Gerard Marlet
director / founder Atlas voor gemeenten & author

by Christa van Vlodrop

1. Background

Historian and economist. Director for the research-office ‘Atlas voor gemeenten’. Also linked with the Universities of Utrecht and Groningen. Author of among others ‘De aantrekkelijke stad’ (‘The Attractive city'), published by Publishers VOC in 2009.

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

No fascination. Purely research-based interest. Although, since living part time in Berlin I also have some fascination with the dynamics of urban planning in that city.

3. Best city

Berlin. Because everything is acceptable so everything is constantly changing. If I walk, after one month of absence from Ostbahnhof to my apartment, - a walk of approximately 2 kilometers - there are shops and cafes that have disappeared and new shops and cafes have been added. I am convinced that a more liberal business policy would also make Dutch cities more attractive.

4. Most beautiful building

Olympiastadium in Berlin. The huge stadium, the spacious layout of the rest of the complex, the natural setting, the view over the city, the history. If you see this, and think about it, it makes you dizzy.

5. Most beautiful park or square

The square outside the station in Aalst, Belgium. Because of the station building, the 19th-century industrial complex behind it, the spirit of Louis Paul Boon, the dilapidated Hotel de la Gare, the people waiting at bus stops, not to mention the ‘frietkot’ (snack car) in the middle. On this square there is a sense of life. I miss that in the Netherlands.

6. Best public facility / urban infill

The new center / train station in The Hague. Fascinating skyline as you enter the city from the A12. Gives you sense that you are entering a real city.

7. Best 20th and 21st century innovations

The birth control pill.

8. Next groundbreaking innovation

No idea.

9. About the future of cities

The task of the city is to let as many people as possible benefit from the economic opportunities that city, due to the increased attractiveness, offers.

10. Personal contribution to urban development

Perhaps giving some more insight into the factors that make a city attractive. But mostly my own spending in the cultural facilities and food service in the cities.

11. Guerrilla in the city?

The glass Christmas tree birds in the trees in the city of Leiden. That makes me happy. And they are for me a symbol for the success of the compact historic city in a natural environment. And the gnome in Utrecht is nice.