Dr. ir. Frans van de Ven

Associate Professor Urban water Management Department Water Management Faculty of Civil engineering and Geosciences Delft University of Technology and also Teamleader Urban Land & Water Management at Deltares.


The aim of my research is to understand and improve the urban water system. This urban water system includes urban surface water, groundwater, stormwater, drinking water and wastewater, their internal relations, their relations with the properties of the urban area and with the larger water system of the catchment. My first interests are rainfall-runoff processes, subsurface drainage and stormwater discharge through sewers and canals. Directly linked is my interest for the water quality and the processes that govern this quality, in particular the fate and biodegradation of toxic pollutants and pathogens.

This understanding of the physical and chemical process in the urban water system is the basis for a sustainable urban water system and for a solid design of the components. My ideas on how a sustainable urban water system looks like have changed a lot over the past ten years. Until than we focused our research on the control the urban water system, to avoid negative effects and impacts. But at the same time we were wasting a valuable resource. Urban water can be used for numerous purposes. I formulated the Closed City as my long research time goal, that is a city that is no longer parasitic, but uses its internal sources of water, energy, space, nutrients, food, sand and building material the best possible way. Recycling water and the multifunctional use of every square meter and every cubic meter of water and soil is a prerequisite for closing local cycles. Control of the urban water system is no longer sufficient: It is also about maximizing utilization of the water resources. This new approach also has its impact on spatial planning and urban design.

To improve the quality of the living environment we have to improve our control of the urban land & water system, now and on the long run. The reduction of our vulnerability for flooding, droughts and heat asks for adaptations of the urban water system, of the land, the buildings, the infrastructure and for preparedness of the inhabitants. Developments in climate, technology, demography and economy ask for adaptability of the urban system, including its water system. Finding ways to build this resilience and adaptability is my big research challenge. Sustainable urban drainage systems(SUDS) are to be developed into sustainable urban water resources systems (SUWRS) by improving our understanding of the processes that govern water quantity and water quality in the urban water system.


  • Transitions to more sustainable urban drainage and water supply
  • Improving living conditions by improving building practice
    • 3BW
    • Fine Dutch tradition; How urban land & water management influence urban planning
  • Urban water balance, runoff losses and runoff retardation; evapotranspiration; urban groundwater regimes
  • Water quality management of urban runoff
  • Integrated modeling of urban water management systems
    • Rainfall-runoff functions of SUDS (green roofs, vegetated filter swales, porous pavement, porous storm sewers, infiltration boxes)
    • Water storage assignment in urban areas
  • Urban flooding and SUDS for extreme rainstorms
  • Urban surface water as solar energy collector and cooler
  • Urban heat stress and evaporative cooling
  • Climate resilient and water resilient building
  • Closed city: Utilization of local urban water resources

An extensive CV will be included soon


An extensive list of publications can be found here.

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