Johannes Cornelis “Co” Verdaas

Co Verdaas is a Dutch politician of the Labour Party. He served as State Secretary for the Ministry of Economic Affairs, dealing with agriculture, nature, food quality, tourism and postal affairs in the Cabinet Rutte II.

Johannes Cornelis "Co" Verdaas  was appointed government commissioner for the National Delta Programme in December 2023. As an independent government commissioner, he monitors the progress of the National Delta Programme in which government authorities and knowledge institutes work with stakeholder organisations and business to protect the Netherlands in the long term from flooding and weather extremes, and to maintain adequate supplies of fresh water.

Co Verdaas has worked at the interface of spatial development, science and governance for more than 25 years. His employers have included the University of Wageningen, the municipal authority of Zwolle and the SWZ housing corporation.

He is also part-time Professor of Area Development at Delft University of Technology.

Verdaas studied planology at Radboud University in Nijmegen, where he completed his doctorate "Plans won’t be planned", a study of the functioning of the planning system in the Netherlands.He developed the so-called Ladder of Verdaas, a system for solving traffic problems.

Besides, he is singer and guitarist in the rock band John-Boy & The Waltons.

Ricky Burdett

Ricky Burdett is Professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and director of LSE Cities and the Urban Age Programme. He is a member of Council of the Royal College of Art in London. Burdett was Visiting Professor in Urban Planning and Design at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University in 2014 and Global Distinguished Professor at New York University from 2010 to 2014. He was also a member of the UK Government’s Independent Airports Commission.

He has been involved in regeneration projects across Europe and was Chief Adviser on Architecture and Urbanism for the London 2012 Olympics (where he was involved in the selection of designers for many of the Olympic venues) and architectural adviser to the Mayor of London from 2001 to 2006. Burdett was also a member of the Urban Task Force which produced a major report for the UK government on the future of English cities. He is editor of The Endless City (2007), Living in the Endless City (2011) and Innovation in Europe’s Cities (2015).

Burdett acts as an adviser to national, regional and local governments on urban issues, and has worked with private companies and architectural practices on the development and framing of urban projects. He was involved in the design competitions for Tate Modern, the Laban Centre, BBC projects in Broadcasting House, White City and Glasgow; the Royal Opera House Open-up project, NM Rothschild & Sons Headquarters in the City of London, the Golden Mede development at Waddesdon, the MAXXI Centre in Rome, the new Integrated transport system in Jeddah and the redevelopment of Penn Plaza in New York City.