Overijssel Approach deserves praise and is worth following

Publication, Area and Property Development

By 2030, the province of Overijssel wants to have added 60,000 new homes to the existing stock. To achieve this ambition, the Overijssel Approach (‘Overijsselse Aanpak’) was developed. A dialogue session on the ‘Real Estate Market’ stage at Provada on Wednesday 15 June 2022, with no fewer than seven representatives of government bodies and market parties, was dedicated to the province’s unique strategy. The ingredients for the approach are collaborating, networking, (co-)financing, facilitating and, above all, accelerating.

Spoorzone in Zwolle, De Kien in Deventer, Spoorzone Hengelo-Enschede, Stadskade in Almelo, Centrumkwadraat in Enschede, Hart van Zuid in Hengelo... These are all complex area developments that will add a substantial number of homes to the total housing stock in Overijssel.

Each of these projects has received praise because, partly thanks to the Overijssel Approach, it seems that the housing challenge will be met at an accelerated pace. ‘As a developer, VanWonen has been involved in Spoorzone in Zwolle since the beginning of this century,’ said VanWonen CEO Alfred Bolks at Provada. ‘We have seen some movement, the last few years. I truly feel that we are going to make progress together now.’

Open and transparent
‘The open and transparent way in which municipalities and market players interact is what makes the Overijssel Approach so different,’ said Jeroen Diepemaat, alderman of the municipality of Enschede. When I took on this role about five years ago, there were a lot of little ‘bastions’. Since then, everything has definitely become more open and transparent. There is also a better mutual understanding of the specific problems that municipalities and market players wrestle with.’
Marieke Mentink, director of Property Development at Dura Vermeer Bouw, agrees with him. ‘If I can’t build a business case for a project, for example because of the requirement that two-thirds of the new construction homes must be in the affordable segment, I will tell the municipality. And I will explain what the problem is, so that we can try to solve it together.’

Shared interests
During a meeting in connection with the Overijssel Approach, Marleen Mokkink, branch director at Van Wijnen, talked in a frank and open fashion. She thereby succeeded in removing the misconception that building at a faster pace always comes at the expense of quality. ‘Our ‘Fijn Wonen’ (pleasant living) concept shows that speed, quality and affordability can easily go hand in hand.’
Bolks: ‘More than before, I have the feeling that municipalities and market players in Overijssel are interacting on an equal footing. That makes it a whole lot easier to talk. It’s about finding shared interests.’

Hamit Karakus spoke in almost identical terms about the added value of the Overijssel Approach. He praised it for its ‘chain approach based on collaboration’. He is chairman of Brede Bouwcoalitie, a kind of think tank of about thirty professionals working for leading public and private parties in the housing construction sector in Overijssel. During the first meeting earlier this year, led by Karakus, they looked into two projects that are suffering from delays: Hart van Zuid in Hengelo and De Tippe in Zwolle. This resulted in a number of concrete solutions, which will be tested for feasibility and can be applied to other projects that are facing similar problems.

Monique van Haaf, delegate for Housing, Spatial Planning and Retail: ‘Brede Bouwcoalitie is more than a think tank. The aim is that the results of the brainstorming are put into practice, to eliminate bottlenecks, and contribute to the acceleration of the housing construction in Overijssel.’

Mutual understanding
Some of the participants in Brede Bouwcoalitie also take part in Woonkeuken, a platform with more than one thousand professionals. Van Haaf: ‘The networks enable professionals in the field of housing construction to exchange ideas and share knowledge. That too is part of the Overijssel approach.’ Karakus: ‘It is about people. If they reach a solution together, because there is a click and mutual understanding during a meeting of Brede Bouwcoalitie or Woonkeuken, the organisations behind it will follow.’
In line with this, Bolks advocated the introduction of ‘job shadowing’, to give officials of government bodies and employees of market players the opportunity to ‘take a look behind the scenes’ in each other’s organisations. Another idea was that of alderman Jan Martin van Rees of the municipality of Almelo, who suggested that, in the event of capacity problems, there should be more flexibility in the use of each other’s manpower and the usual division of tasks.

This was music to the ears of policy advisor Arie Speulman of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK). ‘I am very happy with the Overijssel approach and proud of how proactive the province is. Whether this approach can be copied by other provinces? Yes, I can’t see why it wouldn’t work elsewhere. As was mentioned earlier, it is about people pulling together and the collective will to get things done. Judging by the first meeting of the Brede Bouwcoalitie that I have attended, I have the feeling that we won’t have to worry about that in Overijssel.'

Read the Dutch publication via vastgoedmarkt.nl: Overijsselse Aanpak verdient lof én navolging (vastgoedmarkt.nl)

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