OneMinute – Fairytale Castle Portugal

Everyone knows the Walt Disney Castle, a beautiful fairytale castle in the middle of the world famous Disney theme park. In Portugal they have a similar fairytale castle, or palace I should say. It’s called Pena National Palace. Although it may appear like a real palace, it’s fake. Just like the Walt Disney Castle.

The palace was completed in 1845, so it’s only 166 years old. It’s build in the architecture style of Romanticism. Put simply, this means the architects collected details and ornaments they liked (from styles like the Classical Greek and Roman styles but also the medieval Gothic style). The result is what you’ll see in this OneMinute video. I have to say, the palace looks quite beautiful, but once you realize everything is fake… well…

Enjoy OneMinute number eleven.

Did you know that he current office vacancy rate in the Netherlands is approximately 14 percent and may increase to 24 percent by 2013 should all major office users decide to adopt the “New World of Work” style.

Less office space needed

A new urban model (part two)

Wednesday I wrote about the need of a new urban model. Today I offer three of my solutions.

When people start to work from home more often and distance becomes less relevant, we should rethink the way our cities (and countries) are planned. Here’re three things we could do in the Netherlands.

1. Create Strategic Office Locations

These Strategic Office Locations replace the current offices in cities downtown. Since less office space is needed, only a few locations are needed. All of these office locations are located at major highway intersections outside of our current cities. Plenty of parking space and extensive public transport is available. Thus eliminating the problems we associate with cities (too much traffic, no parking space, new infrastructure cramped in old cities and always a lack of space).

2. Focus on unique housing

Home equals workspace. This results in people wanting to get out of their houses and avoid getting stressed. That is why people want to be somewhere they love to live. How many people really want to live in a generic apartment in just another suburb of a major city? I guess not that many. Since the Strategic Office Locations are centrally located and only need to be visited several times a month, people can live in the entire country.

Nature loving people might choose the Frisian lakes or Limburg hills. Other people could be more interested in locations like the historic district in Amsterdam where many shops, cinemas bars, restaurants and theaters are.

This development offers major possibilities for remote areas. Suddenly, they’re not that remote anymore…

3. ‘Super Giant XXL Megastores’

Companies continue to scale up. Companies like Media Markt, IKEA but also supermarkets like AH XL (large Dutch supermarket) and distribution centers only need a few strategic locations in order to serve the entire country. These companies will be situated at Strategic Office Locations.

Imagine how cities and entire countries will change. Is it just a dream? Or could this be our future?

Read part one here.

Did you know that 50 percent of the world's population lives on just 2 percent of the earth's land surface, but uses 75 percent of the earth's energy and is responsible for 80 percent of the world's pollution?

This is what starchitect Rem Koolhaas said during a lecture at Cornell University earlier this month.

2-50-75-80

A new urban model

In the 1920s, experts estimated Amsterdam would grow to 960.000 people 80 years from then. They were wrong by a big margin (2000: 740.000 people). In October, experts again calculated Amsterdam (the Randstad) will continue to grow rapidly while the rest of the country faces a population decline (Volkskrant, October 2011). I believe experts are wrong again. Here’s why.

In the digital age we currently live in, everyone has a laptop and smartphone. Most people are connected via Twitter and Facebook and information gets stored in the Cloud. All these innovations make it possible to work anywhere and anytime we want.

These developments depart from the current urban model which is used by most experts. Put simply, employees wanted to live as close to work as possible while still retaining as much space and luxury as possible. For example, the Dutch city of Almere continues to grow because of its proximity to Amsterdam in combination with more affordable housing (more bang for their buck). But what if people could live even further away from Amsterdam without sacrificing their jobs?

In recent years people started to work from their houses more often. Distance becomes less relevant, since house equals workplace. Within years, current cities and the current urban model no longer suffices, thus suggesting a new urban model.  How do we get the Netherlands future proof?

Later this week I’ll post three of my solutions. Stay tuned.

Read about three of my solutions in part 2 of this blogpost.