Round Table: Businesses and Cities: Tackling Urban Challenges Together

Every day cities are addressing multiple pressing challenges: sustainable mobility, resilience, various social challenges, energy transition, and climate change (flood prevention, heat, and drought) to name a few. Those are not free-standing issues, and this is, therefore, necessary to act on them using a multidisciplinary approach. Urban researchers and practitioners admit that collaboration between local/regional governments, the private sector, academia, and civil society is becoming simply essential.

Organized by Global Compact Network Netherlands and the CLOSER CITIES initiative (2021-2030), this online Round Table event will bring together urban stakeholders with the objective of tackling urban challenges and optimizing the process of mutual learning, co-creation, and collaboration among them. The focus of this Round Table is on joint approaches by business and city actors.

The non-profit CLOSER CITIES initiative (co-founded by Erasmus University Rotterdam) is all about science for sustainable urban development carried out by constant interaction between urban science and urban practice. Global Compact Network Netherland, in its turn, is aiming at activating the dialogue between its’ network members and the urban stakeholders within the business ecosystem.

Key Takeaways:

Joining the Round Table, the participants will:

– Get up-to date insights on tackling urban challenges collaboratively, inspired by the public, private and academical approaches.

– Form connections with urban researchers (e.g. Erasmus University Rotterdam), city and business representatives.

– Have an opportunity to raise the issues of interest for further research and investigation: this will feed the CLOSER CITIES research agenda.

In partnership with:


Express your interest in registering for the event


Anke Hoekstra

Anke Hoekstra

The main focus in Anke her career has been partnerships for sustainable development or social inclusion. She has experience working as a researcher, program manager and policy developer for organizations such as Erasmus University, municipalities and ngo’s. Currently she works for the municipality of Leeuwarden as the Coordinator of European Affairs. Leeuwarden, which is the only Dutch municipality that is a member of the UN Global Compact, has been an Innovating City focussing on projects related to issues surrounding water scarcity and clean water for all. The world renowned WaterCampus based in Leeuwarden has been one of the main partners of the city in it’s sustainability practices.

Verali von Meijenfeldt

Verali von Meijenfeldt

As a curious and passionate program manager she strives at Arcadis every day to create a better and sustainable future for a world to come. While engaging colleagues and clients to prepare for future of cities, she works in projects to take the wraps off the abstractness of sustainability and find specific solutions for the task at hand. With a background in Architecture and Urban Planning, Verali her perspective on sustainability is both integrated and visual. Shifting between levels of scale, content, detail, and organization creates a more profound understanding of sustainability and the way it is perceived and valued by people around us. With these insights, Verali aspires to keep making a difference in the transition towards an everchanging tomorrow.

The Global Cities program is ARCADIS’ answer to the rapid global pace of urbanization. The program is directed at making cities more livable by providing sustainable urban solutions for challenges in transportation, environment, water supply, urban planning and building design. It seeks to help cities in becoming more competitive when attracting investors and developers, when attracting people or when adding cultural attractions.

Harro Wieringa

Harro Wieringa

As a landscape architect he strives to enrich sustainability within the urban context off plans. Main elements in his way of working are green-blue frameworks, sustainable mobility, and urban biodiversity. Harro his strength lies in bringing together creative ambition with practical feasibility. This practical feasibility is expressed by a good understanding of processes and the management of interdisciplinary project teams, but also by understanding technical, financial and manageable aspects that demonstrate a hands-on mentality. From his role as a spatial designer at an engineering firm, he has to deal with this diversity of interests on a daily basis. Harro has grown within the company from landscape architect to project, group leader and partner in the company. He has gained extensive experience with various processes and forms of communication with various parties. Moreover he has gained an (inter) national network, which is evident from his role at the board of the NVTL. His strength in communication is his visual capacity which enables him to represent complex matter in an accessible way. Because of this and his affinity with different interests and scales he is therefore able to create a level playing field bringing stakeholders together in realizing sustainability. This is done by the 7 sustainable design principles of the company




09:30 - 11:00


Organized by Global Compact Network Netherlands & Closer Cities

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