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Arcadis Carolien Gehrels shapes the future of sustainable cities

Arcadis Carolien Gehrels shapes the future of sustainable cities

 October 20, 2022

​Whether making communities more resilient, developing livable places or enhancing mobility, Arcadis and its employees are committed to improving quality of life by accelerating the transition to net zero.

Meet Carolien Gehrels, whose work at Arcadis as Global Director for Energy Transition sees her explore energy transition in creating prosperous, future-proof and sustainable cities.

Reducing energy use 

Part of this energy transition is towards carbon neutrality, and for Carolien the first priority has to be reducing energy use. Reducing energy use means ramping up green infrastructure development; increasing investment in renewable energy technologies, such as solar, onshore and offshore wind, and hydro power; and accelerating negative emissions technologies like carbon capture and storage.

"Carbon neutral cities are the future, and energy transition is the first step when it comes to creating these sustainable, urban spaces. This means making a conscious shift away from an energy mix based on fossil fuels to one based primarily on renewable energy sources that build on our cities’ strengths and which produces limited to zero carbon emissions," says Carolien. 

"The energy sector holds the key that can unlock the solutions we need to tackle climate change. And - critically - these solutions will have maximum impact if they are enacted in our cities."

Making an impact on cities

Carolien was formerly Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam. Among other things, Carolien was responsible for Economic affairs, the Arts, Water Management, Monuments, and local Media.

Prior to her role as Deputy Mayor, Carolien made her mark on Amsterdam and other Dutch cities. Following a degree in Dutch language from Groningen University with a specialization in organizational communications, Carolien fulfiled a number of communications roles. With this experience, Carolien joined management consultancy company Berenschot as a consultant for federal government entities and municipalities in 1997.

In 2000, Carolien was appointed Director of Berenschot Communications at the age of 33. In that position Carolien led the international city marketing programs for Amsterdam and Maastricht. As managing director Carolien also coined and pushed the Amsterdam strategy which the city successfully uses to date. Carolien became an alderwoman in the City of Amsterdam in 2006, before accepting the role of Deputy Mayor.

“When you want to reinvent the city, you need to co-operate with scientists, artist, engineers, and people in the neighborhood," explains Carolien.

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