Who we are

Research team

Darinka Czischke

Dr Darinka Czischke, B.A., MSc, PhD

Associate Professor, TU Delft / Founder of Co-Lab                               D.K.Czischke[at]tudelft.nl

Darinka is an urban and housing specialist with over 17 years of international experience in research, teaching and consultancy. Her background combines Architecture, Sociology and Urban Planning, having been awarded a PhD from TU Delft (2014) for her research “Social Housing Organisations in England and the Netherlands: Between State, Market and Community”, an MSc  in Regional and Urban Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science (2002, with Distinction), and a BA in Sociology from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile (1998, First Class Honours).

Darinka’s experience includes working as a research associate at the LSE Cities Programme (2002-2004); research director of the European Social Housing Observatory at CECODHAS Housing Europe (2005-2010); director of World Habitat (2013, formerly Building and Social Housing Foundation, BSHF) and as founder and managing director of DCConsulting in the UK (2013-2015). Darinka has advised and carried out research for a number of international bodies, including the European Commission, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Council of Europe and Habitat for Humanity.

After being awarded the Delft Technology Fellowship in 2014, she switched to a full time academic career. Her core areas of expertise are social housing and affordable housing in comparative international perspective; collective self-organisation in housing, housing (co)production and management; social enterprise and social innovation in housing, and urban social sustainability. In 2015 she co-founded the working group on Collaborative Housing at the European Network of Housing Research (ENHR), which she currently jointly co-ordinates with Dr Claire Carriou and Dr Richard Lang.

Luz Maria

Dr. Luz María Vergara, MsC, PhD

Post-Doc Researcher

Luz María Vergara is architect and MSc in architecture from Pontificia Universidad Católica, Chile. In 2018, she obtained her doctoral degree with the thesis ‘Managing Social Condominiums’. The research focused on the role of third sector organisations in supporting low-income homeowners to maintain and improve their own condominium housing.

Luz María has worked as researcher, academic and independent consultant. Her research interests are related to the role of civil society organisations in vulnerable contexts, and specifically how societal requirements can be incorporated in housing design processes and management services through collaborative and bottom-up approaches. Currently, Luz María is a postdoctoral researcher on the NWO-funded project “Mapping social innovation and collaboration in housing- Co-Lab Mapping”.


Sara Brysch, MArch

Research Assistant (Jan 2018 – Jan 2019) /PhD Researcher

Sara Brysch is an architect who holds a master’s degree in Architecture from Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade do Porto, Portugal. Her professional background includes working in Porto, Berlin and Mexico City, where she mainly focused on architectural design, management and construction supervision. Her research interests include affordable minimum housing solutions; “Existenzminimum” design approaches; collaborative processes in housing; and participatory design.

Sara worked for a year as research assistant (part time) supporting Dr Darinka Czischke’s research on Co-Lab Research. She is currently a full time PhD researcher on ‘Existenzminimum in Collaborative Housing’, under the supervision of Prof Vincent Gruis and Dr Darinka Czischke.


Carla Huisman, MSc, PhD (c)

Post-Doc Researcher                                                                                           C.J.Huisman[at]tudelft.nl

Carla Huisman is a sociologist who has studied the role of citizen participation in legitimising displacement, the precarisation of the Dutch rental housing market and the non-enforcement of regulations as a technique of governance. Broadly speaking, her research interest is the relation between housing policy and social-spatial inequality. She is currently finishing her PhD thesis entitled ‘Insecure Tenure’, under supervision of Prof. Dr. Mulder and Dr. Meijering at the University of Groningen.

Carla currently works as post-doc researcher on the NWO-funded project Samen Wonen, Samen Onderzoeken under the supervision of Dr Darinka Czischke and Prof Vincent Gruis.

Stefanie 1

Stephanie Zeulevoet, MSc

Research Associate

Stephanie Zeulevoet works as a trainee architect at Inbo in Amsterdam. She graduated with a MSc Architecture from TU Delft in 2016 on the topic of cooperative housing. She is primarily interested in researching the potential for cooperative housing models to create affordable housing in cities in the Netherlands.

Next to that, she works as a part time research assistant on the NWO-funded project Samen Wonen, Samen Onderzoeken led by Prof Vincent Gruis and Dr Darinka Czischke.

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Macarena Gaete Cruz, MS

PhD Researcher

Macarena Gaete Cruz is a PhD candidate in the Urban Development Chair with promoters Ellen Van Bueren, Darinka Czischke and Aksel Ersoy for her research on the “Collaborative Design of Resilient Public Space”
She is an Architect and MSc in Architecture from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile with experience in the design and management of public spaces.

She has experience in academia and practice on the design and management fields, in the public and private sectors while teaching in academia. She has led the Design Department of CREO Antofagasta NGO in a public-private-academic collaborative model of governance for the design of sustainable and resilient public spaces for Antofagasta city. She was an advisor of the Housing and Urbanism Ministry of Chile in Copiapo city for the development of flooding-proof public spaces. She led the Kaukari Urban Park project in the Copiapo river with Teodoro Fernández (National Arch Price). She is a researcher at the City & Mobility LAB UC. She has been an assistant teacher at Universidad Católica, Universidad Andres Bello and Universidad Católica del Norte Antofagasta, on both design studio and lecture courses on resilient public space and climate change.

Valentina Cortes Urra BIO (Intro text)

Valentina A. Cortés Urra, MSc

PhD Researcher

Valentina Cortés is a Chilean architect and Master in Geographic Analysis from the Universidad de Concepción, Chile. Her professional background involves experience in academia and practices on urban growth studies, geographic and urban and housing analysis, where she mainly focused on urban planning regulations, transport and dwelling policies.

Currently, since 2019 Valentina works as a full-time doctoral researcher in housing management under the supervision of Professor Dr.ir. Vincent Gruis and Dr Darinka Czischke. Her doctoral research is called “Collaborative housing in Chile: an Exploration of Opportunities and Barriers”, and she focuses on the analysis of alternative and collaborative housing forms led mainly by residents and different stakeholders, the study of their implementation in different contexts (mainly in Chile), the definition of its dimensions, conditions, scenarios and archetypes through comparative analysis and cross-analysis of case studies and collaborative housing projects in Europe and Latin America.

Visiting Scholars

We regularly host researchers from other universities who spend some months working with us in Delft. If you are interested in being a visiting scholar at Co-Lab Research send us a message.

Past visiting scholars

  • Dr Jasmine Palmer, MSc, PhD
  • Anne F. Beck, MSc
  • Dr Eva Morales, PhD