Jaap Modder
chairman of the board Arnhem Nijmegen City Region and editor-in-chief S+RO

by Christa van Vlodrop

1. Background

Studied cultural sociology and urban and regional planning among other things at the University of Utrecht.

2. Why are you fascinated with
architecture / urban development?

No idea, it probably has to do with toys for the boys. Boys love trains and planes. I am fascinated by city dynamics, transport, culture, public space, economy and all that (other urban) jazz.

3. Best city

Best historic city: Venice. Best city today: New York City and Berlin.

4. Most beautiful building

Trans World Airlines terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City designed by Eero Saarinen.

5. Most beautiful park or square

Best historical park: Parc des Buttes Chaumont in Paris. Best park today: Parc André Citroën also in Paris.

6. Best public facility /
urban infill

In the historic city: Venice. In the city today: Copenhagen.

7. Best 20th and 21st century innovations

20th century: oil, car, plane and film and photography. 21st century so far: Smartphone and iPad.

8. Next groundbreaking innovation

Next 90 years: advances in energy sources and technologies (we have no choice). And breakthroughs in basic biological and medical research, followed by applied innovations.

9. About the future of cities

Two trends: Huge amounts of mega cities in the new growth poles (China, India, Brazil et cetera). They have the advantage of the law of arrears and will be very stimulated by modern urban concepts from our world-art: airport cities and state of the art public transport and urban planning from our toolbox: new town and new urbanism concepts. Metropolises in the west are impeded by the law of slow projection and are not all, and in any case need a lot of effort to enable their cities and regions to adapt to the new economic laws and associated global logistics. On the flip side they are an ideal habitat for the knowledge economy of the 21st century (through their cultural environment and amenities).

10. Personal contribution to urban development

I'm not an urban planner, I write on the subject, among others 'Stedenbouw + Ruimtelijke Ordening', I'm a member of juries, I moderate debates or take part in it as a speaker.

11. Guerrilla in the city?

A visit to Berlin made it clear that it's not a bad thing that, since the fall of the wall, the city didn't modernize right away. It offers many opportunities for an informal and low-budget culture and prevents the city from transforming too quickly. A little guerrilla prevents sterility and segregation.