The Walas story

World of Walas is a multinational group of companies specializing in sustainable urban development projects and access to innovations. We believe that cities start with people, and create places where people want to live, work, produce and participate.

Walas has grown significantly since its founding in 2010, doubling in size at least once per year. Walas is now a collection of over 25 companies with projects operating in the Netherlands, Germany and Canada, and global partnerships focused on bringing real change to the urban development industry. 

About World of Walas

Our Approach to Urban Development

First In, Last Out

We offer a first in, last out approach for urban development and redevelopment including concept and design, development and construction, project management, property management and access to innovations.

We stay invested in our communities, continually addressing their changing needs to help them grow richer and more vibrant.


We know that the right combination of innovations brings exponential improvements over just single innovations.

Our approach therefore addresses all aspects of sustainability, including economic, financial, environmental and social sustainability. This yields substantial benefits such as requiring less investment upfront, reduced environmental impact, and increased opportunities for our tenants and partners.

Embracing Richness and Complexity

We understand the physical, structural, social and economic conditions that help areas develop into vital and dynamic living communities. Authentic elements hold the DNA of the community.

Multi use, effective density and diversity create a compact melting pot of people and their activities, of functions and buildings that keep neighbourhoods lively.

Places to live, work, shop and relax. Learn, create, participate and be entrepreneurial. Grow, develop and be productive. Old and new buildings. Young and old people.

Walas Approach

Creating Change

Urban development is about more than buildings. We focus on creating meaningful change for our communities and the world through three primary approaches: world stage and policy, access to innovations and projects.

World Stage

Our work on the world stage includes international speaking engagements, policy work and engaging with schools, networks and other like-minded organizations to help bring about real change.

We know we must work together in meaningful ways to succeed.

World Stage

Access to Innovation

Access to innovation addresses the ‘missing middle’, the tools for creating change. Here, we bring together sustainable innovations in smart combinations for exponential improvements.

This helps us ensure financial performance, as well as environmental and social sustainability.

Walas Innovations


Our projects are proofs of concepts and living labs, designed to create places where people want to live work and play.

We can continually improve our models, refine technological innovations, and develop approaches to new markets.

Walas Projects

Gerben van Straaten

Founder and CEO, Gerben van Straaten, has over 25 years of experience in urban development. He founded World of Walas in 2010 to offer a fundamentally different approach to sustainable urban development.

Gerben is an international speaker and published author on sustainable urban development and new ideas for old buildings. His unique experience bridges between academic best practices and the traditional real estate industry.

He works with governments, cities, NGOs and other organizations on policy for urban planning and development to bring about real change. He is a signatory partner for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and Special Commissioner for Cities for Earth Charter International.

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