About Gerben van Straaten

Gerben van Straaten has over 25 years of experience in urban development and re-development, with a focus on social, environmental and financial sustainability. He has worked on the development of over 150 projects across 4 continents ranging from small First Nations communities, to brownfield revitalization, theme park projects and large mixed use urban and community development. He is owner and CEO of World of Walas, a group of over 20 companies offering full urban design and development services, project development and access to innovations.

Gerben is an internationally renowned keynote speaker, speaking to a wide range of audiences including policy makers on the world stage, university students in their classrooms, urban developers at conferences, and cities in their communities. He is an affiliate of Earth Charter International and author of the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto, and is a UN signatory partner for the National Program Netherlands of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


‘World of Walas plans, builds and maintains their innovative projects by prioritizing the people who live and work in the communities, and that is very inspiring.’

-Jens Bartholmes, Policy Officer, EU Commission

‘Gerben really understands these issues better than most. He brought a very unique perspective to solutions that help the future of cities that were more than just technology, he also introduced ways to put people first and that’s extremely valuable.’

-Daniel Coran, Executive Director, Chicago Smart Cities Symposium

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