(T)huis voor Spoedzoekers

Last week, Wednesday July 5th, SPCitI, represented by Bernardina Borra, was invited by the Podium voor Architectuur to contribute to the panel discussion of the closing meeting of its program “(T)huis voor spoedzoekers” in Hoofdorp.

The program tackled the issue of emergency housing and how to transform this challenge into an opportunity for integration and reflection on new housing development practices.

Two teams made of Dutch and young Syrian designers presented the results of their design research projects which proposed solutions to vulnerable groups in urgent need of housing. The two proposals addressed the issues of use of public spaces, availability and accessibility of public amenities as well as community building and the integration of the new residents into the existing urban fabric and networks at different scales.

In addition to SPCitI, the panel included researchers and speakers from the housing corporation Ymere and the municipality of Haarlemmermeer. The discussion explored the limits of the definition of a “spoedzoeker” as well as the policies and processes that would allow for an active involvement of the target group in the development and the design of both the program and the space. The participants also raised the questions of affordability and sustainability and how they remain critical for the success of any development proposal.

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ISOCARP 2016 Article: The Future of Urban Living

ISOCARP The future of Urban Living

During the 2016 52nd ISOCARP Congress in Durban, South Africa, Miranda Schut presented a paper entitled “The future of Urban Living: New Forms of Work – Planning for the Unknown in Amterdam”. The paper was part of the congress fourth track “Urban Planning and Policy Making in Times of Uncertainty, Fragility & Insecurity” and introduced SPCitI’s research-by-design project in Amsterdam’s Metropolitan Region (MRA). 

The project’s goal is to identify the main themes that will drive changes into the future of work and that will have relevant impact on spatial planning in the MRA. With the continuous and fast-paced change induced by technological innovation and social developments, new perspectives need to be developed to address the development and growth of urban environments. This does not only apply to the MRA but also to other major cities in the Europe and beyond.

SPCitI study explores, among others, the topics of housing, healthcare, mobility and food chains and aims to gain a better understanding of the spatial principles, frameworks and development strategies that shape the city. In a later phase, the project will investigate, urban policy implications, tools and planning strategies.

The article provides insights into the issues that are addressed by the project, the methodology and the principles underlying the research.  

Check Miranda’s presentation and read her paper here

For the complete ISOCARP publication, check the ISOCARP Congress 2016 report page.

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ISIGE-Mines ParisTech on a Field Trip to Amsterdam

ISIGE Field Trip Amsterdam

Last week, a group of students of the ISIGE Institute, enrolled in the master program “ingenierie et gestion de l’environment” (environmental engineering and management) at the Ecole des Mines de Paris were in Amsterdam. The one-week long trip, guided by Miranda Schut, introduced the students group to different initiatives within the areas of the circular economy and social innovation in Amsterdam and included site visits and presentations by different local entrepreneurs, researchers and experts.

During this trip the students discovered the newest residential neighborhoods of Amsterdam: NKSM, Java Eiland and Ijburg; the formerly industrial site of Buiksloterham, now the site of Amsterdam’s first circular neighborhood, and the creative district of NDSM. Presentations on Amsterdam’s waterfront development by Gert Urhahn, innovation by and for citizens by Ivonne Jansen-Dings from the Waag Society and the presentation of the two research projects R-Link and Co-ReUs completed the students overview on the city’s urban innovation ecosystem.

To round the trip, the visit covered also socially innovative projects in Amsterdam through a visit to two initiatives in the eastern part of the city: BOOST where a group of local residents, young entrepreneurs and refugees collaborate to create integration opportunities for Amsterdam newest residents and the Zero Wate Lab, a neighborhood initiative for waste recycling and upcycling. 

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Linking Urban Farming and Urban Planning in Times of Crisis: Food Strategies for the Al Za’atari Camp

Urban Farming in Al Za'atari Camp
In July 2016, SPCitI, in collaboration with RUAF, conducted a second mission to Al Za’atari Camp in Marfraq, Jordan. This second field work assignment is a follow-up to the first scoping mission organized in 2015 and commissioned by VNG International. During this last expedition, a number of interventions were identified to support the development of small scale integrated food production initiatives for host and refugee communities in Mafraq. These interventions are to be linked to the infrastructural framework and planning scenarios developed by VNG International and the municipality of Amsterdam within the framework of the LOGO Rep program. The program aims to bridge the gap between short-term humanitarian aid and long-term sustainable development in the region by preparing the ground for initiatives connecting people, food, water, products and services.

Read more about the project in RUAF’s Urban Agriculture Magazine.

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Porto Novo “Ville Verte”, Benin

Porto-Novo Ville Verte

In the first two weeks of February, the French NGO ‘Les Ateliers‘ organised a workshop in Porto-Novo, the capital city of Benin in West Africa. Two teams of 12 international experts, of which Miranda, brainstormed to identify directions for the development of the ‘Porto-Novo, Ville Verte’ project. The project, which involves five partners (City of Porto-Novo, FFEM, AFD, the cities of Grand Lyon and Cergy-Pontoise) aims to create a sustainable urban development plan. The city, qualified as ‘sleeping beauty’ by the workshop participants, is not taking advantage of the development happening in the large West-African urban corridor that stretches from Abidjan to Lagos, and is lacking a comprehensive and integrated city vision.

Porto-Novo Ville Verte Mobility

Themes included resilience to climate change, sustainable and inclusive development, conservation of biodiversity and natural resources, economic and demographic growth, densification and peri-urban agriculture. The team worked on 3 key strategies (economy, mobility and urbanisation) that are firmly rooted in the existing environmental qualities, cultural identity and local economic potential of the city. The next step will be the creation of a framework based on the workshop that can serve as a base for a sustainable urban development plan.

Credit: Photo by Romarick Atoke

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