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Website: 4TU.nl

Catalina-Codruta Dobre

I am a postdoctoral researcher within the Laboratory on Landscape, Urbanism, Infrastructures and Ecologies at the Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. I recently received my PhD in architecture and urban planning from the same university. Within my doctoral research, I studied the transition of urban areas towards sustainable or ‘water-sensitive’ environments. With a background in architecture, my work brings new perspectives on sustainable water management by exploring the adoption of alternative practices from civil society through action research projects in Brussels, Belgium. In 2015, for my interdisciplinary work, I was awarded with a ‘Green Talent’ certificate by the German Federal Ministry of Research.

Currently, I am involved in an experimental development research project focusing on citizen involvement in the process of urban transformation. The ‘Water-Sensitive Brussels’ (Brusseau Bis) project (funded by the Brussels Capital Region Agency, Innoviris) explores new ways of responding to urban floods by strengthening the capacity of urban space to collect, infiltrate and reuse stormwater, which is currently drained into the sewer system. For doing so, we need to experiment innovative ways of managing stormwater based on the knowledge and skills of practices rooted in the territory. Within the project, I explore different participatory methods to overpass the challenge citizens sometimes encounter in making the most of their knowledge when faced with actors whose expertise, practices and legitimacy are already well established.

Under the 4TU.RE fellowship program, I work with Dr. Ir. Joanne Vinke-de Kruijf from the University of Twente to continue our collaboration started in 2016 during my research stay at Osnabrück University. The fellowship programme offers the opportunity to enlarge our joint activities and to engage in a comparative research to improve our understanding of how governance context influence the involvement of stakeholders in the development and implementation of climate-resilient measures at the neighbourhood level. For this, we build upon data acquired in previous and ongoing projects in Brussels (e.g. Brusseau Bis) and Overijssel region. This will allow laying the basis for future collaborations and project proposals in collaboration with stakeholders from Enschede and Brussels. In both cities, stakeholders expressed an interest to learn from each other and to engage in knowledge exchange and joint (EU) projects. Furthermore, we plan to develop a network with other climate-resilience oriented researchers at University of Twente and with the urban working group of the 4TU DeSIRE programme.