Across the world, cities are enhanced by their relationships with and accessibility to water, with waterfront developments playing a key role in the creation of new urban parks, public promenades and cultural activities that allow citizens to engage with the water. In Amsterdam, however, the case is slightly different. The southern IJ banks in particular have great potential to cater to a variety of inviting spaces and activities, drawing the water out of its passive state.
Accessibility to the water is the first step in achieving this. The quays are currently 1.80 metres high, but the construction of a water trap can reduce the barrier-like effect, allowing people to come closer to the edge and touch the water. In the summertime, a staircase down into the water makes an attractive spot for visitors to cool down and enjoy their newfound surroundings.
Amsterdam's water is primarily experienced from the side, as continuous quays are routes to bike and walk along rather than final destinations. As a result, there are few places that allow one to stop and really enjoy the water as whole.
By creating a public square or scaffold that pierces the water as a pier, more people are invited to a new space that isn't simply part of a transportation route. In this case, the newly created space in the water has more identity and purpose, standing out as an intentional endpoint for one to visit or meet up at.