Research centre
Smart Urban Redesign

Smart Urban Redesign: value for the region

The Research Center for Smart Urban Redesign aims to improve liveability, life quality and wellbeing in neighbourhoods using technical and non-technical solutions for the definition and development of the Limburg region future identity.

The economic, social, and urban landscape in Limburg is strongly defined by on-going transition. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the province was a predominantly agricultural society. The rise of the mining industry prompted the emergence of a technical and industrial society. In the 1970s, this industry was rapidly replaced by a large petrochemical industry together with a considerable number of other high-tech industries.

Today, the economic agenda of Limburg is based around the Brightlands initiative with a focus on materials, health, food, and smart services. The Brightlands agenda is breathing new life in the economic development and growth of our region. At the same time, Limburg is still referred to as a shrinking region facing challenges in the field of employment, demographic decline, and deteriorating built environments and infrastructure.

The Research Centre for Smart Urban ReDesign (SURD) has strong connections with the Brightlands agenda in two ways. On the one hand, it helps to create the necessary environment to establish strong ties between people and the region by developing an attractive, and healthy urban environment offering a good quality of life in order to ensure economic growth. On the other hand, SURD connects with the focus areas. It builds on the societal challenges in health and sustainable energy, with an important role set aside for smart materials, production, and services for a functional, attractive, vital, and sustainable built environment design.

To fulfil its role, the Research Centre aims to establish close collaboration with regional and local stakeholders such as the Province of Limburg, Parkstad Limburg, IBA, municipalities, housing corporations, industry, and the community.

  • Research

    Our aim is to develop interdisciplinary research that integrates innovative urban design and special planning strategies with building renovation concepts and new technologies in energy, materials, and devices to achieve a regenerative urban metabolism.

    This allows us to modify consumption patterns, improve energy production and distribution systems, shift to different means of mobility, and increase efficiency in buildings and the use of public spaces.

    SURD is working along three interconnected lines of research in order to achieve its ambitions:

    1. Urban transformation with a focus on the transformation of urban districts and public spaces using technical and non-technical solutions
    2. Circular building technology with a focus on design, realization, operation, and decommissioning zero-energy buildings and building components in pre-existing and new built environments
    3. Sustainable energy in the built environment with a focus on combining material science with energy, building technology, and urban dynamics that affect city and district design. This line is excecuted by the Special Research Center Solar energy in the Built Environment.


  • Collaboration

    To fulfil its role the research group aims for close collaboration with regional and local stakeholders such as The Province of Limburg, Parkstad Limburg, IBA, municipalities, housing corporations, industry and the community. SURD also collaborates with the other research centres of Zuyd University of Applied Sciences.

    SURD collaborates with the Research Centre for Material Sciences with a particular involvement in coating materials for solar panels and the use of 3D-printing in the construction sector.

    Our research ambitions can act as an umbrella, strengthening the technological vision and strategic research topics.

  • About the lector

    Nurhan Abujidi graduated in 1996 from the Faculty of Architecture of the Bir Zeit University of Palestine.

    Between 1996 and 2000, she worked as the Chief Architect for the Palestinian Ministry of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage. She obtained two postgraduate Masters’ degrees at the Catholic University of Louvain/Leuven (Belgium) on the preservation of historic cities and buildings and on the architecture of human habitation. She also obtained her PhD at the same university in the field of architecture and regional and urban planning.

    She taught on graduate and international postgraduate programmes at the Catholic University of Louvain, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), and the universities of San Jorge and Zaragoza (Spain). In Zaragoza, she was also a senior researcher in sustainable urban development.

    Nurhan was involved in supervising various PhD research projects as the academic coordinator of the Erasmus Mundus UII module Urban Studies at the VUB. Last but not least, she was co-director of the School of Architecture at San Jorge University where she was in charge of research and international relations. She also taught in the field of urban planning and planning theory.
    Inaugural speech
    On Thursday 1 March 2018, Nurhan Abujidi presented her inaugural speech 'Places for People: Towards a new identity for Limburg'. 

  • News

    SIA subsidy ‘City Deal’ granted
    We are excited to announce that our request for SIA subsidy ‘Impuls City Deal Kennis Maken’ project is granted. This City Deal accelerates cooperation between universities and municipalities in solving social problems of cities by involving researchers, teachers and students. This way knowledge is put to better use and the city becomes a (rich) learning environment for students. Zuyd collaborates with Maastricht municipality and University of Maastricht to develop creative urban interventions to improve vitality in Maastricht's neighbourhoods.

Conference Crossing Boundaries

From March 23-25 the conference Crossing Boundaries: Towards a circular sustainable and vital built environment takes place in Heerlen. Zuyd University, IBA Parkstad and Parkstad Limburg Region organise this conference.

Research Centre of Smart Urban Redesign
Nieuw Eyckholt 300
6419 DJ Heerlen