Density and the informal city

DesificationInformal.pngYou can explore the Density and informal city route by looking at the gallery or you can add a contribution here.

Description of Route

Amsterdam would not be itself without its many informal projects, initiatives taken by ‘developers without property’, or new ‘city makers’. They created urban farms and orchards, a variety of creative and sustainability initiatives and experimental start-ups in makeshift workspaces. These initiatives seem to have been particularly abundant in times of economic decline – first, because the more readily available temporarily derelict land offered active groups a basis for their informal place-making initiatives and second, because of an already existing culture of experimentation that suited the emergence of these breeding grounds for innovation. At the same time, we have a category of initiatives characterised by protest that are sometimes rather experimental in their approach, too.

Recently, with returning economic optimism, the public spaces where these activities materialized, have become the subject of urban development plans. As a result, some initiatives have moved elsewhere, whilst others have shown to be more tied to the land that they appropriated and renegotiate their futures. Now that the housing market is at its return and booming, the municipality of Amsterdam is looking for ways to determine where and how densification is possible, to realize additional housing in the city (50.000 before 2021). As a first exercise, the municipality has done this in a top-down manner, but is now looking into alternative, more inclusionary ways to assess the capacity of the city to densify. On the thematic route, participants explore and debate these developments, examine the tensions and jointly develop ways to address them.

Key questions to be addressed on this route

  • What forms of informality initiatives do we see in and around public space in Amsterdam and what are their prospects in view of potential densification?
  • What examples from elsewhere are potentially insightful for Amsterdam people to tackle the tensions?

Programme of the route with its nodes

Thursday 28th of June 2018

14.00 Depart from AMS Institute

14.30 Arrival at Station Zuid – collect bicycles

Introduction to todays’ route as part of the Density and Informal City: Marleen, Ceren

Node Landtong and Nieuwe Meer Over time, very different communities (such as the Nieuw en Meer people and Rijkshemelvaartdienst squatters, the owners of allotment gardens ‘Ons Buiten’, vereniging Oeverlanden, the shipyard, other LGBT-users, ….) have settled around Nieuwe Meer or made the area into their ‘own’, formally or informally. In view of urbanisation some of the involved people are now looking for ways to co-create an inclusive meeting ground and encourage conversations about developments in their surroundings. Is there a way for design to enable these conversations?

 15.00 Arrival at start of Bosbaan

Explanation of the purpose of the Nieuwe Meer route and the programme – what should the afternoon deliver in the end? (team Nieuwe Meer)

Visit of the Southern edge of the Nieuwe Meer.

 15.45 Arrival at IJsbaanpad

Presentation of interventions: routes and the creation of inclusive meeting ground: a democratisation of public space (inhabitants and municipality, reactions from experiences in other locations and countries)

Exploration in three groups of the area to the North of the Nieuwe Meer: what is the problem represented to be in terms of:

– Density

– Informality

– Communities

Possibility of doing short interviews with passers-by, observations, taking pictures

17.00 Arrival at Peninsula

Presentation of findings:

– envisioned tactics and strategies for a democratisation of public space, sharing of experiences from participants

– consolidation of results

18.30  Cycling back to Zuid

19.00  Arrival at Zuid

Friday 29th of June 2018

09.30 Depart from AMS institute (walk, then metro)

10.00 Arrival at Metro Station Kraaiennest, Bijlmer

Node K-Buurt In February 2018, local inhabitants responded to urban development plans and the related formal participation process with a ‘participation-strike’. Initiative has now been taken to present to the municipality an alternative plan that is based on self-organised forms of engagement. The municipality follows the process with interest. As in the Nieuwe Meer area, but in a quite different setting, the question is how design and designing facilitate the conversation.

10.15 Welcome by Mike Brantjes: A heart for the K-Buurt

10.30 Design Challenges                 

11.30 Walkabout in the neigbourhood

Along places included in the designs – focus group discussions with ‘owners’ and feedback from event participants

12.30 Buurtlunch with presentations of selected designs

14.30 Consolidation of results: messages to the city

16.00 Arrival at NDSM plein (a joint visit with Ludic City)

Node NDSM plein Formerly home to one of the largest shipbuilding facilities in the world, the site was transformed into a thriving creative hub by a group of artists, skateboarders and social entrepreneurs with tight connections to the squatting movement. Guided tour with one of the local artists.

17.30 Depart from NDSM Wharf (cycling)

18.00 Arrival at AMS Institute – Drinks