Innovation in Management of the Built Environment

Innovations in the Management of the Built Environment (IMBE) aims to stimulate and evaluate innovation in the management of the built environment through evidence-based decision making on the part of clients, developers, investors, architects, engineers, consultants, policy makers, product developers, contractors and users involved in the initiation, design, construction and the development or redevelopment of the built environment.

One of the main priorities of IMBE is to identify emerging social, economic and technological issues. This leads to the early recognition of new challenges that trigger both applied and fundamental research into the spatial impact of, for example, organizational change, workplace change, evolving activity patterns and workflows, and technological innovations in communication.

The programme develops scientific insights and new solutions on the basis of a wealth of knowledge and tools from a wide spectrum of disciplines that includes public administration, strategic management, economics, law, mathematics, sociology and psychology, in addition to design and engineering.

It also addresses a social necessity: the built environment is a major though diffuse area of large investment that has yet to achieve its potential in terms of spatial, functional and technical quality, cost effectiveness and sustainability, as indicated by current vacancy rates in real estate, failure rates in construction, high cost relative to performance, etc. This makes it necessary to incorporate the interests, ambitions and constraints of the various stakeholders, and to unite products and processes of development and redevelopment towards new multidisciplinary approaches that achieve the performance needed today.

Societal/scientific quality and relevance of the research

The Innovations in the Management of the Built Environment (IMBE) research programme focuses primarily on residential and nonresidential stock, such as offices, educational buildings, retail and leisure facilities, and healthcare complexes. These are considered at all abstraction levels and throughout their lifecycles, but predominantly from the viewpoint of use and utility, that is, their performance and contribution to the activities they accommodate. Although such issues have always been of particular importance in the high-density, high-yield built environment of the Netherlands, they have been accentuated by the credit crunch and its effects.

The programme considers the performance of building stock both in isolation and in its (usually urban) context, making explicit the roles, constraints and relationships of different actors and stressing the need for consistent, structural solutions that are based on policy and strategy and are substantiated by scientific means. This involves extensive knowledge and technology transfer from various disciplines, followed by adaptation to the conditions of AEC and integration into a coherent whole that applies continuously to the lifecycle of the built environment. The results are comprehensive methods and techniques that are usually geared towards specific issues, such as new business models for sustainability or post-credit crunch architectural practice, supply chain evaluation tools in construction and renovation, indicators of post-occupancy evaluation success and approaches to the adaptive reuse of existing building stock.

Despite the apparent focus on such issues, the backbone of IMBE research is formed by wider methodical concerns, as evidenced by the emphasis on problems of integration and cooperation in, for example, urban area development and supply chain management.

More about this programme

Want to know more about the scope, research environment, academic reputation, valorisation, and the key journals and articles of this specific research programme?
Download a complete overview of the research programmes (BK Books website)

More information about this research programme or discuss possibilities for cooperation:

Prof.dr. Ellen van Bueren (research leader)

Key books
  • Management of Urban Development Processes in the Netherlands
    Agnes Franzen, Fred Hobma, Hans de Jonge & Gerard Wigmans (eds.)
  • Computer-Mediated Briefing for Architects
    Alexander Koutamanis

more books …