Airport and Region

Client: Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment Year: 2012
Output: Spatial models for the future development of Schiphol Airport and the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region.
Project: How to balance future economic developments in the Amsterdam Metropolitan region with the noise pollution contours of one of Europe’s busiest airports? Although limits of the noise contours have been legally set, the way they could be interpreted varies. This opens a playing field in which local politics, private parties and environmental agents act and follow their individual interests. The project entitled SMASH generated three spatial models of the playing field until 2040 through a series of large conferences and workshops with many stakeholders involved. These models are input for the national policy of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment for the airport and the metropolitan region around.

Smart Informal Territories lab

Client: City of São Paulo Year: 2009-2013
Project: Smart Informal Territories Lab Heliópolis (SITlab) works with the Prefeitura de Cidade de São Paulo, the local community and various ‘NGO’s’ on upgrading projects for the Favela Heliópolis where an estimated 190.000 people live without formally having an address. Inclusive planning instruments are essential for the upgrade of living standards and to solve underlying causes. The legalization of housing could help inhabitants to break out of a socio-economic spiral that is largely caused by having no legal address and by the extreme high costs of living in an ‘illegal city’. With SITlab Heliópolis the Universidade Presbiteriana MacKenzie São Paulo, Parsons the New School for Design and the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam work on plans and co-creative planning tools for the Favela that could be applied in other similar conditions in Brazil.

Clear Art Space

Tomorrow the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam will reopen after it has been closed for over a decade. Already weeks before the official opening by the queen the museum has been praised for its exhibition concept and the architectural design by Cruz and Ortiz. The exhibition concept brings art and objects of a certain era together and provides a time travel through the history of the Netherlands. The exhibition spaces are airy and clearly set out. Curators of various collections had to limit their objects for display and no accompanying text next to the world famous paintings is over 60 words. But what is most revealing is the complete lack of digital information screens. After more than two decades of museum concepts with an overkill of information technology, touch screens and computers the Rijksmuseum does the opposite: No screens and limited information. Wim Pijbes the director of the ‘Rijks’ clearly foresaw that he could never compete with the ubiquitous smartphone and the endless resources of information visitors have access to. This might be an omen for public space design, traffic information design and urban interiors in the future. Less is more. Information is already in the palm of everyone’s hands. Resources: Picture: NRC / Olivier Middendorp.

Creative spaces for safety

In the summer of 2007 the ‘Coalition Project 1012’ started. This collaborative project initiated by the municipality, intends to reduce crime and to contribute to the economic upgrading of the postcode area 1012, the Red Light District in Amsterdam. 1012 is located in the heart of historic Amsterdam and is a major attraction for visitors from home and abroad. In order to maintain and improve this condition the Red Light District should be diversified. One of the applied strategies is a street-oriented one. Quite some red light windows and coffeeshops will dissappear after negotiation with the owners. To upgrade the street, ‘streetteams’ will be established who together with the inhabitants and entrepreneurs will make a vision for the street or a cluster of streets. Together with parties who already have position in the area a strategy to buy property has been set up. This property gets another function. Successful is to attract the creative industry. This sector feels at home within urban and ‘rawer’ conditions and are not scared off by the dubious industry which is just around the corner. The 1012 project already added several interesting creative spaces to the Red Light District like Ultra de La Rue Creative Space on the picture below. In the Rua General Jardim in São Paulo a similar strategy upgraded a  prostitution street with the addition of a school for architecture, the Escola de Cidade and the Instituto de Arquitetos do Brasil. This resulted in a weird mix of functions and people on the street, but above all it established a safer and more attractive street in downtown São Paulo.

Climate Street

According to Amsterdam Smart City: “Together with entrepreneurs … the Utrechtsestraat, is transformed into a sustainable shopping street where innovative technologies are tested. …A group of 40 enthusiastic entrepreneurs have been selected as the frontrunners group. They all actively want to participate in making the Utrechtsestraat area more sustainable. The frontrunner group is closely involved in the project and act as test team and soundboard of the various sustainable initiatives. Also, a base measurement has been carried out, mapping out the current situation in the street concerning CO2 and NO2. This base measurement serves as a starting point for the introduction of the various solutions.  Sustainable initiatives in the Climatestreet:

1. Entrepreneurs:
– Carrying out of energy scans, mapping out the saving potential of the entrepreneur in the areas of lighting, heating and cooling inside the shop/restaurant
– Implementation of Smart meters that measure energy consumption and can be connected to energy-saving appliances
– Energy display providing feedback on energy consumption and giving personal energy-saving tips based on the information provided by the smart meter
– Smart Plugs that automatically dim or shut down un-used appliances and lights

2. Public space:
– Integrated sustainable street lighting using energy saving lamps that can be dimmed during quiet times at night
– Tram stops that are provided with energy saving lighting with minimal environmental impact from production to recycling. The lights installed at tram stops are solar powered
– Solar-powered BigBelly waste bins with built-in garbage compacters, allowing the bins to be emptied five times less frequently
– Reverse Osmosis water column on a central location that limits the miles that cleaning vehicles have to drive to refill

3. Logistics:
– Waste is collected using electric vehicles from a single provider, minimizing CO2 emissions
– Optimization of logistical processes through clustering

For a Bike-City

Sunday July 1st more than 1200 cyclists cycled the streets of St. Petersburg to show that the demand for the popularization of bikes exists in the city. The cyclists gathered included people from all ages. Riding among others the infamous Nevski Prospekt should encourage the Governor to impove the infrastructure for cyclists in the city. Although the winters might be too cold to ride your bike, the spring and summer offers endless white nights to cycle. The bike gains popularity worldwide as a convenient way of travelling around the city. Yet not a lot of urban societies have developed a bike-culture and the necessary infrastructure for it. Bike infrastructure should be on top of the agenda of any city. Using the bike for transport reduces carbon emissions, keeps people fit and more over is simply the fastest way to travel within the city. The city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands is maybe the best known example of a bike-city. Within the innercity more than 55% of the daily journeys is done by bike. Giving priority to the bikes means creating bikelanes and creating spaces to park bikes on the streets. Above all it requires a change of urban culture where no longer the car is the dominant consumer of public space. In the Smart City the car will inevitably loose ground.