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TU Delft, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, [A+BE] Graduate School

Amsterdam in motion. A continuous process of change in the urban block.

Keywords: Change, urban block, actors, scale, urban development

Urbanism Department
Area of Research: Urbanism

Flora Nycolaas
PhD started in: 2011
MSc. Architecture,
TUDelft, NL.


Prof. dr. ir. V. J. Meyer
Prof. ir. D. E. van Gameren
Daily Supervisor(s):
Ir. J. A. Westrik

Research Summary: Change in an existing city is an on-going process. Complexity theorists

conceive cities as systems being continually out-of-equilibrium. This implies it is impossible to aim for a
certain future situation. In this research is questioned whether a pattern can be found in the physical
changes and the changes in use occurring, although cities are complex systems. To this end, I study
the diverse types of change witnessed in Amsterdam during the past century. They are categorized
according to the scale of change and related to the specific actors involved. The research presents a
framework for the urban block to clarify the adaptability of the block. Moreover a portfolio of the city
of Amsterdam is provided, which defines future possible changes. These results serve respectively in
urban design and policy-making to incorporate the process of change in urban development. This is
especially of importance now the roles in urban development are shifting and bottom-up processes are
Research Methodology: This research uses different neighborhoods as case-studies which are
selected based on the categorization of the changes that occurred in the city of Amsterdam as a
whole. The changes are studied using historical maps, photos and statistics. A structural analysis of
the cases is done by a plan-analysis and studying existing literature.
Key Publications: Hausleitner, Birgit and Flora Nycolaas, 2012. Control and Physical Units in the
Urban Block of Amsterdam. Paper presented at the EAAE ISUF conference New urban
configurations, Delft, October 16-19.

Email: F.A.Nycolaas-1@tudelft.nl
Phone: +31 6 51301986
Main Question: How can urban
designers contribute to enable future
development in the existing city?

Deliverables: A framework for the

adaptability of the urban block and a
portfolio, which clarifies possible future
changes in the city as a whole.


Nycolaas, Flora, 2013. Actors in the process of transformation in Amsterdam. Paper presented at the
Updated: October 16, 2013
AESOP conference Changing cities: spatial, morphological, formal and socio-economic dimensions,
Skiathos Island, June 18-21.