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Spatial Modelling & Urban Futures Lab 



The Spatial Modelling & Urban Futures Lab’s approach to design-research is multidisciplinary, in the aim to formulate critical perspectives that encompasses spatial sciences, geography, data and design strategies. Research within the Lab integrate aspects of (interior)architecture, territorial design and urbanisation, informed by sciences and humanities to deepen the concepts that drive material, technological and societal processes, whilst formulating analytic capacities for all dimensions of the spatial and built landscape.

The co-influence between theory and practice, allows for methodological diversity whilst establishing a range of traditional and non-traditional research outcomes. The Lab takes this role within The School of Design, based on design’s integrative capacity to reconcile the landscape of the Anthropocene as part material condition (geography), part production complex, scale orders and embedded in complex ecological systems.


Although situated in an Asian setting, the lab has developed research pertinent to Hong Kong, the Greater The Greater Bay Area, the Mainland China, South America and Austral-Asia.


Drawing from the experience of each of its members, the Lab outlines 4 directions of design-research; Spatial Topologies, Urban Futures, Strategic Interventions and Material-space cycles. In addition, these are surmised under ten bodies of work, and nine PhD research projects.

[a] Space Topologies & Architectural Systems

Space Topologies & Architectural Systems concerns the design and sciences of physical settings and geographies. Urban environments erode distinctions between architecture and geography such that built and natural immerse into environment as integrated conditions.


Within this theme, researchers work to develop survey, mapping, morphological modelling, and analysis technology as critical reflections of spatial types. The integration of geomatics, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), LiDAR, photogrammetric scanning, Building Information Modelling (BIM), and parametric modelling helps to advance the science and management of increasingly complex territorial environments. Working across the scales of the urban , this research focus mechanises technologies to further inform concepts within architectural systems, that are adaptive, kinetic and transformative within the digital and informational paradigm.


[b] Urban Futures


The Urban Futures sub-theme focusses on urban environments as fully complex systems. In a reading of the urban condition as an ecology of politics, economics, and social interactions open speculative futures of the built form, seeking valance between cycles and process that impact future development. Moving beyond the conventional approach to urban agglomerations, fuelled by information sets of demography, economics, ethnography, and governance, the theme mechanises theory, artistic means and practice in its propositions to the future notions of place production, human and bio waste management, planning, place making, citizenships, productive landscapes, heritage, urban management and infrastructural landscapes part and parcel of the Anthropocene. 


[c] Strategic Interventions

Strategic Intervention centres on the praxis of design methodologies and space. If physical conditions can be understood as bounded knowledge within a changing typology framed as systems context, researchers within this sub-theme study capacities for action and intervention within these evolving conditions. Herein the projection and testing of design methodologies to initiate change takes precedence. From the scale of territories to 1-to-1 scale projects, the research theme tests digital, gamification, strategic protocols and hybrid methods that induce change, whether through the practise of territorial planning, social models or tool sets developed for tool-poor communities.

[d] Material Space Cycles

Material Space Cycles focus not so much on the context of settings but the material changes as they occur over time and in specific instances. This theme, allows for differentiated approaches to material studies in both traditional and non-traditional design-research formats. This may include explorations of specific elements, their singular embodiment versus the multiplicity of changes that occur through external conditions. Or how a singular element, through the conditions of design, may alter in shape, form and characteristics, that in turn impact the functionality of spatial settings, or change the material and scientific properties of elements. The theme embraces high-tech and virtual tools that facilitate digital modelling, fabrication coding, and representational platforms that link to engineering, architecture, space and commercial viability of developed tools.


Team Members


  • Department of Applied Social Sciences

  • ​Department of Land Surveying and Geo-informatics

  • Faculty of Architecture TU Delft

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