Written by Ginette Verstraete


All good things come to an end. Last week we wrapped up 3 years of collective research on the circular city during an online event for students hosted by The Design Academy Eindhoven: Welcome to the RE-era! Present were the main partners of the research project RE-Source: besides DAE (David Hamers, lectoraat Traces & Places), also the VU (Ginette Verstraete and Joost Adriaanse), Studio Ester van de Wiel and 2 of the 5 designers with whom we worked: Jos Klarenbeek and Manon van Hoeckel. At the event the Open Access book RE-Source: Design Research into the Circular City was launched. The book (in Dutch) is now freely available at

The book is 1 of the publications resulting from the NWO-funded RE-source project (2017-2020) and was first available in limited edition during our exhibition at the 2019 Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. In it we show how urban waste streams (grass clippings, sludge, old stones, street furniture, etc)  can be used as (re)sources for circular thinking, doing and learning. We argue that circular thinking, doing and learning are different from thinking in closed circles. Instead we defend an approach in which circles are opened up, after which a multitude of lines can be reconnected in an innovative way. RE-source provides insight into what the systems, locations, products and materials needed for a circular city, such as Rotterdam, can look like. At the same time, it designs strategies to convert urban waste streams into a source from which can be drawn again and again. Longer reflections on thinking-through-making, circular ecologies, and on various kinds of visual methods and conceptual tools accompany the documentation of the practice-based design research into residual flows.

Besides the book we produced 2 academic articles, an exhibition, a film, a website (, many presentations, seminars for students (at DAE and the VU), and much more. We also won the 2019 Dutch Design Award in the category Research:

This brings me to the main point of this blog post today. Exactly 1 year ago our VU colleague in Design History, Marjan Groot, suddenly passed away. Her funeral took place the day before the Dutch Design Awards were presented in Eindhoven. What should have been a straightforward joyful moment to me was also filled with sadness and disbelief. I already privately dedicated the Award – at least my contribution to it – to Marjan on that very day. One year later I want to do it publicly. Here’s to Marjan Groot, still sorely missed  today.


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