Bob Jansen
director Lingotto

by Christa van Vlodrop

1. Background

I knew early on that I wanted to study medicine: it seemed great to be busy theoretically in your profession, but on the other hand apply the practice. Unfortunately I was not one of the chosen few to study medicine. I started studying economics as an alternative. After not being chosen to study medicine for a second time, I decided to finish my economics degree. After finishing my specialization in Marketing and Finance, I met professor Kruit. He started a combination of studies: Investment and Real Estate and managed to make me enthusiastic to participate.

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

I'm not so much fascinated by architecture and urban planning, but by the built environment and the parties who are dealing with it. Architects and urban planners make up only a small part of the total environment. I find it fascinating that the built environment contributes so much meaning to life.

3. Best city

Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to visit all cities in the world. So what the best city is, I do not know. I love Lisbon from a climatic standpoint, Amsterdam from a liberal perspective and Mumbai for it's complexity. If you are talking urban planning, I think Havana is fantastic. If you can see how powerful a grid structure is, it is there. Also a place where you can witness the flexibility of buildings. And it's a nice place to stay.

4. Most beautiful building

The Bank, I think one of the most beautiful buildings, I'm not sure if the building is so beautiful or the development of it is. In one of the most difficult times the developer succeeded, with a high level of ambition, to fill this building commercially. Deep respect!

5. Most beautiful park or square

In Havana you'll find great squares. The square is used as a living room. Fantastic, people play, sing, dance and chat, undoubtedly there are also sad stories. The squares are a big part of life.

6. Best public facility / urban infill

A city should develop. I see the public service as the backbone of this type of development. It should not intrude, but be strong enough to endure the test of time. The buildings of the public organization can change in shape or function, but the backbone remains the same. For me, the Amsterdam canals are an example of such a strong public organization.

7. Best 20th and 21st century innovations

Without a doubt, the Internet and the result of means of communication. It's amazing when you see what an impact it has had in such a short time. The amount of knowledge that is so close and easy to obtain. The events in the world can be followed online, it is (almost) beyond comprehension. Internet has made the world much more transparent.

8. Next groundbreaking innovation

Short term: I think we can expect a lot of innovations made possible by the use of nanotechnology. I am thinking among others of medicinal science and the use of energy.

9. About the future of cities

Everywhere in the world you see cities getting bigger. Either because the city is attractive, or the countryside is becoming unattractive. If this is positive for the future, in my view depends on how attractive the city can be. Attractive cities give people opportunities, are safe and offer a range of facilities. A certain investment is needed, it won't realise itself.

10. Personal contribution to urban development

I will continue to invest my energy in giving old buildings a new life. These do not have to be monuments, but buildings with a particular meaning. By researching what is needed to make the buildings more flexible, I believe that recycling has a positive significance to the urban environment.

11. Guerrilla in the city?

Yes, and let the councils show some courage and stop sitting in the ‘forbidden’ corner. Last I heard of a fantastic initiative to place picnic tables, in the city, where people could write down their ideas. Great placemaking! But the local councilman immediately invented rules to prevent this initiative. Unfortunately.