Ecology is economy; on the value of greening in construction projects

It’s raining awards so late in the year, and the party isn’t over yet. We are overwhelmed by a cavalcade of curiosities. And in my field, it’s no different. A great opportunity to explore the award-winning avant-garde in search of as yet unexplored paths. It turns out it’s not that easy. Just as inflation negatively affects the value of currency, the bizarre amounts of distinctions also lead to diluted superfluity, where primarily the image-defining projects seem to thrive. Recognition of innovation in substance is hard to discern and its legitimacy is also at times questionable, with a remarkable amount of professional praise for projects that have fairly dissatisfied users. I see room for a gold standard 🙂

That said, gold can be found in almost any river. As is the case here. Sometimes the nuggets just sparkle in a sieve. What about the landscape architecture agency DELVA? Surprisingly voted (drum roll) ‘Architect of the year 2021 ′. The founder Steven Delva did not wish to be rewarded as a unique person, because he insisted that the entire team of the Belgian-Dutch agency deserves to be rewarded. This in itself is very nice. Especially if you are building communities in a professional capacity. It also stresses the importance of greening the urban environment.

But that’s not all by far. The design of greenery and water in urban areas can no longer be separated from the design of buildings. It requires a special integral approach that uses greenery as the base. DELVA does this by co-writing the business case for the projects and, where possible, by owning the greenery itself and taking responsibility for its installation and management.

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Revenue model with the time factor as a strong point

Thus, green spaces can be part of an economic model in which a high level of spatial and management quality is linked to financial gains. By programming these combinations intelligently, savings can be made and money can be earned, while increasing added value for the neighborhood and society as a whole. A revenue model with the time factor as a strong point: “Buildings can only deteriorate once completed, nature will only become more beautiful” is a provocative statement.

How exactly do green spaces and water work as inseparable elements of the economic importance of a territory? Scientific research shows that access to outdoor green spaces significantly increases employee well-being and productivity. Here ; how much is a healthy living environment worth to you? The green environment can become a part of the business marketing therein and also used in presentations. Greenery and water can also be put to good use to protect the climate. For example, being used for water retention, buffering and purification, and of course, also for recreational purposes. These are all things that can be priced.

Promoting the use of greenery and water naturally raises the question of property even more. I would like to advocate for its organization so that local residents are (co-) owners. Then the perception and use of these areas can be transformed even more optimally. Entrepreneurship is looking to the future.

About this column

In a weekly column, written alternately by Willemijn Brouwer, Eveline van Zeeland, Eugene Franken, Helen Kardan, Katleen Gabriels, Carina Weijma, Bernd Maier-Leppla and Colinda de Beer, Innovation Origins is trying to figure out what the future will look like. These columnists, sometimes joined by guest bloggers, all work in their own way to find solutions to the problems of our time. So tomorrow will be good. Here are all the previous articles.


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