Amsterdam frontrunner in revamping urban green
Working in the #urbangreen is the future.
The Dutch capital is booming. People love to live, work and relax in Amsterdam. After finishing their studies millennials choose not to leave this much loved metropolis. Provided they can afford the high rents and housing prices. An increasing number of European headoffices of multinationals choose Amsterdam because of its unique mix of culture, tranquility and architectural beauty. In addition Amsterdam has a huge number of start ups, co-working locations and grass roots initiatives from citizens and local entrepreneurs. The city is not only a major attraction for tourists, the whole town has turned into one huge working space. The local authorities are investing heavily in the urban green to balance the dynamic lifestyle of the inhabitants, expats and commuters.
An increasing number of people expres different needs and specific ideas about the meaning of 'work' in their life. What they have in common is the need to be ndependent, inspired and flexible in where and how they work. They are used to share and are active participants. They actively participate in creating (new) spaces inside Amsterdam. They move easily between being an employee and entrepreneur. Nowadays your workplace is where ever there is a wifi connection. It's very normal in Amsterdam for independent entrepeneurs to cycle every day to one of the many co-working places to log in. They also use the many public terraces in the city to connect: open your laptop, have a good coffee and discuss an idea. This is not only common amongst startups, self-employed entrepreneurs and creatives. More and more Dutch companies and multinationsl arrange these outside workingplaces for their employees, providing the vibe and inspiration an old fashioned workingspace can’t offer.
Key to the ‘Future of work” are these three pillars: accessibility, health and vitality. Nature is in this context extremely relevant. Actually being active outside four walls and working in the urban green is the best option. Scientific research studies have shown that a green environment stimulates creativity, enhances concentration and has a calming effect on people’s state of mind. Being active whilst working – exercising the brain and the body – is a great boost for your health. It seamlessly fits the international trend of well-being that is massively embraced by all types of businesses.
For example, at Accenture in the United States, employees who take more than 10,000 steps per day get an incentive. Nike encourages all its employees to be active during work hours. At Dutch ecommerce merchant Bol.com you can eat, meet or play in the fresh air outside during lunchhours. Companies that embrace the "healthy", "green" and “coworking" trends are dubbed modern and health conscious. The Dutch government has initiated a new grant scheme from the European Social Fund (ESF) to keep workers healthy and active. Serious sums of money are involved.
The municipality of Amsterdam also invests in the well-being of its citizens: millions of Euros are invested in the renovation of existing city parks. The use of green and water is better facilitated. Every day more connecting routes are added to connect the city's green lungs with each other. Famous parks like Vondelpark, Sloterplas and Rembrandtpark get a facelift. In the western part of Amsterdam the well known Brettenpad takes you to the green at the edge of the city. In addition, the municipality invests in the growth of the business district Zuidas, the Westas, Sportas (Olympic stadium), the banks on the rivier IJ and the northern part of the city. These developments are exiting. Being physically active is seen as an urban lifestyle: the city is the playing field of its residents and workers, and the need to do this is big.
Check out hashtags as #futureofwork, #wellbeeing, #coworking, #remoteworking, #workinnature, #biophilicdesign and #health.
Social media is filled with initiatives that show that work should be organized differently: more pleasant, healthier and in preferably in the middle of the urban green. More and more people discover that you can also work in a city park, meet under the trees, discuss business plans at waterfronts or write reports on a terrace with free, unobstructed views. And if you decide to clear your head, you can choose to go for a stroll or take a run.
This is the city and the urban green is the new workplace. The Washington Post recently contemplated about this phenomenon in an editorial: "Are outdoor offices the next revolution?". Take a look at innovative experiments with outdoor workplaces such as the TREExOFFICE in Hoxton Square in London. In the Netherlands we have already the Kantoor Karavaan or The Green Living Lab (on the Gustav Mahlerlaan in the business district Zuidas).