Scientists from the Faculty of Architecture carry out various international research projects in collaboration with European, Asian and US educational and research institutions as well as with municipalities and private companies. Every year the scientists of the Faculty of Architecture participate in several high-level international project competitions to ensure the attraction of funding for the development of innovative and high-quality holistic environmental solutions.
Project implementation period: 01.02.2020-12.21.2023
Summary: The goal of this project is to create a comprehensive framework of urban regeneration using up-to-date information systems, which will explain the interrelation between these two issues, their cross-impact, and which gives seeds for further development of practical solutions.
The project is aiming knowledge exchange between partners regarding urban regeneration issues using up-to-date information systems. As a result, leading to an understanding of regional peculiarities in this question and combines international and interdisciplinary knowledge to offer solutions and form a basis for further research.
Project implementation period: 2020-2023
Summary: Citizen engagement in urban planning has been a challenge for plan-makers for decades. With the advances in ICT, a solution in the form of e-participation has created many expectations but lacks well-founded and evidence-based knowledge on the effects and contribution these technologies bring to both the plan-makers and citizens. Therefore, the aim of the project is to better understand the role of e-participation in current citizen engagement practices in urban planning and to assess the added value and potentials of using e-participation tools in the plan-making process in the Baltic States. The main research steps (activities) include (1) status quo analysis on the use of e-participation tools in citizen engagement in urban planning in the Baltic States; (2) impact assessment to understand the added-value of e-participation in the plan-making process from the perspective of municipal planning agencies; and (3) analysis of citizen perspectives on the role and potentials of e-participation in engaging citizens in the urban planning process. The project results are planned to reflect how e-participation is integrated into overall participatory planning processes in the Baltic cities, if and what positive impact e-participation has had on the scale of citizen engagement, quality, and feasibility of the received feedback, relevance and translatability of the citizen ideas into plans and policies as well as areas of improvement. The knowledge generated during the project will be used to develop recommendations for municipalities on the integration of e-participation in urban planning.
Project implementation period: 09.01.2019-12.31.2022
Summary: The LOTUS project aims to design the tools needed by teachers in higher education to fulfill the role by designing an interactive curriculum, which will allow Europe’s future city planners, architects and administrative staff to guide communities to a greener future and transfer successful concepts across borders and national contexts.
The project partners will design a curriculum («Curriculum on urban transition of energy - CUTE») to be applied across different fields of studies concerned with city or energy planning. To facilitate the exchange of national experiences the partners will link their individual programs and students together in an interdisciplinary student conference on the topic. Amending and underlining the shared curriculum, the partners will design an educative city planning role-playing game («Urban Energy Management Game - UrbEM») in which the students and teachers will be able to test and implement new energy concepts in a dynamic framework. To supply the role-playing game, and the regular teaching, with real world scenarios, the partners will develop a catalogue of experiences («catalogue of real cases - CoRC»), including good practice, administrative processes based on local experiences in urban energy and climate planning across Europe as to test and facilitate the transferability of lessons learned in present and future. Furthermore, as a companion to the curriculum as well as the other project results, the project partners will compose a textbook on urban energy transition as a tool for teachers and learners in higher education.
The results of the project, e.g. the curriculum, the role-playing game and the catalogue of cases and practice will be made generally available and used to pursue a further spread of «green thinking» in higher education.
Keywords: local energy transition, green communities, urban planning, serious game
Project implementation period: 09.01.2019-08.31.2022
Summary: The overall objective of the BuildDigiCraft project is to establish a European training network for young researchers, teachers and practitioners that promotes innovative teaching approaches for shaping the built environment in the digital age. By addressing the potentials of digitalization and its effects on the built environment, the new teaching approaches will be aimed at enabling the introduction of an imminent and highly necessary cultural and organizational change in the planning and building sector in Europe.
The methodological approach of the project reflects the understanding that the shaping of the built environment is a result of complex and diverse processes and includes design, planning, construction and maintenance. Generally speaking, these processes are influenced by the available knowledge and an understanding of materiality. As a result, the project outputs will be developed reflecting these three perspectives.
Four Intensive Study Programmes (ISP1-ISP4) will be realized within the three years of the project. Thematically they deal with the following topics: (1) fundamentals of Baukultur and craftsmanship, (2) digital reality and (3) knowledge-transfer. The last ISP «Re-think Baukultur» will be focused on an overall reflection of the first three study programs. At this last ISP a new understanding of the concept of Baukultur in Europe in the digital age will be generated and consolidated on a network level.
Implementation period: 2018-2022
Summary: Resource depletion, climate change and degradation of ecosystems are challenges faced by cities worldwide and will increase if cities do not adapt. In order to tackle those challenges, it is necessary to transform our cities into sustainable systems using a holistic approach. One element in achieving this transition is the implementation of nature-based solutions (NBS). They can provide a range of ecosystem services beneficial for the urban biosphere such as regulation of micro-climates, flood prevention, water treatment, food provision and more. However, most NBS are implemented serving only one single purpose. Adopting the concept of circular economy by combining different types of services and returning resources to the city, would increase the benefits gained for urban areas. This COST Action aims to establish a network testing the hypothesis that: «A circular flow system that implements NBS for managing nutrients and resources within the urban biosphere will lead to a resilient, sustainable and healthy urban environment». To tackle this challenge five working groups (WGs) give their contribution on closing the resource cycle within the urban biosphere. The five WGs will deal with the built environment, urban water, resource recovery, urban farming and transformation tools connecting the WGs and the socio-economic impact.
Keywords: Circular economy, Nature-based solutions, Resources recovery, Urban farming, Water
Implementation period: 2018-2022
Summary: The shortage of financial resources is a Europe-wide problem. Coming out of the economic and financial crisis, countries as well as municipalities have decreasing means to fulfil all their public commitments. For this reason, the main aim of this COST Action is the development of a common framework for value capturing and the provision of innovative tools for public value capture based on comparative analysis to optimize the allocation of development costs and benefits as well as to disencumber the public budget. While a considerable database exists, it nonetheless shows big gaps in the data and in some cases disagreement between sources of data. Because of the different terms of unearned increments and classifications of value capture it is not possible to compare different studies of several countries. This gives strength to the idea of approaching the European Union for a study based on a network of specialist country representatives to get a common terminology and classification. A very important result will be the implementation of a permanent Europe-wide network of land management experts to interchange the knowledge concerning public value capture and its dissemination to policy-makers and the general public. This network allows the improvement of existing tools by detailed discussions with experts of countries that have similar tools. On the other hand, thought-provoking impulses can be given by countries that have a totally different understanding of value capture. Participants from more than 30 countries are willing to work for the socio-economic breakthrough of public value capture.
Keywords: Land management, Public value capture, Planning policy implementation, Public finance sustainability
Implementation period: 07.07.2020-07.08.2020
Summary: The aim of the workshop was to provide a forum for discussing the benefits and challenges of market value-based taxation of real property, with a special accent on policy solutions that address public concerns while preserving the strength of the property tax as a local revenue source.
During the workshop, experts shared their experience and knowledge in real estate tax policy development and mass valuation, addressing issues to the broader context of the economic and social impact of this tax, including the impact of COVID-19.
The agenda featured sessions on valuation methods and tax equity; international experiences and challenges with alternative tax systems; approaches to residential taxation; mass valuation applications, standards, and data; the role of the property tax in sustainable land management and urban planning; considerations in tax rate setting; and enhancing communication and public awareness of tax policies. Many of the sessions was also address the impact of COVID-19 on property taxation and potential solutions for urban development.
The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy was represented by experts from the United States, Canada, the Republic of South Africa, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
The workshop was developed in collaboration with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (MA, USA), Riga Technical University, the State Land Service of Latvia and the Ministry of Justice.
Keywords: Land Value Taxation, Local Government, Property Taxation, Valuation, Value-Based Taxes, Urban development
Project implementation period: 2014-2017
Summary: From 2014 throw 2017 eight European partner schools in Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urbanism organized an Erasmus Intensive Program «Design in Urbanism» Summer Schools titled «The Big Reset on Neighborhood Design.» This 10-day European Intensive Program were consisting of inspiring lectures, intensive workshops and critical debates. The key question of debate was: «What role can urban planners and designers play in building coherent cities in the current conditions and what are the options for creating attractive and productive neighborhoods?»
Within Summers School sessions, large number of European architectural and urban planning students worked on developing fresh approaches and new variations for all-inclusive neighborhoods. This had started a European debate on the reset of neighborhood design and on the outcomes of this program. Participating schools: The Amsterdam Academy of Architecture (The Netherlands), LUCA School of Arts, Faculty of Architecture (Brussels, Belgium), Glasgow School of Arts, Mackintosh School of Architecture (Glasgow, UK), Bauhaus Universität, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Studies (Weimar, Germany), Istanbul Kültür Üniversitesi, Department of Architecture (Istanbul, Turkey), Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Arquitectura (Porto, Portugal), Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Architecture et de Paysage (Bordeaux, France), and Riga Technical University, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning (Latvia).
Project implementation period: 2013-2016
Summary: Digitization and creation of virtual museum of the cultural heritage of the Riga Art Nouveau Center.
Imlpementation period: 2013–2016
Summary: The objective of OIKONET (the OIKODOMOS Network) is to create a platform of collaboration to study contemporary housing from a multidisciplinary and global perspective by encompassing the multiple dimensions which condition the forms of dwelling in today’s societies: architectural, urban, environmental, economic, cultural and social.
The consolidated OIKODOMOS Virtual Campus will grow into a network by: 1) Incorporating other disciplines to the study of contemporary housing, such as economics, social studies, and historical preservation; 2) Including social and community organizations in the design and implementation of learning activities; 3) Addressing the global dimension of housing research, with the participation on non-European partners; 4) Expanding the OIKODOMOS Virtual Campus to a larger number of institutions, inside and outside Europe and 5) Enhancing the existing digital platform with new environments which will support the network's learning activities.
OIKONET will intertwine three areas of activity each one making a subnetwork within the network:
1. Research on housing studies from a multidisciplinary and global approach;
2. Participatory actions to engage communities in the definition, solution, and evaluation of housing problems; and
3. Pedagogical activities that bring together different stakeholders, learning environments, and disciplines.
Keywords: OIKONET, housing, residential architecture, urban multidisciplinary studies
Imlplementation period: 2012–2016
Summary: COST Action TU1201 aimed to study urban Allotment Gardens and their relevance for sustainable urban development by creating a scientific platform. During the last 20 years, due to the densification of urban areas and increasing loss of green infrastructure, a revival of interest in Allotment Gardens and simultaneous competition of other kinds of land use for the available urban space has occurred. Therefore, through selected case studies and in-depth research (into the areas of policy and urban development, sociology, ecology, urban design), the focus of the Action was on both qualitative and quantitative studies to comprehend challenges and opportunities in areas of urban design, sociology, ecology, and policy. The relevance and potential of AG for urban development so far have not been studied from a European perspective. The Action contributed to building a better understanding of framework conditions for policy actions in different European countries and emphasized the involvement of young researchers through well-organized networking practice.
Keywords: urban allotment, green infrastructure, urban design, sustainable planning