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Column Marianne Loof | Room for Improvement

05 July 2017

Cobouw marianne loof 170800 room for improvement

Summertime. There is still no government, let alone new plans for the building sector, and highly needed laws and regulations have been postponed. The country is on silly time again. Or so it may seem, for the building sector is moving fast, working round the clock. The housing market is exploding, and due to the departure of thousands of people from architecture and construction over the previous years we now find ourselves in over our heads with work.

The conditions of our profession have changed dramatically, and some already fear the upward lift is bound to come right back down on us again, creating some all too familiar scenarios.

Luckily, the summer also offers us some time to reflect. Just recently I received out of the hands of Alderperson Eric van der Burg the first copy of my collected columns: ‘Room for Improvement’, with the meaningful subtitle ‘the daily news grind’. What better time and place to look back on these moving times? I’m slightly amazed as I reread some of them, such as the one about render-porno, from March 2015, or the one from October the same year about the immigration-question. A few months later, in January 2016, I reminisced about the crisis, and then in December Trump’s ‘wall’ was on my mind.

Columns reflect the times, measure the temperature at specific moments. And they show that certain topics are relentless. Unfortunately, Syria and Trump have become permanent headlines. Columns can also confront us with our inability to learn from past mistakes. ‘Homesick for the crisis’ draws up some of the lessons from the crisis: monoculture housing and short-term interests should make way for collaboration, participation, and sustainable growth. But today it is fair to say that things have returned to business as usual.

The book’s title offers some helpful advice for the future: ‘Room for Improvement.’ That’s what I will think on this summer.

August 2017,