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.

Atelier student team

Coos van Ginkel
Coos graduated for his bachelor in Landscape Architecture at Wageningen University. During his bachelor he studied urbanism for half a year at the TU Delft, where he did a large project in Rotterdam South. Now in his master at Wageningen University he is eager to explore what the potential of landscape architecture and related professions can be in together with the end-users creating environments which suit the people’s needs and what they are proud of.

Pauline Veenbergen
Pauline Veenbergen came to Wageningen University to study Landscape architecture and Spatial Planning. After completing her bachelor with a thesis on the subject of ‘restrictive design’, she started her masters in Landscape Architecture. In the future she would like to explore designing in urban areas on a small scale, which allows one to dig into the details of urban spaces.

Lan Yu
Lan followed a bachelor’s in landscape architecture for four years at the Northeast Forestry University (China). For her bachelor thesis she designed a riverside park landscape design, and now she is a first-year student in Wageningen University and curious about urban city landscape design.

Eleonora Fiorin
Eleonora is a landscape architecture student from Italy. She studied Architecture at the university of Venice, where she also collaborated with the Italian network Architecture Without Boundaries. She moved to the Netherland to study landscape architecture at Wageningen University. Currently in her second year of her master’s, she’s working on her Master Thesis about Soundscape and Urban Quality.

Ruby Neugebauer
Ruby came to Wageningen for her bachelor in spatial planning after living in the Amsterdam area for most of her live. Now she is following the master’s programme in spatial planning at the Wageningen University with a focus on social processes of change in relation to urban spatial developments.

Sonia Meriin
Sonia graduated for her bachelor Landscape architecture with her thesis on recreation in suburban areas, now she is following the landscape architecture master programme at Wageningen University. During her bachelor she studied abroad in Estonia for a half year where several projects were done in the Baltic region. In the further future she would like to explore more about designing within the urban space. ​


Background reading