About me

Hi! I am Will van Twuijver, a designer, researcher and farmer working on sustainable design processes. My work is informed by an overarching goal to design and develop systems that integrate ecological regeneration and human wellbeing. In practice, my work is focused on the intersection of agroecology, climate adaptation and grassroots-initiatives.

Focusing on this intersection allows me to explore alternative forms of organising based on solidarity principles, return to a human-scale and increase capabilities to work with natural processes. I have several years of involvement in grassroots initiatives that explore such alternatives, including projects that involve Community Supported Agriculture, food preservation collectives and home-brewing.

In 2012 I graduated with a bachelor’s in interior architecture at Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, followed by a master’s in Collaborative & Industrial Design at the Aalto University, Finland in 2019. To further deepen my understanding of sustainability and design, I completed multiple courses on related topics. Such as a minor study on Sustainability, a certified permaculture design course, a two-year course in biodynamic agriculture and cheese making. Currently, I work as a part-time farmer and cheese maker, design researcher and am active as board member of Toekomstboeren.

The Upward Spiral 5

  • General information
  • Year
  • University
    Aalto University, Finland
  • Program
    Sustainable Global Technologies
  • Team
    Anabel Fischer, Jacqui German, Venla Niva, Erik Salminen, Tuuli Teittinen, Will van Twuijver
  • Mentor
    Zita Floret
  • Partners
    Urban Transitioners, CCI, Phast Ujenzi
  • Status

The Upward Spiral (2017) was a project to research the feasibility of producing humanure for commercial purposes in informal settlements. This research project was implemented as a part of The Sustainable Global Technologies studio course at Aalto University and brings together students from different fields to study in a multidisciplinary team. The approach increases understanding of other disciplines and enables adapting a holistic approach to search for more creative solutions to problematic situations.

This project emphasised the importance of an interdisciplinary teamwork. Our research team consisted of six individuals from four different countries and four different disciplines, comprising design, engineering and business experience.

Ecological Sanitation

Jenkins (2005)

The need for improving sanitation is clear, particularly in the developing world. Forty percent of the world’s population practice open defecation or lack adequate sanitation facilities. The consequences can be devastating for human health and for the environment. The problem is visible worldwide and affects mainly the lives of the poorest. Even in urban areas, where communal and household toilets are more common, over two billion people use toilets that are connected to septic tanks that discharge sewage into open drains or surface waters. Thus, access to sanitation facilities is a significant way to improve people’s well-being.

The architecture of a UDDT

To enhance people’s well-being, the topic of improving sanitation conditions is pressing on the United Nations’ agenda. However, in the case of Tanzania, only 15 percent of the population has access to improved sanitation. Additionally, the country failed to meet the targets in the field of sanitation for the UN Millennium Development Goals in 2015 and thus evidently lags behind the intended improvement of sanitation conditions for its people.

Through a fresh, creative and holistic approach, the Upward Spiral 2017 aims as a students initiative under the Sustainable Global Technologies Studio Course at Aalto University to contribute to the goal of improved sanitation in Dar es Salaam.

Field trip

During the site visit to Dar es Salaam and throughout the entire course, our team realised the importance of communication and cooperation among various stakeholders involved in the field of sanitation and defined them as key factors to tackle today’s sanitation challenges. But despite the potential of social enterprises, we also experienced the fragility of a system that highly depends on an uncertain environment.

Impression of the field trip to Dar es Salaam

Forms of presentation

The findings of the research by the Upward Spiral were presented in two forms:

First, our project report takes the form of a foldable newspaper. With each page the page doubles in size, the content slowly unfolds, enabling the reader to understand the complexity of the project one step at the time.

download report here

The second way of presenting is done through the creation of four educational ‘Kangas’, large pieces of cloth inspired by traditional Tanzanian garments. We hope our kanga’s will help the women in the communities to further explain their work and projects. The kanga’s can be worn as garment and serve as both a promotional and educational tool.

The educational kangas were given to the women of Phast Ujenzi