Category Archives: STRATEGY

In December 2023 the 3rd season of the executive Program for the Knowledge of Space 2024 was finalized. Mathias was again part of the team of colleagues who aim to improve the awareness, competences en strategic knowledge in spatial and urban development for Zaanstad Municipality and her partners by these monthly educational in-house events. The team consists of Marc den Hertog, Yorick Waardenburg, Tijs Rothweiler, Meike Westers, Hilde Bloemers and Lisa Schouten.

In December 2023 Mathias published an article on the website of the Dutch National Association of Landscape Architects NVTL, member of IFLA Europe. The text addressed the advantages of spatial planning based upon the very long term. The main idea of this approach is to look ahead for the very long term of hundred years. Design and policy decisions are subsequently based on that perspective by deducting decisions for today from the expected or desired scenario’s for the future. Within his teaching he learned that this approach gave both trust and empowerment to the students, and resulted in unexpected and innovative design solutions; in his role as strategic advisor for Zaanstad Municipality he had previously commissioned a research with a comparable approach in order to determine if urban development should take place in an area currently used for agriculture.

The article was published on the homepage of the Academy of Architecture Amsterdam within a few days, too.

On October 30 Mathias was invited to present the status quo on the Urban Development Plan for Zaanstad Municipality. Housing Corporation Rochdale was meeting up in a Zaandam Church next to the river to discuss current and future developments in their housing stock and the rapidly growing municipality.

On July 12th 2023 Mathias was speaking at the Re-Building Europe conference organized by international real estate consultancy group Drees & Sommer in Stadstimmerhuis Rotterdam.

Other speakers included Emiel Arends (municipality Rottterdam and Amsterdam), Vincent Taapken (New Industry), Niklas Veelken and many others.

The Re-Building Europe series is organized by DreSo in collaboration with Schneider Electric, E.ON, Georg Fischer Piping Systems, Schindler, New European Bauhaus, BNP Paribas Real Estate, Ghelamco, City of Warsaw, MVRDV, Hines, Lendlease, SwissLife Asset Managers, KPF, Foster + Partners and UNStudio.

(c) Floor Films

The second season of the Kennis Programma Ruimte (KPR, Knowledge programme ‘Space’) at Zaanstad Municipality was kicked off by Mathias on the 21st of March 2023 with a Master Class featuring Rotterdam based urbanist Franz Ziegler of Ziegler Branderhorst addressing the topic of ‘Drawing Essentials’, the competence to make sketches of spatial conditions by hand (or on a tablet) by reducing the huge amount of information to it’s essence.

On October 27th, Mathias was speaking at the conference on urban development and the importance of the discipline of urbanism, which he was also setting up together with Gert Grandiek, head of Area Development. After a grand bow towards the urbanists Sjoerd Soeters and Frits Palmboom who worked more than 20 years for Zaanstad Municipality the second act of the show presented in Zaantheater focussed on the coming 20 years. Indira van t Klooster and Esther Agricola gave their inspiring and critical take on the role of governments and the importance of staying connected with the citizens, followed by a discussion with the speakers and Mathias, led by host Jacqueline van der Sande on how urbanism is a crucial tool for the Vision upon Urban Development for the long time.

In his position as Strategic Advisor Urban Development of Zaanstad Municipality Mathias was invited by the architecture centre Babel on October 13, 2022 to speak about the Vision upon the Built Environment 2040. This document sets out five crucial principles for the future development of the city in the immediate vicinity of Amsterdam, and that is rapidly growing from now 155.000 inhabitants.

The city is famous for its heritage as first European Industrial City along River Zaan, green wooden houses and it’s formerly ‘1000 windmills’ now illustrated by the international tourist attraction Zaanse Schans. The city faces major (spatial) challenges when it comes to climate adaptation and its ecosystems, transitioning energy and mobility, while working on equality and inclusivity. All growth growth for houses and spaces for future-proof work will be realized within the boundaries of the urbanized agglomeration and sparing the protected green landscape.

The Vision will be finalized in 2023 and co-authored with Simone Huijs, Marieke Ros, Marian van den Brink and others.
The presentation took place in cultural centre Bullekerk, and Mathias was interviewed by Leontien de Koning, former head or Urban Development.

In April 2022 Mathias taught at the Institute for Environmental Studies of the University of Amsterdam upon invitation of Judy Shamoun-Baranes. The lecture, knowledge exchange and discussion with students from various backgrounds and countries shed a light on how nature inclusive cities can be achieved.

Please find some of the literature Mathias recommended if you would like to learn more about the topic below: with various documents in the download section.

Van Stiphout, Maike and Lehner, Mathias: First Guide to Nature Inclusive Design, 2019. (2nd edition also available in Dutch; clever students find it on issue, too)

Chartier Dalix. Hosting Life, Architecture as an Ecosystem, 2019 (cool architects)

Poetz, Hiltrud. Green-blue grids. Manual for Resilient Cities, 2016

Beatley, Timothy. Handbook of Biophilic City Planning & Design, 2015

Video/film: Kellert, Stephen: Biophilic design the architecture of life, 2011, 60mins. (bit cheesy DVD, also on vimeo and if you are clever find it free online)

Boeri, Stefan. Manifesto on Forest CitiesLinks to an external site., 2010

Kellert, Stephen. Building for Life. Designing and Understanding the Human-Nature connection, 2005

Wilson, Edward. Biophilia, 1984

Hundertwasser, Friedensreich. Mouldiness Manifesto,Links to an external site. 1958.

Speaking at the 2022 Quo Vadis Real Estate Congress in Hotel Adlon, Berlin on February 16, Mathias and Debra Solomon, infrastructure activist of Urbaniahoeve and representant of the Netherlands in this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale elaborated on nature inclusive cities and multispecies urbanism.

Their dialogue was programmed on the visionary second day of the congress as part of the ‘What’s Next?’ section. Please find their presentation as a free download here.