'Kaisersrot' is a project aimed at incorporating the capabilities of computer programming into the design of urban plans. The software, designed in collaboration with the ETH Zurich, is a response to the increasing complexity of rules and regulations for urban planning in the Netherlands. It addresses the difficulty of obeying a complex set of rules and regulations while also accommodating individual desires. The program helps to maximize individual freedom within the restrictions imposed by collective needs.

Kaisersrot addresses a problem of traditional top-down urban planning, where planners specify a public structure of open spaces, infrastructure and other collective facilities and where individual housing is left to ‘fill in’ this predetermined neighbourhood structure. Kaisersrot is based on a bottom-up principle of urban planning. Although the program defines various parameters and rules, the plan begins to take shape by entering individual needs and wishes.

The Kaisersrot program simulates dynamic models, allows the application of various parameters and introduces an interactive component to urban design. The software describes the relationships between plot size, access and circulation systems, and sunlight levels. By adjusting these parameters or by entering individual desires, different urban plans can be quickly generated to offer an overview of many scenarios. Since its development, Kaisersrot has been used in various forms and specific projects: as urban planning tool in Schuytgraaf, Arnhem, and as tool to predict possible future scenarios and identify potential problem areas in the Draai in Heerhugowaard.


Client National Spatial Planning Agency, The Hague
Program Research into the possibilities of computer-generated urban planning
Time 1999 - 2001
Role Urban Planner, Kees Christiaanse initiator in cooperation with Ludger Hovestad (ETHZ)
Participating parties CAAD research group, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ), University of Kaiserslautern