about the research centre
Renée Verschraege, Ikiru, photo: Aaron Lapeirre
Bert De Roo, Decentering Design
Dirk van Gogh, Duurzaam Design geãnspireerd door Japan
Tim Duerinck, Flax fiber instruments
The research centre Futures through Design – a collaboration of HOGENT and Howest – systematically deploys design as a creative, investigative, participatory and solution-oriented process to increase society's resilience, while initiating and guiding the transition to a sustainable future. Futures through Design brings together researchers from a very diverse background, from landscape and garden architecture, interior design, geography and biology, to product development, philosophy, and digital design and development.

Futures through Design

about the research centre

Futures through Design is the only research centre within the clusters of KASK & Conservatorium. It is linked to practice-based academic research and is funded by HOGENT and Howest. It is organised according to the principles of HOGENT's 12 interdisciplinary research centres with its own mission and vision, separate from that of research in the arts. Futures Through Design is substantively embedded in the programmes of KASK & Conservatorium.

Research lines

Design research aims to push forward new perspectives by shaping future scenarios rooted in a critical analysis of the contemporary context. 

We focus on challenges at the intersection of three lines of research:   

  • co-design, here fleshed out by actively involving end users in view of the participatory and emancipatory power of design as a process;   
  • conservation through development, focusing on the reinterpretation and updating of heritage assets, such as historic estates and traditional crafts;   
  • socio-ecological systems, pointing to the intertwining of natural and cultural processes, and the relationship of both human and non-human actors to each other and their environment.

By addressing concrete challenges in a multi- and transdisciplinary way, we aim not only to provide future-oriented solutions that avoid negative impact, but also to maximise their positive impact. Here, sustainable innovation of our human environment is at the forefront, both materially and in terms of behaviour and value patterns, with an overarching focus on increasing quality of life.

Research at HOGENT

HOGENT wants to make a difference in and for society and goes for research and services with sustainable impact. We cocreate to find solutions to concrete problems of companies, organisations and governments and focus on the major societal challenges of today and tomorrow.

advice and services

Futures through Design is available for consultancy and services in the following areas. 

Landscape architecture

  • Animalship: towards a shared space for humans and animals
  • Research on identity and building blocks of landscapes
  • Sustainable planning and design of landscapes, gardens and public spaces
  • Socially sustainable design
  • Embedding food forests in the spirit of place through design research
  • Sustainable planting design from an eco-logic perspective
  • Conservation through development: new perspectives on heritage
  • Philosophical/ethical reflection on the interaction between humans and nature/landscape

Digital Design 

  • Digital storytelling 
  • UX Research 
  • Digital product design (UI/UX) 

Interior design 

  • Design inspiration for integral sustainable furniture design 
  • Advice in sustainable material selection including the efficient use of raw materials in the interior design sector 
  • Activating long-term use in the interiors sector 
  • Advice in generating intercultural interior design concepts 
  • Shaping space and environment through design research 

Design methodology 

  • Idea generation and creativity techniques 
  • Design theory and history