DREES & SOMMER Real Estate Talk | Mixed-Used Districts

DREES & SOMMER Reasl Estate Talk | Mixed-Use Urban Districts

It’s the Mix that creates a real society!

“What’s your favourite thing about Amsterdam?”, asked a young TikToker, a pedestrian on the street in Amsterdam Central.

“I walked in a cafe yesterday. I do not remember watching a table where the sitting people were of the same race. I was also hearing many different languages and a variety of English accents. So many styles and colours. That’s my favourite thing about Amsterdam.” 

Drees & Sommer, an international company for project management and real estate consulting, hosted a Real Estate Talk on “Mixed – Used Urban Districts” and the current need for sustainable communities in modern architecture. The talk took place in Amsterdam, World Fashion Center and it was broadcast live. As AKKA Architects, a firm that trusts in Architecting Interactions, we were happy to be invited to attend this valuable discussion.

The Dysfunctional Cities

Cities are placed for Human Relationships. Human Interaction. Although in the last decades we faced the realization of cities dominated by cement driveways and private cars.

At the same time, districts are divided into cold – Industrial, suffocative – Commercial, Upper and Lower Class. Consequently, people are divided and daily routines and interactions become harder and severely dysfunctional.

The 20-min Communities

The 15-20 minute distance is a goal for districts-neighborhoods that eventually become Vibrant  Communities. A Community consisted of small markets, private residences, medical practices, workplaces, etc. A person will be able to live holistically and gain from work, culture, leisure and social life – all within a walking distance maximum of 20 minutes. At the same time, local shops benefit and the micro-economy flourishes, while every community has its own small market where basic necessities are covered and a “homey” feeling is cultivated.

Flexible Buildings

Especially in the Netherlands, many buildings are listed and have a historical value. They do carry a heritage and a common – public collective memory. Just like communities, buildings are not just soulless bricks. In a building like this, it is possible for different elements to co-habit and interact. A family household, a lawyer’s office, an NGO etc. can be hosted under the same roof and re-introduce, establish new meaning to urban architecture. At the same time, communities will preserve their identity and each city will maintain their special unique aesthetic. A step closer to gray-free city centers.

Urban Planning

Urban Planning is not just about Architecture. Especially after the phenomenon of the Great Resignation and after the Post-Covid Era, young generations care about a holistic lifestyle. Equality, inclusiveness, mental health, ecology etc. are major values that are appreciated more an define someone’s life. Governmental infrastructure, social housing, care for affordable, safe, smart and green  neighborhoods can bring the sustainability change which is a hot topic, a topic that cannot wait any more. As the future never waits.

If you are considering buying a property, or renovating your current ont and need help, get in touch with us, we would be happy to help with any questions you may have.


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“We would like to express our gratitude for the time you invested in helping us get to a clear picture.  Anna and I really appreciated the call we had with you, your responsiveness, and the great empathy that you exhibited throughout – we certainly felt very “well taken care of” when engaging with you.  On the practical side, we especially appreciated that there was the option to obtain robust bottom-up cost estimates for the construction itself (not every design architect offers this).”

-Private Client of AKKA



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