Locals at the drawing board
In 2018, the City of Amsterdam asked Space&Matter, BETA architects and B+B landscape architects to oversee the creation of a new zoning plan for the Klaprozenbuurt. Specifically, the municipality wanted us to develop and oversee a comprehensive, one-of-a-kind participatory design process. Unlike the frequently used top-down planning approach, our approach preserves much of the existing land ownership structure. This creates conditions that make the redevelopment of each individual plot economically attractive for all those involved.
We taught local citizens and stakeholders how to think like urban planners so that we could discuss everything from pavement width to the number of stories per flat. Over the course of several months, the design took shape through an iterative feedback loop of workshops and presentations. This approach successfully united private and public interests and ultimately gave way to an urban plan that everybody is excited to implement.
A well-connected neighbourhood
In the workshops, we identified the wish for diversity with regards to the social, programmatic, and spatial dimensions. The plan, therefore, introduces multifunctional zoning, with residential blocks centred around elevated communal green courtyards with shops and offices on the ground floor. Two new schools, student housing, public amenities and local cafes are found throughout the entire neighbourhood, enlivening the streets, improving the sense of safety and enhancing the local economy.
Another important value articulated by local citizens and stakeholders was the desire for the neighbourhood to be connected via greenery. As a result, almost all of the buildings have either green roofs or photovoltaic installations for local energy production. Between urban blocks, generous public spaces are created with green alleys and squares filled with diverse plant species. The plants not only enhance biodiversity in the city’s environment but also act as ecological corridors that connect the neighbourhood to open parkland.