Cities house more than half of the world’s population, and this trend is expected to rise in the future (United Nations, 2014). Accordingly, they consume two thirds of the world’s energy and produce over 70% of global energy-related carbon emissions, resulting in global warming (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 2020). The effects of climate change are largely felt in urban areas. Examples of such effects are the increase in temperature enhanced by the urban heat island (UHI) effect (Tan, et al., 2010), air pollution, water and soil contamination, and more importantly extreme weather events (storms and floods) disturbing urban ecology (Vardoulakis, Dear, & Wilkinson, 2016). These sudden changes and wicked problems point to two primary challenges: first, coping with the aforementioned direct impacts of climate change (Restemeyer, 2018; Kelman, et al., 2014; De Luca & Versace, 2017) and adapting to the unforeseen future changes; second, tackling the indirect variation anomalies and subtle changes in environmental conditions, such as the disruptions to food production, energy systems and water cycles (Yan & Roggema, 2019). Moreover, next to the direct and indirect climate change impacts, additional environmental/climatic hazards, such as the heat island effect, contribute to the complexity of these wicked or intricacies of these complex problems.
The Oosterpark district is a product of the social-democratic ideals prior to the second world war. Originally named “plan east” the neighbourhood was created to house the poor and was designed in such a way that a large number of houses could still feel small-scale and rural. Today, the district hosts a rich display of historic monuments and still consists primarily of lower income social housing. This gives the district a charming community atmosphere with many collective facilities and social initiatives. In the Oosterpark district there is an active local citizen initiative, named Duurzaam Oosterpark, aiming at promoting sustainability and quality of life enhancement in the Climate Adaptability Designstudio 2022-2023 Academie van Bouwkunst area. The initiative will be actively involved in the course of this design studio. A significant part of the local society in the area suffers from energy poverty, while a number of projects of regenerative character are in a very early stage.
In Zernike campus, there is an intention from the municipality of Groningen for the development of an area with student housing, which will also serve as testbed for building with circular and biobased materials. The completely different spatial, functional and social context of the two case study areas is expected to trigger interesting comparisons, insights and discussions among students and teachers, with regard to climate adaptative design interventions within an urban context. The discussion will be extended across the findings and the conclusions that have been drawn during the previous research and design climate adaptation studio (academic year 2019-2020), as well.