Kalvermelk 1 / Stream B
Kalvermelk 1 / Stream B

Urban design – het nieuwe werken

Voertaal: Duits & Nederlands

Cities need Innovations. And Innovations need Cities.

Steel production in Dortmund ended with the closure of the Phoenix West factory in 1998 and Phoenix East in 2001. Most of the machinery and buildings were dismantled and sold. Phoenix West remains as a standing monument to the history of the area, and will be an important part of the future as the area transitions to new economy.

For this transition, the city needs innovations and new ideas in technology, services, economy and entrepreneurship. With these innovations a new breed of talent is needed as well who want to work and live in areas like Phoenix West.

This requires a totally different approach to urban development, meaning more than real estate and district design. Urban development brings together the activities, desires and interests of people, companies and the city. It unites them into a living and livable whole – economically, socially, sustainably, ecologically and financially. In other words; “Het Nieuwe Werken” or “The New Way of Working” is much more about creating an urban environment where people want to live and work. The Phoenix West project in the historic city Dortmund is such an urban development in the broadest sense of the word.


Dirk van der Ven is Chief Innovation Officer (CINO) at World of Walas. With a background in Electrical Engineering and a masters degree in business administration, Dirk was involved in innovations from the start of his professional career and developed expertise in the management of innovations and innovation processes.

At Walas his focus lays on scouting and selecting innovations that help cities in the transition towards sustainability as well as bringing them together in smart combinations to enhance the feasibility and overall impact in projects. In these combinations, the result is bigger, better and more inspirational than the sum of its parts, giving us market ready concepts.

Dirk is part of a bigger team within the international Walas groups that deploys a series of World Innovation Centres, starting in Dortmund, Germany and Vancouver, Canada. These are leading part of urban Innovation Districts and will be developed in 5 more cities on all continents. Dirk is taking care of the technical solutions and innovations in a team of Walas professionals, collaborating with local stakeholders in each city.