Sketch from Felixx’s Catalogue of Nature-Based Solutions

The next session of Green Cities 2022 will bring together a landscape architect and an urbanist. Based in Belgium and the Netherlands, the two designers will talk about their experience and share their views on the future of their respective professions.


Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Sandy in 2012, Americans have been looking to the Low Countries for expertise in resilience, water management, and flood prevention. Other expertise had far less resonance because the urban cultures of the two continents seemed far apart. With the renewed focus on infrastructure and the need for innovation in almost every aspect of mobility, the practices that are shaping the European cities deserve renewed interest.

Felixx, the office for proactive landscape architecture recently released a Catalogue of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS). Commissioned by the World Bank, the guidebook is intended for planning and design professionals as well as for communities. The work involved defining the site selection criteria, identifying the appropriate NBS scale, and working with local residents to ensure long-term stewardship goals. The NBS laid the foundation for work in Groningen, which will be presented by Michiel van Driessche.

ORG works with transformative infrastructure projects to address the many social and environmental crises of our times. These important projects are highly vulnerable to failure because a solid, relational structure between the infrastructures for economic growth on the one hand, and social and environmental concerns on the other, is often found lacking during project inception. Alexander D’Hooghe will share how ORG is restructuring this relationship to achieve and implement well-supported multi-functional, resilient infrastructure systems that realize a meaningful connection with the natural surroundings.

Event Recording

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Alexander D’Hooghe is the founder and Chief Strategy Officer of the ORG, Organization for Permanent Modernity, a design agency and think-tank based in Brussels and New York City. His former professorate at MIT gives Alexander a nuanced perspective on the differences and similarities of our profession on either side of the Atlantic. Since 2018 ORG has been leading Capping the Ring, a city-wide effort to submerge an existing highway creating significant public space for Antwerp. “Our method connects siloed knowledge domains through a manageable process that integrates planning and design with rigorous economic, engineering, technical, and ecological analysis.”

Michael Van Driessche founded Felixx Landscape Architects & Planners, a research and design office specializing in addressing urgent global challenges with totally embedded design solutions. In 2001, Felixx delivered a Design Guide for Public Space, a manual for an inclusive public realm for the City of Groningen. “We see landscapes as spatial frameworks, built up by different systems: water, energy, infrastructure, and biodiversity. Our goal is to optimize the systems and create strong synergies between them.”

Nadya Nilina (moderator) is a Project Leader and Urban Planner at Felixx Landscape Architects and Planners, based in Rotterdam.ical, and ecological analysis.”

Lance Jay Brown (host) is President of the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the principles of nature-based solutions and how they apply to the design of streets and public spaces
  • Discuss the role of design guidelines in shaping future resilience
  • Illustrate the process of ORG for getting transformative projects built
  • Identify the spatial complexities of integrated, multi-functional infrastructures

Collaborating Organizations for Green Cities 2022

Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization, UN-Habitat, AIA New York, AIANY Planning & Design, the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, Habitat Professionals Forum for Sustainable Cities, Perkins-Eastman, Creative Exchange Lab, Global Urban Development (GUD) and Columbia Center for Buildings, Infrastructure & Public Space

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