Creating Places beyond Just Safety
Millions of people flee their homes in Middle East conflict zones and in regions heavily impacted by climate change. Creating safe havens in such regions is a good idea but moving beyond emergency aid always proves very difficult. Yet, this is exactly what GreenfieldCities wants to do: jump to a next level and create safe, sustainable and prospering places. We call these Greenfield cities.
A wild idea? We don’t think so! Everything we propose and think of is technically and financially proven. The real challenge lies in bridging cultural, political and governance gaps. We do that by starting with small projects, so people can see the benefits quickly, and by following four golden rules:
- We work from the perspective of hosting countries in the regions of origin to optimize that country’s business case and to justify our projects. Host countries benefit at least as much from our projects as the refugees do.
- After doing research locally, we kick-start living, learning and working places to enable labor productivity based on local needs and opportunities. We use a pop-up concept with high quality modular infrastructure and building components to realize a business campus fast. In this campus, we team up with public institutions, NGOs and private sector companies to create a place where up to a few thousand people can learn, live and work.
- Our commitment to all our projects is long-term. This means that we help develop, build and operate our projects for more than 50 years, allowing it to grow its own institutions, partnerships and urban systems. Long-term commitment is a key success factor that changes the entire picture from charity to productivity, value creation and global citizenship.
- Sustainability is in our DNA and key to our projects and we make measurable contributions to a large number of UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Creating Campuses as Enabling Environments
The tangible result of creating integrated enabling environments, the GreenfieldCities Campuses, is a boost to reach sustained middle-income economic productivity quickly. The technological, financial and social tool box to create such (super) enabling environments has developed tremendously over the last 30 years.
The assumption that we put to the test with GreenfieldCities is that this tool-box allows us to implant small scale pockets of quality and reliability into otherwise fragile or marginal social economic systems. Those seeds should form the foundation for attracting further impact investment. Much like a desert oasis, such spots can support a lot of value creation, if exploited wisely.
Learning by Doing
There is no doubt that GreenfieldCities will have to learn a lot while implementing. Step by step, and project by project we will strengthen local ownership and governance. Jointly with institutional partners we aim to deliver small scale urban grassroots solutions fitting local context. Meanwhile we hope to find elements that can be repeated and scaled.
By repeating and scaling projects and by enabling other stakeholders to do the same, we ultimately aim to contribute significantly to completely stopping conflict driven and climate change driven migration. We think that we can often offer (prospect) migrants better opportunities at home than they can expect in Europe or other western countries.
We also believe that Greenfield cities can foster long term regional stability and strengthen the economic and environmental performance of the entire Mediterranean and sub-Saharan region.