A heart for the K-neighbourhood

Neighborhood community ‘A Heart for the K-zone’

Thematic route link
Density and the informal city

For years considered to be a 1960/70s planning disaster, the high rise social housing at Amsterdam South-East (also know as ‘the Bijlmer’) is currently undergoing rapid transformation. In the K-zone (K-buurt), one of the remaining high-rise areas, local inhabitants have fiercely resisted recent plans to build in a place that they see would be crucial to turn into a public space, essential to provide opportunity to meet each other and function as a true neighbourhood. They have found a hearing with the central municipality, but now urgently need to come up with a thorough analysis and a good alternative.

The organizers of these protests will be the commissioner of this Atelier project, in which together with the inhabitants you will make an alternative plan to support their case for a well-designed and well-functioning – perhaps even ‘iconic’- source of pride for the neighbourhood: how to make a ‘heart for the K zone’?

There are challenges involved in the area, involving issues of safety and a history of crime and drug use. However, it is also a very vibrant community with lots of potential, for whom public space to meet, organize and to develop could contribute to generating a unique area. Building on a set of interviews that have been gathered earlier, and in close collaboration with the local inhabitants eager to come up with a shared vision, the Atelier team is challenged to develop and visualize a plan that will convince the municipality to follow the inhabitants in their desire for a well-designed and well-planned public square.

The ‘K-buurt’ (‘K-Zone’) is a high-rise residential area in Amsterdam South-East, or ‘the Bijlmer’. Built in the early seventies as a massive social experiment of building high rises in a lush green area, the K-buurt has over the past years been restructured, where high rises have been torn down, replaced by low rise housing. The residents are an eclectic mix with rich multicultural backgrounds, many of whom face incredible challenges on social and economic fronts.

In the middle of the K-zone, municipal authorities are planning to develop an area with dense housing that according to the local inhabitants would be crucial to function as a public space for their neighborhood. This community already has over the past few years been subjected to a lot of participatory efforts and municipal interventions that sought to deal with particular problems. This time they want to take matters into their own hands and are eager to present their views of what could give their neighbourhood a beating heart showing what a successful public space in this area could look like.

To maximize time in the field, there is a working space available for the students to work locally at the K-zone.