Nels is passionate about helping cities and towns become happier, healthier, and more resilient. He’s currently working on the Union Square Development in Somerville, Massachusetts, a project that embodies many of the ideas he’s been striving for in his practice: a mixed-use, urban infill, transit-oriented, walkable, bikeable, high-design-quality public space.
Nels is able to optimize and find synergy between factors that influence the development of urban places including quality of life, resilience, and economic development. He has unique experience working with smart urban systems, closing energy and material cycles, and material flow analysis, and enjoys working with the industrial ecology industry. “My conceptualization of city was expanded to include looking at the interactions between actors on physical, energy, and strategic layers.”
After earning his master’s degree in environmental management and technology in The Netherlands, Nels has kept close ties to academia, developing curricula for and teaching at Wageningen University, the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture, and the Royal Academy of Art. As a Fulbright Fellow from 2011-2013, he’s managed green infrastructure projects with the Addis Ababa City Administration, Horn of Africa Regional Environmental Center, and UNDP.
In his spare time, Nels enjoys working on projects with his community, whether it’s a sculpture, aquaculture farm, new bicycle frame, art exhibit, or constructed wetland.