Amsterdam In-Between

Amsterdam-Noord is the biggest borough of the city of Amsterdam, measuring 49,01 km2 and inhabiting 86.520 residents. The platform for European Architecture Wonderland invited multidisciplinary teams to take a critical look at Nieuwendam Noord, a neighbourhood of Amsterdam-Noord, and to depict alternative approaches in urban planning with a focus on this specific area; especially targeting at young citizens to participate in the making of their neighborhood.

Nieuwendam Noord is composed mainly of middle and high-rise buildings, almost all of the social housing sector (95%).
It still looks quite the same as it did in its beginnings in the 1960s when it was built: wide open public spaces with plenty of greenery, framed by the housing slabs that appear in good condition and that have little vacancy nowadays. In recent decades, however, hardly any investments have been made in this area, which led to a decline in the quality and use of public space; especially for young people there are no attractive places to go.

Our proposal to re-think this neighborhood consists of three sequential steps:

SOCIO-CULTURAL MAPPING A socio-cultural mapping is applied to understand the character of this neighborhood: its shortcomings and strengths, its multiculturalilty, the specific lifestyles and perceptions of the different types of citizens as well as their identification with the urban settings.

ASSISTED BOTTOM-UP PLANNING A sustainable community is created through participatory decision-making processes. Citizens, and youth in particular, are invited and motivated to present their ideas for their neighborhood. A multidisciplinary team of experts, including urbanists, architects, anthropologists, economists and other professionals, will support the citizen group during workshops where concepts are developed and budgeted.

APPLICATION AND APPROPRIATION An inter-institutional committee with representatives from the municipality, local organizations, and the citizens will evaluate the proposals and select those that will be integrated in the municipal plan and budget. Potential agendas of use are: anticipate preservation, stimulate temporary uses as urban catalysts and agents of change, reuse existing infrastructure through small capital investment.

Based on this strategic intervention, temporary events will be organized to fill the existing urban voids; their success and appropriation will be evaluated to define future uses on a permanent base. An urban laboratory in real time, Nieuwendam Noord can provide a new model for making the city. The concept can be applied in any urban scenario and has already been adopted by A 01 and XCOOP in developed as well as developing countries. Our collaboration is based on exchanges between the Global South and North, East and West in order to create efficient and effective solutions in a continuously urbanizing and globalizing society.


Team: A Company (Oliver Schütte and Marije van Lidth de Jeude) with XCOOP (Cristina Murphy and Andrea Bertassi)

Scope: Socio-Cultural Analysis and Participatory Urban Design

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Status: Competition

Year: 2012