Stefaan (or Stef) Stegen graduated as a Landscape Architect in 1981, after studies in theology.
He has been working for local government ever since.
The experience of landscape and its components, their influence on human behavior have been a constant point of attention.
Botanical garden management and historical garden design led him to gain a better understanding of the human/landscape interface.
Integrated garden design, adapted to people with a handicap, always retained his attention.
Up came the integral European project. He became the first Secretary General of EFLA (later IFLA Europe). Understanding of language, culture and etymology seemed to be of uppermost importance for all parties to come to a good understanding of decisions, aims and purposes to be taken at that time.
Working with the board as a team towards a future of international cooperation and understanding, building bridges was the ultimate goal.
He was manager of educational projects, recreation and nature areas. He specialised in nature conservation areas in Flanders, and in regional redevelopment of river valleys.
During the last decades the focus has been on sustainable water management.
Building bridges between partners involved in water management is of uttermost importance in Flanders and Belgium.
Drinkable water is currently the most urging resource to take care of. It has been, and will be the reason for human resettlement and more, and therefore should be at the core of every vision on (re-)development.
“One can measure the development of a society by two measures:
- The care for healthy water resources for the generations to come;
- The care for fellow humans who are different ( in any way) than what is considered
‘normal’ or ‘average’ at that time in that culture (elderly, children, gender,disabled, …).
Only if that society takes good care of these ‘parameters’ and invests in a sustainable
relationship with them, that society may have a good chance to thrive and be a
society for all…“