Once a peripheral industrial area in the North of Amsterdam, the Klaprozenbuurt has been driven into redevelopment by a rapidly advancing and densifying city. In a complex of private and public interests, BETA helped shape the urban plan in a collaborative and inclusive effort.
From Plan Zuid (H.P. Berlage) to Borneo Sporenburg (West8), Amsterdam has a rich tradition in formal urban planning. Most of these schemes were the result of the city taking control: consolidating, restructuring and re-issuing land for development. In 2018 this form of top-down planning is becoming too risky for a city faced with dozens of brownfield redevelopment projects within its municipal boundaries.
As a result, the Klaprozenbuurt will be redeveloped through ‘self-realization’, placing responsibility for the redevelopment with the sitting landowners. In this model, the municipality does little more than create a new zoning plan economically attractive enough to entice every plot into redevelopment. Meanwhile the Klaprozenbuurt is surrounded by four residential neighborhoods; their residents articulate and highly organized. Eventually aware that the traditional top-down masterplanning process was disregarding local interests and leading to resistance, the municipality chose to embark on a unique participatory planning process.
In close collaboration with partner offices Space&Matter and landscape architects B+B, BETA devised an inclusive design process geared towards the integration of stakeholders’ interests into the eventual masterplan. Over the course of several months the design took shape through an iterative feedback loop of workshops and presentations. The result is an urban plan embraced by policymakers, landowners and neighbors alike.
The design takes public space as its point of departure, building on existing yet opaque qualities of the area. Here a series of small-scale public spaces, each with a different identity, culminate in a spacious park along the dike. For the urban form, a simple correlation was made between the residents’ desire for a differentiated urban streetscape and the landowners’ preference for smaller, easily phased lots.
Turning fragmented ownership into a design tool, the existing plot boundaries were used as a starting point. As such, even with the uniform distribution of program, it became possible to create a differentiated streetscape. In an effort tot alleviate the landowners’ business cases and stimulate the realization process, public amenities and social housing are concentrated on several lots controlled by the municipality.
The Klaprozenbuurt is to yield a total of 2.000 dwellings by 2035. The zoning plan is pending approval with the first construction works expected to start in 2021.