decrease their energy consumption is not just about changing behavior, but also heavily depends on their response to technical interventions aimed at saving energy. Therefore, we also want to test how individuals respond to new technologies and how this affects their energy use. Our aim is to translate the findings on individual behavior and adaptation to new technologies into functioning interventions in practice.

Related platform: Transforming the built environment

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Project website under construction

Jannis Hoch

Project title: Global high-resolution database of current and future river flood hazard to support planning, adaption and re-insurance

Project summary: Up to now, assessments of flood hazard and flood risk have been based on inundation depth for given return periods. However, flow velocity, duration of flooding, timing and spatial correlation are as important for the estimation of losses. Calculating water velocities, flood duration and timing requires the use of a fully-fledged hydrodynamic flood module that is fully coupled to the global hydrological model. To tackle this challenge this PhD project has the following objectives: 1. To couple a fast river water routing and flooding module to a global hydrological model to allow for global analyses of  probabilities of flood occurrence, flood depth, flood duration and timing. 2. To apply the coupled model to analyze past and project future flood occurrence, depth and duration and store runs in a space-time database. 3. To build a prototype tool that enables complex spatio-temporal queries on the space-time database to support more involved questions on flood hazard as required by stakeholders. 4. To test the tool and the underlying database to two cases in close consultation with stakeholders.

Related platform: Adaption services

Marc Jaxa-Rozen

Project title: Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) Smart Grids

Project summary: Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) can provide major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment, by storing energy in aquifers for the heating and cooling of buildings. At the level of individual buildings, these systems can reduce energy consumption by more than half. The Netherlands are a world leader in the development and implementation of ATES technology; there are now approximately 2000 ATES systems in the country, a number which is expected to grow tenfold by 2025. As such, my PhD project is part of a broader research effort on ATES Smart Grids (ATES-SG) at TU Delft, which attempts to improve the collective performance of ATES systems using case studies in Utrecht and Amsterdam. My research will combine qualitative stakeholder analysis, agent-based modeling, and detailed hydrological models, to test how different ATES control and governance schemes may influence the adoption of ATES in urban areas – and to evaluate how this may in turn affect the sustainability of the subsurface as a common resource.

Related platform: Sustainable city systems

Interesting links:


Yu Jiang

Project title: Bio-energy policies for achieving liveable and sustainable cities of the future: an integrated game-model-data approach (E-game)

Project summary: Diverse challenges such as climate change and energy security call for a social transition from fossil-fuels-based economy to bio-based economy. However, it remains uncertain how the increasing level of bioenergy use in the cities will affect current urban energy systems. Furthermore, introduction of electric vehicles and heat pump make it difficult to predict the consumption. Consequently, heat and electricity supply and demand become more difficult to plan. Uncertainties in supply and demand are leading to an increased complexity of supply and demand matching. These uncertainties will affect energy suppliers, grid operators, and consumers. E-game project aims at investigating and developing a novel computer-aided agent-based simulation method for bio-based smart energy systems to provide scientific insights and a decision support tool to help decision makers with shaping and directing the transition to a bio-based sustainable urban energy system.

Related platform: Sustainable city systems