LDE-minor: (Re)Imagining Port Cities: Understanding Space, Society and Culture


Joint Minor Erasmus University Rotterdam, TU Delft and Leiden University 



Designing is imagining the future. In a time of climate change and multiple transitions, a ‘designerly’ attitude is needed more than ever. Understanding past practices, institutional frameworks and socio-cultural conditions is the basis for new interventions. In this minor, students link research and design from multi-disciplinary, cross-cultural perspectives with a focus on the future of Rotterdam Harbour. Students will develop the skills to identify and address the challenges that port cities are facing now and in the future.

Land meets water, and industry meets urban meets rural spaces. Throughout the ages, port cities have boosted economic and social developments, but they have also caused pollution and social injustice. ‘Whenever there is a one-sided focus on economic growth, as has been the case in recent decades, you shouldn’t be surprised if urban planning goes awry,’ says Elise van Dooren, assistant professor at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment of TU Delft. ‘Add to this the most urgent societal issue of our time, climate change, and there is every reason to come up with fresh ideas for port cities.

Learning objectives

In this minor you will work on a series of short design and research studies (Q1) and a design project (Q2), and learn to:

  • study (analyze and reflect) the historical, social and cultural context in port-city areas in relation to the present and the future 
  • experiment (explore and test) with possible alternative future ideas, supported by the studies
  • take position as designer with regard to the future of port cities by choosing a theme or quality
  • elaborate the theme in a design at different scale levels, such as public space, street furniture and/or an urban vision.

Special aspects

This minor is a collaboration between Leiden University, TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam. This minor is open for all BSC students with interest in portcities (in particular the city of Rotterdam) and in research and design in a social, historical and cultural context. For non-design students, this means an introduction into the way designers think and act and an understanding of the relationship between designing and their own professional way of thinking. For design students this means that they will be able to improve themselves in the design process, especially in a social, cultural context. NB: this is a selection minor, please register between 1 April 13h00 and 14 April 13h00 in OSIRIS Student. The groups will be divided as much as possible on the basis of equal numbers of students from Delft/Leiden and Erasmus. 

Teaching methods

Lectures, design and research studies

Frequently asked questions


Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication
Studiepunten (EC)

TU Delft / Leiden University / Erasmus University Rotterdam


Please read the application procedure for more information. 

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