Filiz Kesmer

Employee portrait

'My ideal is a healthy and sustainable living environment for all'

Filiz Kesmer is an environmental impact assessment consultant at Witteveen+Bos. She believes in an interdisciplinary approach and is determined to carry on the philosophy of the late Diederik Bel.

Objective data

‘In my youth, we’d often take road trips – to Turkey, for example, to visit my grandparents. During that long journey, we crossed many countries. I’ve always found it fascinating how people from different backgrounds and in different phases of their lives live together, and how it works better in some countries than others. I believe that equal access to objective data helps bridge gaps in society. That’s why I value facts and substantiation. I think your actions should be replicable and based on the truth – only then can you have meaningful conversations and create a level playing field.’

The city as an organism

‘I ended up doing the Urban Environmental Management master’s degree at Wageningen University, as it turns out I prefer to exploit specialist knowledge within a big-picture approach. I like to zoom out and understand the impact of a technical intervention on people and their environment. A city’s like an organism: adjusting one system has consequences for others. When I read the job advertisement for a consultant at Witteveen+Bos in environmental impact assessments for urban development and energy, I knew: this will give me the chance to work in an interdisciplinary manner on complex tasks. I believe we need to close chains and that we can only achieve this together. The person responsible for this interdisciplinary view is our former colleague Diederik Bel, who passed away in 2023. I’m determined to carry on his philosophy.’

Consider all interests

‘European legislation has made it mandatory to investigate the environmental impact of a plan or project so that decision-makers can use that information to make adjustments as required. Only after an effective, replicable analysis which everyone supports can you start thinking about solution pathways. In an increasingly polarised society, those analyses need to be more thoroughly substantiated than ever. Diederik always used to say: ‘We’re a commercial bureau but we’re often paid with taxpayers’ money.’ In other words, we have a duty to consider all interests and ensure that as many people as possible benefit. As engineers and consultants, we anticipate future developments to produce advice that incorporates measures aimed at reducing impacts on people, living environments, and the natural world. I genuinely see my profession as a tool for achieving my ideal: a healthy and sustainable living environment for all.’

More information?