Tjeerd Deelstra



Delft University of Technology – Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Planning


Prelude to – The International Institute for the Urban Environment, Tjeerd Deelstra worked at the National Physical Planning Agency of the Netherlands where he was involved in the 1966 National Planning Outline. This governmental programme paved the way to incorporate environment and ecology issues in urban development in The Netherlands.

Creating sensitivity for ecology and social issues in urban planning

In the 1960’s Tjeerd Deelstra tried to make politics and urban planning more sensitive to ecological and social issues. He worked to stimulate public participation in urban development. He did this as a member of several Dutch National bodies on the Environment and Architecture: through exhibitions, TV programmes and publications.

Knowledge development and transfer

Tjeerd Deelstra co-founded the Dutch Society of Ecologists. He worked abroad, lecturing in Canada and the United States (at MIT, Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley), in Japan and China and in several other universities in Europe, Asia and Latin America. From 1966-1989 Tjeerd Deelstra was associate professor in environmental planning at Delft University of Technology.
In 1989 Tjeerd Deelstra established in Delft, The Netherlands, – The International Institute for the Urban Environment.

Research and consultancy

His activities at, apart from initiating and supervising projects, include research and consultancy work for international organizations such as the WHO, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO and IUCN, the Council of Europe, the European Commission and national and local authorities.

Vision and integrated solutions

Tjeerd’s main role was and is to initiate and supervise projects and organize knowledge transfer. His visionary approach and his sensitivity for integrated solutions make sure the is at the forefront of sustainable urban development.

Involvement in professional bodies

Tjeerd Deelstra acted as member in the following professional bodies: • WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Environmental Health (1990-2001) • Advisory Board, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Research Centre for Ecological and Environmental Sciences (1990-present) • German Federal Republic Advisory Board for the Urban Ecology Research Programme (1990-1999) • Board of Sustainable Development, City of Moscow (1998-2003) • International Council Biosfera, Brazil (1998-present) • World Ekistics Society (2000-present) • European Commission Working Group on Sustainable Urban Management (2002 – 2004) • European Commission Working Group on the Thematic Strategy for the Urban Environment (2004 – 2005) • Expert Group for the Urban Charter, Council of Europe (2003-2009))


In the 1960’s Tjeerd worked as editor for the English-Dutch architectural periodical ‘Forum’ and for the Dutch periodical ‘Landscape’ (for ecology and environmental studies). Since then Tjeerd Deelstra was also on the Editorial Board of several professional journals, such as: • The European Forum for Urban Renewal (1987-1996) • WHO – World Health Forum (1990-1998) • Urban Nature Magazine (1996-2007) • Arboricultural Journal; The International Journal of Urban Forestry (1998-2007) • International Journal of Sustainable Society (2007-2015)
Tjeerd Deelstra’s publications (more than a hundred books, articles, films, exhibitions and CD-roms) cover various environmental, architectural and urban sustainability issues and have appeared in English as well as in many other languages including French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, German, Slovakian, Russian and Chinese.

International projects

Tjeerd Deelstra is not only executing projects in The Netherlands and at European level, he is also active globally. Examples are: • Evaluator of Environmental Academic Education in the United Arab Emirates (commissioned by UNDP, 1995) • Leader European Mission to Liaoning Province, China, to establish EU-China 75 million euro environmental cooperation programme (commissioned by the European Commission, 1997) • Leader of workshops on child friendly cities in Saudi Arabia and Sudan (commissioned by the Arab Urban Development Institute, 2005)
In 2008 he received the International Environmental Heidelberg Award for excellent contributions to sustainable urban development.

Civic engagement

Tjeerd Deelstra is founder of the Delft based White Rose Foundation that offers citizens in Delft and the Netherlands information, services and advice on how to live green lives. In addition, the foundation delivers services for the sustainable restoration of heritage buildings:
Tjeerd took also the initiative, together with other pioneers, for a network to exchange experiences with the typical Dutch “Woonerf” or “Living Street”(a Delft shared space invention from the 1960’s) and a platform to promote more liveable public spaces.  Look at  And at