How do you turn an innovative business park into an attractive spot in the city? That’s what the congress ‘Vibe of the Future’ is all about. This conference on 14 September is organized by the Novio Tech Campus in Nijmegen. Various campuses in the Netherlands are breeding grounds for talent, new developments and entrepreneurship. Companies and knowledge institutes seek each other out. Usually based on substantive themes such as energy, sustainability, food or health.
But this means that a campus is effectively not much more than an industrial estate where people work in clean rooms or open plan offices. When it could be so much more: An attractive place to work, but also to meet up, live and work.
After the hardware, comes the software
The hardware is for the most part in place, now all that remains is the software. Further development of innovative business parks into attractive city campuses is taking place in a number of other places in the Netherlands. Like in Brabant or at the Novio Tech Campus in Nijmegen. This high-tech business park, with a focus on health & high tech, accommodates several large players such as NXP, Ampleon and Nexperia, but also all sorts of start-ups. That a lot of innovation is taking place here can hardly be seen from the outside. The Novio Tech Campus is somewhat hidden behind the Goffert Park. It is not yet a city campus where visitors go to get inspired nor a place where employees can make optimal use of the outdoor space during their lunch break.
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City Campus 2.0
Bert Krikke, director of the Novio Tech Campus since the past two months, definitely has ambitions for the future. “And that starts today. For us, this congress is a kick-off towards the development of a city campus 2.0.” A good example, he cites, is the Corda Campus in Hasselt, Belgium, which is home to some 250 companies, as well as several pop-up businesses, a pick-up service for groceries and all kinds of restaurants.
Inside and outside
The Novio Tech Campus itself has to become much more vibrant and appealing, both for employees and for people from the world outside. “The surroundings will become greener, with more attention being paid to nature and adapting to the climate,” Krikke goes on to say. There will also soon be more things to do. “Next year, we will start the development of an iconic building on the campus with restaurants, a conference room and other facilities, such as a hair salon. For the people who work there, of course. But also for other companies, institutions and municipalities in the region that want to hold meetings or establish contacts here.” This way, the new campus should grow into a vibrant district where you can unexpectedly bump into new people and ideas.
Thousands of homes
More activities, in other words, more community involvement. But it will not stop there. The area around the campus is also getting a makeover. The outdated Winkelsteeg industrial estate will be renovated over the nest few years. Thousands of homes are to be built there. The municipality of Nijmegen is developing a vision for this heading into 2030 and is involving the Novio Tech Campus in the process. “We can strengthen each other,” says Krikke. ” It is somewhat difficult to build residential housing on the campus itself because of the nature of the activities that take place there, but it is certainly possible around the perimeter. For foreign knowledge workers, for example, that is ideal. But it is a nice place for other people to live as well.”