Interdisciplinary Research Program – TUDelft Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment
Transdisciplinary Lecture Series—5 Conversations on the Present (state of)—Session 4 (Cross-Over)

Within the framework of:

Section of Urban Design
Delta Futures Lab
Delta Urbanism Research Group
Graduation Studio—Transitional Territories
(Joint Studio with AA, Diploma Unit 9, Third Territorial Attractor)

Dalhousie University
Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning
Graduate Design Studio—Facts or Fictions: Cities on the Sea

Hosted by:

Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Section of Urban Design—Delta Urbanism, TUDelft

Catherine Ann Somerville Venart
School of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture and Planning
Dalhousie University

Luisa Maria Calabrese
Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Section of Urban Design—Delta Urbanism, TUDelft

Isabella Coutand
Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Faculty of Science
Dalhousie University


Image: Perforated and Fractured Territories
Socio-territorial identity building as response to growing interest in metalogenic mining in Finnmark, Northern Norway. MSc.Urbanism Thesis by Mark Slierings, Transitional Territories Studio 2018-2019.

Two views points on the subject, followed by a short discussion on overlaps, differences, provocations, oppositions.



10:00—11:30 CET


Hub Zwart
What is convergence and why is it important?
Convergence emerges on three levels:
  • Intense collaboration between Research Performing Organisations (universities, technical universities, medical centres, research institutes, etc.)
  • Intense collaboration and mutual learning between disciplines and fields, not only between various sciences (biomedical research, nanoscience, technoscience, computer sciences), but also between the sciences, the social sciences and the humanities (trans-disciplinarity)
  • Intense interaction and mutual learning between RPOs and societal stakeholders, as part of the research methodology, providing interactive momentum to research methodologies: Quadruple Helix, RRI, Crowdsourcing, etc.
I will first of all present a short history of the concept of convergence.
  • William Whewell, invented the word “science”, but also “citizen science” (e.g. meteorology, oceanography, etc.)
  • Robert Koch: laboratory research and field work
  • 1945: National Science Foundation (NSF): Vannevar Bush, Science, the Endless Frontier: big science approach to overcome the divide between basic and applied research. Most famous product: INTERNET
  • 2019: NSF: Convergence Accelerator ; promote convergence research via “deep” interdisciplinary collaboration and partnerships across disciplines and between academic and non-academic stakeholders. Two tracks: Harnessing the Data Revolution and Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier
  • The concept “Responsible Research and Innovation”
Against this backdrop, I will outline the challenges and added value of the EUR – ErasmusMC – TU Delft convergence process:
  • Convergence to address disruptive challenges
  • Inclusive and responsive innovation
  • Ubiquitous expertise and epistemic inclusiveness

Hub Zwart (1960) studied philosophy and psychology at Radboud University Nijmegen, worked as a research associate at the Centre for Bioethics in Maastricht (1988-1992) and defended his thesis (cum laude) in 1993. In 2000 he became full Professor of Philosophy at the Faculty of Science RU Nijmegen and in 2018 he was appointed as Dean of Erasmus School of Philosophy (Erasmus University Rotterdam). He published 17 books and >100 academic papers. He is editor-in-chief of the Library for Ethics and Applied Philosophy (Springer) and of the journal Life Sciences, Society and Policy(Springer). In his research he develops a continental philosophical perspective on contemporary technoscience (genomics, synthetic biology, brain research). Special attention is given to genres of the imagination (novels, plays, poetry) in research and education.



Nikki Brand
“The role of spatial design in cross-disciplinary learning”
Her lecture called “The role of spatial design in cross-disciplinary learning” explains, first, the need for and difficulty of cross-disciplinary learning. Second, it explores the potential of spatial designers (architects, landscape architects and urban designers) in team-science efforts that pursue integrated knowledge. The purpose of the lecture is to build an understanding of the academic context they receive their education from, and the role they may play in the building of the resilience of future deltas around the globe.


Nikki Brand is strategy advisor cross-disciplinary learning at TU Delft. Nikki was trained as a geographer and urban planner at the University of Amsterdam, with an interest in long-term urban development patterns. After receiving her PhD at the Architecture-faculty of Delft, her focus expanded to study urban flood resilience efforts in the Netherlands and Texas. Realizing that effective combination of different forms of expertise is crucial for the urgent pursuit of flood resilience world-wide, Nikkimoved track to study cross-disciplinary learning. She currently co-chairs the Methodology-theme of the Resilient Delta convergence-initiative between Erasmus University, Erasmus Medical Center and TU Delft, together with Hub Zwart.


After Territory Symposium / Inland-Seaward End-of-Cycle Exhibition – Transitional Territories Studio and Research
Section of Urban Design/Transitional Territories Lecture Series—After Territory—Session 3