As 1/6th of the Dutch built environment is used for businesses and production facilities, business parks make up a large share of the Dutch landscape. They are characterized by an enormous amount of impermeable surfaces. As a result, 87% of the 3.500 business parks are susceptible to flooding when heavy rainfall occurs. In addition, this grey infrastructure traps heat, leading to heat stress and the urban heat island effect - a phenomenon in which temperatures can increase up to 9 degrees Celsius as compared to the surrounding environment. The expectation is that in thirty years, with a status quo, the average temperature on a summer's day can rise up to dangerous levels.

Greening business parks

Green Adaptations to Business Parks
The high amount of impermeable surfaces are also accompanied by a lack of greenery and biodiversity, which further aggravates the urban heat island effects and puts a strain on available ecosystems for wildlife. The biodiversity at business parks is astonishingly low. But how do we adapt these business parks to green working environments with less climate risk? SPATwater is a hydrological consulting firm with the mission to make the private space in the Netherlands future-proof through a spatial, smart data-analysis and a results-oriented approach.

“After participating in the AMS Start-up Booster, we were convinced that you need to inform and engage the people who will experience the consequences of a changing climate the most, the people who work there. That is why we started working together with local stakeholders and asked students of AMS Institute to come up with a solution.”

Timo van den Berg

Greening Business Parks with 'Vergroenjewerk.nl'
Students from the MSc MADE, under supervision of SPATwater and in collaboration with the Green Business Club, Waternet, SamenKlimaatbestendig, and the municipality of Amsterdam, have developed the online tool vergroenjewerk.nl. This free tool provides a step-by-step approach with information, a calculation tool, and a communication toolkit to contribute to the transformation of green and climate-adaptive business parks. The tool is ready to use for anyone who is interested. While for some it may be a first, informative introduction to the subject, for others it may provide the financial basis to convince your boss to take climate action. If you want to learn more about the tool or if you are ready to take the next step, please get in touch.

About SPATwater
Business parks make up for a large share of private property in The Netherlands, but there is even a larger share of private terrain that is in the hands of individuals. Transforming roofs and gardens are essential to both become climate adaptive, but also to improve the living environment. In other words, micro-measures at macro-scale. SPATwater provides municipalities and businesses with specialized solutions aimed at improving the quality of life and reducing potential damages for both residents and employees. The approach is grounded in utilizing advanced data-analysis techniques, targeted spatial planning, and a focus on achieving measurable results. These plans typically involve a combination of a package of measures on a Zip-Code level, community engagement and education. 

How SPATwater got 'boosted'
SPATwater sees one of the main learnings of the Booster Program that they got challenged to sharpen their value proposition. ‘The challenge of becoming climate adaptive is so complex and multi-faceted, that you often lose sight of which steps need to be taken first’, says Mees van Milligen de Wit, one of the co-founders.

“‘Especially at the early stages of SPATwater, the program supported us to identify a comprehensible problem and to start  developing our intervention to solve that problem. This lesson, to provide concrete and clearly defined solutions, remains valuable in our proposition to our customers.’”

Mees van Milligen de Wit

Whats next for SPATwater?
‘Every day you can experience the effects of how we have decided to live with water’, mentions Van den Berg. ‘And every year the effects of climate change become more imminent. The urgency is felt more and more to adapt to these effects.’ After completing successful projects in Amsterdam and Amstelveen, SPATwater wants to accelerate in 2023. "We are working on scaling our spatial model, with a focus on specific measures at a high-resolution scale to advise municipalities on how to promote more efficient climate adaptation action for its inhabitants and business parks. The emphasis lies on implementation and action perspectives for residents and the municipality.”

Sign up for the AMS Startup Booster program 2023
Did SPATwater inspire you to boost your idea for a sustainable or tech business that impacts city life and solves urban challenges? We're looking for ambitious entrepreneurs to join our 2023 edition of the program!

With this program, we help you to turn your innovative ideas into reality and bring your startup to the next level. During a period of 4 months, you receive guidance from a diverse group of experts, we help you eliminate uncertainties, do a thorough customer discovery, and form a strong team. Ultimately, our aim is for you to venture out with a solid pitch and minimal viable product.

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