Leading Principles

A successful innovation area or real estate development is built on a firm foundation, consisting of the careful implementation of a sound development plan and approaching the planning process in a flexible, integrated, and well-balanced way.

An additional key principle from a future value perspective is resilience, or the possibility to future proof the development for possible new tenants during the developments life span.

The four key leading principles can be described as follows:

  • Market driven urban development;
  • Interdisciplinary, integrated approach;
  • Balancing hard and soft elements (real estate, concept, government and management combined); and
  • Future proof / resilient developments.

The combination of a long planning process and underestimating complexity makes projects vulnerable. Many projects in the recent past have fallen through because of a lack of flexibility. Especially long term developments could not cope with the market and other changes that took place. Today we will have to broaden and strengthen the market foundations of projects while planning and developing in flexibility to enable these developments to cope with change. From now on we have to work with models and procedures that are aimed at putting urban projects on a firm foundation and, at the same time, creating a flexible structure so that, even with shifts in the market and a long drawn-out planning process, the project can still hold its own. Building in flexibility means keeping as many options for future development open for as long as possible. When stressing the significance of flexibility, it is important to realise that we have to focus on trends and scenarios instead of figures and statistics. This asks for an in-depth collaboration between disciplines involved.


In our opinion a successful project stands on a firm foundation that consists of implementing all aspects of a sound development plan and approaching them in an integrated, well-balanced way. Environmental issues, market developments, legal aspects, decision-making processes and local support, to mention just a few, all need to be factored into projects regardless of size, or else they risk failing. Other factors, such as changes in the economy (more knowledge workers), demographics (aging population) and new developments as ‘new ways of working’ require new concepts. Incorporating these trends and changes in a sound urban plan demands a broad basis in which all aspects are weighted against each other in an integrated approach by an interdisciplinary team, as IADP is. IADP can cover all the relevant aspects shown in the diagram below. More importantly: we combine the expertise of these different fields. By doing so the urban planner, for example, is involved in the trend analysis and the market researcher will ‘control’ the designer to see if the plan still meets the requirements of the target groups.

Climate change and strict environmental regulations make non-sustainable urban plans unthinkable. Especially in an environmental way, but also in a social and economical way. As one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, city resilience is now accepted as a critical urban agenda.

City resilience in terms of economic resilience is in our perspective crucial for successfully developing innovation areas, with leading principles such as flexibility and inclusion & integration as starting point.

Interested in what these principles will mean to your project? Contact us here.

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