Gerben van Straaten

Founder of the World of Walas and partner of the Earth Charter International for the past few years. He is the author of Earth Charter Cities Manifesto and a renowned speaker in the field of urban sustainability. Gerben is the owner of Dudoc Vancouver, Centre for Sustainable Urban Design and Development. He is the founding partner of Parallel 52, Canadian Dutch Network for Sustainable Building and Planning. He studied general law and economics at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (National University of Groningen) and was very influenced by the thinking of renowned economist professor Jan Pen. He also considers the works of Jan Tinbergen, Jeffrey Sachs, and Umberto Eco as teachings and guides in his life. He did not pursue an academic career but was drawn to the business environment and sustainable urban development. A few years into his career, he evolved from project manager to business developer and entrepreneur and worked in Canada and Europe. He was fortunate to meet with Jane Jacobs and considers her work a guiding light in the single-minded jungle of (unsustainable) real estate development. The World of Walas has been a partner of the Earth Charter International for several years and sponsored some ECI projects.