Except Integrated Sustainability
Except Integrated sustainability.
Flourish in a changing world.
Multi-disciplinary consulting, innovation and development organization working on advanced sustainability projects around the globe.

Urban Renaissance

Service > Sustainable city and neighborhood redevelopment

Urban Redevelopment

Urban Renaissance is a redevelopment system that can turn neighborhoods, cities, and regions into beautiful self-sufficient places where people want to live and work. It is a strategic approach that involves all stakeholders in the process from initiation through to living realization.

The Urban Dilemma

There are cities where people go hungry living on soil that could feed many. There are communities blighted with unemployment when there is much work to be done. Across the world people leave their homes and families because they can’t make a living, when everything they need is right there. All of this is happening at the same time as innovations in social, economic, and ecological redevelopment are creating opportunities that should not be missed.

But if urban areas are diverse and their dynamics differ wildly, making some approaches work where others fail, how is it possible to choose the pathway that fits the special circumstances of a neighbourhood in need of change?

Urban Renaissance

Urban Renaissance is a comprehensive systemic approach to the redevelopment of neighbourhoods, cities, and regions that turns blighted and marginalized areas into beautiful, self-sufficient, flourishing places. It takes the resources already present and realizes the potential inherent in city life. It is an approach that, step by step, street by street, makes better places for people to live.

Urban Renaissance offers a full trajectory from initiative to design and realization, including all stakeholders in the process. It is a method that provides simultaneous economic, social and ecological improvements and it can be adapted to work anywhere that is in need of reinvention. Do you think your city could use an innovative approach to make it a better place for everyone? 

Bottom-up strength meets top-down innovation

Urban Renaissance (UR) builds on the strongest asset of any neighborhood: its people. Bottom-up community based redevelopment is energetic, fast, and effective. We combine this with sustainable life-cycle science, finance strategy, and blue economy principles, resulting in neighborhoods that are self-sufficient in energy, water, waste, and food, long term job creation, and combines them in a plan that works financially.

Urban Renaissance Diagram

Flourishing redevelopment

The unique Urban Rensaissance process provides safe and healthy living environments and a thriving economy. UR realizes inspiring environments to live in, and resilient long term investments.  Itsignificantly improves on old planning and design processes. The UR process includes strategies based on:

Urban Renaissance Community Participation

Multi-disciplinary innovation

Urban Renaissance is the result of bringing together partners in innovative design, engineering, planning, strategy and environmental research. We travel the globe to realize these future-proof neighborhoods, communities and institutions with a team of 30 experts. It effectively brings the SiD sustainability methodolology, proven in over 200 projects, to urban redevelopment.

Urban Renaissance offers self-sufficiency

UR applies a closed-loop urban metabolism approach combined with life-cycle thinking and bottom-up community participation, tailored to each specific neighborhood, culture, and economy. This results in resilient and sustainable neighborhoods with local independence on the following aspects, and more: 

  • Energy (neutral, positive, or autonomous)
  • Water & waste processing
  • Fresh food (basic or full sufficiency)
  • Construction & operational materials
  • Economic program
  • Social and cultural program
  • Communications (internet, data storage)
  • Ecological resources


Urban Renaissance Redevelopment Stack

Except offers over a decade of experience in self-sustaining design and development, on four continents. Want to find out how to make your neighborhood or institution self-sustaining? Contact us to find out how.



High Performance Sustainable Polyculture Agriculture

Polydome is a revolutionary approach to greenhouse agriculture that offers the possibility of commercial scale, net-zero-impact food production. The Polydome system strategically interweaves a wide variety of crops and animals, taking advantage of every inch of the greenhouse while eliminating the need for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

Polydome is an answer to a part of the world food crisis. With its high yields (60 – 90 kg per square meter), and diverse outputs (over 50 crops, two mushroom varieties, chickens, eggs, fish, and honey), even a small Polydome system can sustainably provide a varied food supply for a large population. Scalable. Profitable.

Polydome has been extensively researched by Except and over 12 partners in the industry. Concept overview and technical details are published in a free open source book, downloadable below.

... read more >

Boston Fort Point Masterplan

Sustainable urban redevelopment

This urban redevelopment project of the Fort Point district in Boston, MA proposes a unique strategy to reduce city-wide traffic congestion, increase livability and property values and contributes significantly to the resilience of the city as a whole.

... read more >

Sustainable Schiebroek-Zuid

Redevelopment of post-war social housing

We developed a sustainabile conversion and development plan for the post-war social housing area Schiebroek-Zuid in Rotterdam.  The project provides a flexible and exemplary roadmap for converting the neighborhood into a self-sufficient and sustainable area. It applies innovative energy solutions, urban farming, social and economic programs, secondary currencies, and adaptive redevelopment strategies.

This project was commissioned by housing corporation Vestia and agricultural research network InnovatieNetwerk.

... read more >

San Francisco Transbay / Salesforce Park

World's largest ecological rooftop park

The San Francisco Transbay Center redevelopment project realizes the world’s largest rooftop park in the center of one of the world’s most exciting cities: Salesforce Park. The concept, developed by Except together with Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, restructures an existing transport hub into a beacon of beauty, biodiversity, and health.  The project started in 2007 and the park opened in 2019.

... read more >

Portal to Venlo

Sustainable Greenhouse Industry Area Development (2010)

The Portal to Venlo offers the greenhouse industry in the east of the Netherlands a model to develop a sustainable industry. The project re-imagines an existing greenhouse industry area, currently fragmented, inefficient, dangerous for bicycle tourists that cross the area and in general rather unappealing.

... read more >

Trade mission Detroit

Launch of Detroit Urban Regen

In cooperation with the Dutch Foreign Office we  organized the trade mission to Detroit of May 2015 for over 25 organizations. The program established new permanent business partnerships of Dutch agri- and horticulture, and innovation companies with their American business, governmental and community development counterparts. Detroit, a  former powerhouse of the automotive industry, has suffered  from deindustrialization, a decline in population, an increase in crime, and general  decay. Yet, Detroit is a city full of resources and opportunities.

The event launched Detroit Urban Regen which aims to  revitalize  the city using smart agricultural solutions and creating a new biobased industry.  22 written pledges of commitment where secured, adding to the existing 15 international partners for Detroit Urban Regen.

... read more >

Roadmap to the BGI Manual

Bridging the knowledge gap in the field of Blue Green Infrastructures

Blue Green Infrastructures (BGI) increase the resilience of urban and rural landscapes, integrating their core functions with natural features and processes. Hurdles exist in the process of translating BGI-related knowledge and data from science to practice, and a tool that facilitates this transfer is still missing. We conducted a research in collaboration with a team of partner organizations (JNCC, IFLA Europe, BiodivERsA, and NRW), to pinpoint key preliminary knowledge to design such a tool, and collected our key findings in a report downloadable on this page.

... read more >


Except Integrated Sustainability

Tom Bosschaert

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