The First Phase of ‘MensenWerk’ is Complete!


The central question of our ongoing research ‘MensenWerk – The Future of Urban Living, Planning for the Unknown’ is not about the exact programming of urban transformation areas in the future. It is rather: how to deal with the spatial integration of economy and work in the future and what type of development strategies are needed to address that?

Our aim is not to “plan” for the work transition and the new economic activities but to scout for planning instruments to ensure that the unfolding of these future developments will not be hampered by the current planning methods that could soon prove obsolete in facing the upcoming urban changes. We think that urban areas must be strategically developed to make ample space for each stakeholder to participate in the process and that plans should be sufficiently flexible to accommodate the unforeseen evolution of spatial programs through time.

May these issues ring as a wake-up call and raise questions or tickles your curiosity, send us a line to – we are happy to tell you more. Upon request we can also send you excerpts of our research (in Dutch), giving you some insight in what we have been up to. After the summer, we will start the next phase in which we will go into the field and start testing the ideas on the research sites in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region – getting a grasp beyond theory-  to be continued!

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Amsterdam Marineterrein, Principebesluit Approved by the B&W

Marineterrein principebesluit

In 2018, the Dutch ministry of Defense is leaving the Marineterrein (Navy Yard) in Amsterdam. This means that 13 hectares of land will be released in the heart of the city. The idea of the stakeholder team (the Dutch government, municipality of Amsterdam and the city center board) is to develop the site into an international work and knowledge environment, i.e an Innovation District. It will become a place where top institutions and internationally oriented companies of different sizes can innovate, test and apply new solutions. In addition, it will also become an attractive place for locals and visitors. Cultural and social services, housing and various facilities for sporting and moving indoors and outdoors should contribute to meeting and interacting.

The current vision only indicates the direction of development and is not a blueprint. This allows for the future development to remain flexible and to adapt to the rapidly changing conditions required by innovative environments.

Together with the Amsterdam’s department of Planning and Sustainability, the Atelier Rijksbouwmeester and SPcitI have been collaborating from September 2016 to February 2017 to prepare a part of this step-by-step process, leading to the first basic spatial principles. The ‘Principebesluit Marineterrein’ of the planning department was approved by the city council of Amsterdam on July 18th. The next phase of the project was kicked-off the following day during ‘the making of the Marineterrein’.

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SPCitI Presents at the WASH Alliance International Learning Session

WASH Alliance learning session

On July 13th, SPCitI was invited to participate in the Interactive Learning Session on WASH and Urban Development & Design for WASH experts organized by the WASH Alliance International (WAI) in Amsterdam. The WAI is an international organization working towards granting universal and sustainable access to water and sanitation around the world. Through presentations and an active Q&A session, experts from different backgrounds were invited to exchange experiences and learn about innovative approaches, design solutions and techniques in the area of drinking water and sanitation. Invited participants included experts from Wereld Waternet, RUAF and WASTE

SPCitI’s contribution, presented by Miranda, focused on the question ‘What type of infrastructure network model is suitable, taking into account the reality of urbanization & urban residents in cities in development?’. Miranda emphasized the importance of learning from the (physical, social and economic) context of the site, the impact of local uses, user experience and the challenges that come with urban diversity and the diversity in demand. SPcitI deals with this through a site-specific, multi-stakeholder participatory design process, on which Miranda elaborated by showing two examples of SPCitI projects in Brasil and Monrovia. 

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(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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Space for the Economy of Tomorrow: 11 Stories

Space for the Economy of Tomorrow 11 stories

The economic department of the city of Amsterdam (EZ) has officially published ‘Ruimte voor de economie van morgen’ (Space for the Economy of Tomorrow). This policy document contains the spatial economic building blocks for the growth of the city, and is complementary to ‘Koers 2025‘, the municipality housing policy plan to build 50,000 homes by 2025.

In fall 2016, at the request of the Municipality of Amsterdam, SPCitI has scrutinized 11 national en international best practices looking at mixed-use productive projects/areas. This comparative study is published as a booklet ’11 stories’ along with the ‘Ruimte voor de economie van morgen’ policy document. The study highlights 9 specific themes such as collective values and the Next Economy and points out 6 spatial and strategic principles.

Download ’11 Stories’ from the municipality website on which you can also find the full policy document (in Dutch).

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