An independent designer and researcher since 2003, Paul de Graaf investigates possibilities for designing the human habitat as a sustainable socio-ecological system; reintroducing natural processes and ecological principles in the humanmade environment.

He researches, designs, writes, initiates and organises. In his work he combines an international orientation, network and expertise with strong local engagement.

He is an expert on the sustainable integration of agriculture and other multi-functional living systems in the city, and initiator of a number of local networks, innovative collaborations and events in this field (including Edible Rotterdam, ERGroeit Festival, Rotterdam Forest Garden Network). With Cooperative Ondergrond he initiates and develops food forests in and around the city.

He studied the role urban and peri-urban agriculture can play in the city as well as the possibilities for food forestry and agroforestry in the Netherlands. He is attached to Rural Sociology as an external PhD. The subject of his dissertation is “Engaging urban food initiatives in planning. Urban food planning in a complex, pluralistic society”.

He is board member of Groen010 and in this function is co-creating the LivingLab Rotterdam within the EU Horizon 2020 project EdiCitNet. The Living Lab aims to  ensure the continuity of (edible) green initiatives in the city through cooperation and knowledge exchange.