A sociological, historical, demographical study about the city of Amsterdam.

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  • 1. URBAN SOCIOLOGY COSTANZO RANCI, CAROLINA PACCHI, MARA POPOLIZIO A.Y. 2012/13 ANALYSIS OF THE CITY OF AMSTERDAM STUDENTS: Celeste Calzolari 779725 Mathieu Gorris 784647 Silvia Sanasi 778497 Sara Sciuccati 778099
  • 2. 1. PHYSICAL TRANSFORMATION OF AMSTERDAM 1.1 AMSTERDAM, A MODEL OF CITY PLANNING Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands and is located in the province of Noord-Holland, on the south bank of the river IJ. The name Amsterdam, originally “Amesterdamme,” suggests the origin of the city: a dam in the river Amstel. In fact it settled as a small fishing village in the 13th century. In this chapter we will analyze the chronological development of the city in terms of morphology, trying to understand also the economical and demographic conditions that influenced expansions and the creation of plans and infrastructures. Three main periods particularly influenced the physical transformation of the city. First of all the so called the “Golden age”, the 17th century was particularly prosperous and led to the first and probably most consistent increase of population and physical expansion of the city where the system of canals is dominant. The modern age also assisted to a demographic growth and expansion of the city, initially thanks to the industrial revolution. The great innovation of this period is represented by the necessity of creating a general masterplan in order to control the expansion, therefore number of plans were drawn up in this period. Finally we are going to analyze the contemporary age, in particular the administrative system. Also in the next chapter we will show an overview of the population and in the last one, a number of detailed transformation projects for the development of the new financial district, Zuidas. 1.2 THE GOLDEN AGE - 17TH CENTURY The Golden Age, in the 17th century, was of unprecedented prosperity for Amsterdam, therefore this epoch was crucial for the city’s development in the future and it is explanatory for the limited impact that Industrial Revolution had in the Netherlands. Furthermore, since the 17th century a tradition of freedom and tolerance has been present, thanks to the settlement of the leftwing government, which will rule on Amsterdam for the rest of its history: catholics, protestants, jews and ‘free-thinkers’ could live together in a coherent way and could stay true to their own beliefs and different opinions. One of the most important elements in the success of the Dutch trading culture was the foundation of the VOC (Verenigde Oost-Indische Companie) in 1602. Given this extreme economic growth and possibilities, the increase of the population in Amsterdam was impressive. Already in the beginning of the existence of Amsterdam, the city was characterized by a mixture of different people and especially in this period acquired a distinctly cosmopolitan character. The city, that around 1570 counted less than 30.000 inhabitants, in 1620 reached 100,000 inhabitants. Therefore the city developed rapidly and underwent a significant urban expansion, namely the construction of the first canal belt in 1613. The canals functioned as a fortification and a wall was built behind them, where nowadays Nassaukade and Stadhouderskade are now located. Three large canals were dug in western direction: Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht. In 1675 the estimated population of Amsterdam reached 206,000 citizens. Only in London, Paris and Naples lived a comparable amount of people. Therefore, again a physical expansion of the city was required. In 1700, in the surroundings of the existing canal belt a working-class neighborhood called De Jordaan was realized in western direction. 1.3 MODERN HISTORY (19th -20th CENTURY) Between the very end of 18th century until the early 19th century, Amsterdam had to face an epoch of decline due to the English Maritime Wars and the French invasion by Napoleon I. During this period Amsterdam experienced an economic recession, reflected by the stagnation of the demographic development. In 1810 the population declined to 180,000 inhabitants. After these few decades, though, a period of expansion for the city of Amsterdam occurred. Thanks to the positive effects that industrialization and the development of colonial commerce had on the Netherlands, new trading relations and routes were realized and new types of industries were created. As a result the population doubled from around 250.000 inhabitants in 1850 to 510.000 in 1900. Especially from 1870, the Industrial Revolution started to influence the city. In 1839 the first railway-line of the Netherlands was realized from
  • 3. Amsterdam to Haarlem. These reasons clearly led to a physical expansion of the city. In fact, in 1874 a law allowing districts to be built outside the confinement was approved. In addition, order to take benefits from these expansions, the city had to provide a modern harbor. Therefore, in 1875 the Noordzeekanaal canal was built, which functioned as a direct connection between the harbors of the capital and the sluices of IJmuiden, a passage towards the North Sea. Since the migration from the countryside to the city, was considerable, the expansion of the city was critical and the implementation plans were not sufficient anymore. A masterplan for Amsterdam was needed, resulting in the 19th century belt created by Jan Kalf in 1875. Kalf proposed a ring of development around the cluster following, as street layout, the irrigation grid of the pre-existing rural plot subdivision. Furthermore the plan abandoned the radiocentric form, extending orthogonally in two directions. It only concerned the street layout, leaving to private real estate developers the possibility to manage by themselves the building construction. The 1910’s expansion of the harbor was the starting point of a new plan: the municipality decided to provide new neighborhoods and houses for the needier classes. The housing construction problem was carried out in a totally different way compared to the previous plan, and the new blocks were meant to clearly define the urban structure, with the creation of a square and location of public facilities and businesses. Big typological innovation were embodied, for example the facade design played an important role as filter between external and indoor spaces, with a special monumental approach for the ones facing the square. It’s worth of consideration that the Amsterdam Zuid plan of 1921 greatly follows these principles and implementation methods. Due to the 1875 project by Kalf, playing on an orthogonal system based on two directions, with the new expansion plan a geometrical problem came up: the junction of two direction axes, which was easily solved with the monumental construction of the Rijksmuseum, and the connection of this shape to a new development pattern. The plan by Berlage, approved in 1917, intentionally ignored the grid created by Kalf’s plan, creating a self-standing urban structure reminding to the canal order of the old city, surrounded by the Amstelkanaal. Because of the population growth a new plan was required to be comprehensive with the whole municipal territory and with a fifty years contemplation. The new Algemeen Uitbreidingsplan (master plan) was prepared in 1928, thanks also to the Amsterdam Olympic Games of the same year which helped the relaunch of construction activity, starting to organize the new expansion according to the principle of separated functions and in continuity with the existing city, in order to realize 10000 new housing units. The settlement was fan- shaped, going from west to east and preventing the fusion of the new neighborhoods by using some green areas to divide them. This way the old city became the core of this cluster of four different patterns: Amsterdam West - the garden city built by D. Greiner - Amsterdam Zuid, Amsterdam Oost - the area of Bos en Lommer, which main axis Hoofdweg- Mercatorplein was built in 1925 - and Amsterdam Noord - with the garden cities of Buiksloterham and Nieuwendammerham. All this cluster is enclosed by four main elements: the Amstel and the Vondelpark in the southern part, the IJ and the harbor in the northern part. Amsterdam’s economy flourished up until the 1920s. During the two following decades, the city suffered from the global economic recession. By 1930 the population of Amsterdam is nearly 757,000, there were efforts to build more houses to accommodate the fast-growing population. Unfortunately, the 1929 worldwide crisis caused a halt of the construction activity, some new projects were launched starting from 1933. During World War II, Amsterdam was home for many Jewish families escaping from other Dutch cities which had been strongly influenced by the anti-Jewish policy adopted by the Nazis. Unfortunately, German troops occupied the city in 1940, and more than 100,000 Jews were deported, almost completely wiping out the Jewish community. After the end of the war, Jews who returned from the concentration camps were faced with neglect and sometimes outright hostility: possessions and buildings were given back with a really slow pace, mostly around 1950, while other forms of compensation and restitution only came much later in time.
  • 4. As we have already seen, Amsterdam has always been dominated by a left-winged government, with the PvdA as the biggest party. The political wing of the Provos won a seat on the city council of Amsterdam, and developed the "White Plans". Generally the plans sought to address social problems and make Amsterdam more livable. 1.4 THE CONTEMPORARY AGE One of the relevant results of Amsterdam major urban expansion in the 1960s is Bijlmer neighborhood. The original project looked very impressive, with a series of identical high-rise buildings organized in a hexagonal grid. The project was meant to attract a large number of suburban population and the buildings had different characteristics in respect to the traditional dutch ones. On the other hand the different functions were seen as separate activities and for this reason the new area was seen ad bland and unattractive. Since few middle- class people wanted to live there, the original plan was not totally realized. From the 60’s many guest workers, mainly from Turkey, immigrated to Amsterdam and settled mainly in the Bijlmer and, after Surinam obtained independence in 1975, a relevant flux of Surinamese immigrants followed. The first connection by subway was created in 1977, especially connecting the new suburb of Bijlmer and the center of Amsterdam. More recently the city developed IJburg, an interesting project built on six artificial islands on the IJmeer, located on the east side of the municipality. Nowadays the capital counts 790.044 inhabitants, with a percentage of 50,5% foreign citizens, compared to 20,6% of the total amount in the Netherlands. Amsterdam is the city that hosts the most different nationalities in the world, namely 177. We will analyze the demographic situation of the city in depth in the next chapter. Nowadays, Amsterdam is the financial and business capital of the Netherlands and it is also one of the reference points of International Business in Europe. Schiphol Airport, located south-west of Amsterdam, is an important element for both economical and infrastructural reasons. This is one of the biggest and most important airports in Europe. namely on the fifth position regarding the flow of passengers and on the third regarding cargo, a really important element in the Dutch logistics, the transportation of goods, which drives the Dutch economy. The Port of Amsterdam, located in Westpoort, has the same function of transporting goods, though it can't compete with the capacity of the main harbor of the Netherlands, namely Rotterdam, which is the biggest and most important in Europe, together with the harbors of Antwerp (Belgium) and Hamburg (Germany). Nonetheless, also many tourists during the year come to visit Amsterdam with cruise-ships using the Amsterdam Passenger Terminal on the IJ-river, located close to the central station. Amsterdam is building new projects in order to expand the capacity of the infrastructures such as the Weststrandweg, a second Coentunnel, the Gaasperdammerweg and the enlargement of the A10-Zuid. In 2002 they started the construction of a new, fully underground subway-line, which will be ready in 2017: the Noord/Zuidlijn, connecting the northern and southern part of the city. After completing the project in 2017 they expect 200.000 users a day, which makes it the most important infrastructural element of the city by far. Especially the connection with the business-district, the Zuidas, is of great importance. In fact, as we will mention in the last chapter, the Zuidas has recently become the main financial and legal hub. 1.5 SYSTEM We can investigate this kind of organization studying more in depth the Dutch Model, an interesting planning system in the european reality. In the Netherlands there are three layers of government, namely on national, provincial and municipal level. Each level has independent legislative and administrative powers under the overall supervision of the central state and, therefore, can be described as a decentralized unitary state. Each level has its roles set out in the constitution and all levels are involved regarding implementing plans, while formulating their own regulation plans they are not allowed to be in conflict with a higher level. Provinces have elected governments and their role can be described as one of intermediary and coordinator. Therefore they play an important role in economical and physical planning and environmental matters within their region. The responsibilities of municipalities are characterized by autonomy of action within their own areas. We already mentioned their responsibilities and autonomies, and the supervision of the allowed budget which needs approval of the provinces.
  • 5. The Dutch system is described as a comprehensive and strong one, in which the absence of flexibility is an important point of discussion. Therefore, Amsterdam (just like Rotterdam), uses a special system. For example, Amsterdam owns 75% of its territory, and, therefore, has the possibility to acquire its land, service it and sell or lease it to private developers. This condition affects the relationship between the state and the private developers. 1.6 BUILDING CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES AND LAND CONDITIONS AFFECTING CITY PLANNING Typical Dutch technical constraints in city planning have given a particular aspect to land problems in Amsterdam. The land problem is created by the fact that Amsterdam is situated below the sea level, so the proper existence of land, before buildings, depends on a technical intervention. By means of drainage, polders and finally dykes (dams), land can be obtained. Obtained land was first cultivated and only in the period that we are talking about used also for construction: dykes need to be watched over for at least five years before the construction of buildings and then checked by the municipality periodically to guarantee the safety. This means that decisions on building construction are taken out of private hands. Difficulties encountered in making land usable encouraged the concentration of buildings, because their concentration guaranteed stability. In Amsterdam, due to this kind of interventions, the canals create a very clear urban structure, allowing an economical and logical distribution of the space. Map showing the expansion of the city (13th-20th century)
  • 6. 2. AMSTERDAM POPULATION 2.1 INTRODUCTION The Netherlands is the most dense country in the world with 477 inhabitants per square kilometers of land. The capital Amsterdam is the city with the highest number of inhabitants, namely 790,044, with a density rate of 4,791 per square kilometers. The density of dwellings in Amsterdam is 2,401 per square kilometer with an average of two inhabitants per dwelling. Amsterdam is the city with the highest amount of different nationalities in the world, namely 177. 50,3% of the people living in Amsterdam don’t have a Dutch origin. 2.2 MIGRATION OF AMSTERDAM In Amsterdam we analyzed several phenomena of migration. In the 80's there was a particular migration of inhabitants of Amsterdam towards new cities nearby, such as Almere and Purmerend. During those years these cities were subjected to transformations according to a governmental urban plan. This plan promoted suburbanization and realized new developments in the so called "groeikernen" (cores of growth). Therefore, young professionals and artists moved into neighborhoods such as de Pijp and the Jordaan, which were ‘abandoned’ by these Amsterdam natives. Regarding the migration of inhabitants with Dutch origins in relation with other municipalities in the Netherlands, there’s a flux going outwards which stayed more or less equal since 1996. Around 30,000 people a year move outwards, shown in the graph on the right with the dark blue line. The immigration (light blue line) has been increasing since 2001 and is now, in 2012, exceeding the flux of people moving out of the city. While focussing on the immigration of different age categories (graph on the left), starting with 20-29 years, there were 15,000 people moving from an other municipality towards Amsterdam in 2006. This amount is more than half of the total domestic flux and two times the amount of the same people that moved out of the city. The main reasons for this flux is work and study. Regarding the age category of 30-39, the amount of people moving out is greater than the flux moving in. therefore, in this category there is a decrease in the amount of population. The main reason for emigrating is the start of a family. Because of this, we can also conclude that this is in relation with the age category of 0-9.
  • 7. In the graph shown on the right the reasons are given why Dutch natives move to Amsterdam: family migration has been the most important which can easily be connected to reasons for migration regarding work. The amount of students moving to Amsterdam has been increasing and is related to the age category of 20-29 mentioned before. People searching for asylum is the less common reason nowadays, though it has been different in the past. This phenomenon will be further analyzed in the following chapter, focussing on the three main population flows. 2.3 IMMIGRATION FLOWS OF FOREIGNERS TO AMSTERDAM The Repatriation from Indonesia After the decolonization of Indonesia, an average amount of Dutch natives and people from the second generation (Eurasians) had to leave the new Indonesian Republic to go back to their country of origin. The Dutch government had some hesitation about accepting their settlement in the Netherlands but the population tried to give to their children a high level of education in the Dutch school system, and they developed favorable economic conditions. According to this, the case was more seen as a repatriation instead of immigration, and these immigrants integrated well into the society. The Labourers from Mediterranean Countries During the 60‘s, the Dutch government signed agreements with several Mediterranean countries recruiting labourers for industry and mining sectors. Because of the disbelief the country had to migration flows, they drawn up the Buitenlandse Arbeiders of 1970, which stated that the Netherlands is not a migration country and it will never become in the future. Even when the Turkish and Moroccan families of the labourers began settling, the government kept neglecting this reality of immigration and increasingly permanent settling. Their children received an education in their own language and culture, supposed to go back to their country of origin one day, and the educational task was given to special teachers especially brought to the Netherlands from those countries. The Surinamese Immigration The population of Suriname was made of African slaves, soon melted to the Europeans who moved. The kids received Dutch education, so richest families sent them to the Netherlands to complete their education, and most of them never went back to Suriname. During WWII the flow interrupted but, thanks to the fast recovering of the Netherlands and the 1954 Statuut, it started again during the 50s, generating chain migration later on. Consequently, also lower-skilled Surinamese started to migrate. ‘Het Statuut door het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden’ of 1954 is a constitutional law regulating the Dutch West Indies' economy and stipulating that there was only one citizenship in the whole kingdom, letting the citizens travel without restrictions. The independence of Suriname and the end of the Statuut came in 1975 with the new leftwing Dutch cabinet, but a visa regulation for Surinamese emigration only came in 1980. These 5 years of gap signed a massive immigration, the “beat the ban rush” phenomenon: people wanted to migrate as quick as possible. In 1966 13,000 Surinamese lived in the Netherlands. In 1972 the immigration got a high increase and it reached 51,000. In 1975 110,000 Surinamese were living in the country and in 1980 they became 145,000. A huge migration rate compared to the total population of Suriname of 385,000 in the beginning of the 70s. A urgent housing problem emerged: a settlement program was stated and municipalities had to take in a number of Surinamese families. In Amsterdam, the Bijlmer, intended to house the Dutch working classes and remained empty because of the questionable design taste used, became an enclave of newly arrived Surinamese. High unemployment rates were soon replaced, in the second generation, with an average educational level and a integrated residential pattern, even if they still took part into the suburbanization process of Amsterdam. The return rate of the Surinamese to their mother-country had never been higher than 3%, and a big number of returnees had migrated back to the Netherlands again.
  • 8. Information about the reasons behind immigration nowadays is analyzed by the ‘immigration -and naturalization service’, called IND (Immigratie­ en Naturalisatiedienst). Though, it’s difficult to do a proper research. In order to make a rough calculation the IND analyses significant variables such as gender, age, civil class, year of settling in the Netherlands and country of birth. Especially for EU-citizens reasons of migration are often unknown. In 2009 only 20% of the motifs was known, and nowadays this percentage is still decreasing. The three main reasons are work, marriage and reuniting with the family. 2.4 DISTRIBUTION OF ETHNICITIES IN THE URBAN AREA In this paragraph we are analyzing the composition of the population by ethnic origin of each areas of Amsterdam, and their property value. Amsterdam is divided in eight main districts (map on the left). Amsterdam Districts: Amsterdam Centrum Amsterdam city center is inhabited by almost 82,000 people at is one of the most dense areas of the city. Among all districts, it has one of the highest number of dwellings (47,030 ). In this district 63 % of the inhabitants are autochthonous. The city center is the district with most western foreigners (23%). The value of houses is one of the highest, after Oud-Zuid. On average, houses in Centrum have only 2.5 rooms which is the lowest number of all districts. Amsterdam West This area is composed by 3 main neighborhoods: Oud-West, De Baarsjes and Bos en Lommer. The Oud-West is a district that was largely built before the WWII nearby the the city centre. Over 31,000 people live in this district. Among these, over 60% are autochthonous, 19% are western expats or foreigners. The average number of rooms in Oud-West is quite low (2.8). De Baarsjes is situated just within de center ring road on the west of the city. There are 34,000 inhabitants, many foreigners, half of them are non-western foreigners, especially form Suriname, and 14 % are western foreigners. De Baarsjes contains almost 19,000 houses of in average 3 rooms. The value of property is in line with Amsterdam’s average. Bos en Lommer is situated on the west side of the city just inside the center ring road. Over 30,000 people live in this district. Only 7 % of them are over 65 years of age. Also here the percentage of foreigners is quite high: 56% are non- western foreigners while 10% are western foreigners. With a little under 15,000 homes, Bos en Lommer has least homes of all Amsterdam districts (after Westpoort). It is also one of the district where homes are valued lower. Amsterdam Nieuw West The main districts of this area are Geuzenenveld-Slotermeer, Slotervaart and Osdorp. Geuzenenveld-Slotermeer is situated just outside the center ring road in the west of the city. More than 41,000 inhabitants live in this district.The percentage of foreigners in Geuzenenveld-Slotermeer is 65%, but only 9% of all inhabitants are western foreigners. According to the average, property value in Geuzenveld-Slotermeer is considerably low. Slotervaart has 45,000 inhabitants. Most of them are under 50 years of age. 50% are social rent houses, while 26.2% of all housing are owner-occupied property. With this percentage Slotervaart is the district with most owner- occupied houses after Osdorp, and the property value s lower that Amsterdam average. Osdorp district is quite far from the city center, differently from the previous two. Over 45,000 inhabitants live in Osdorp.16% of them is over 65 years of age which is a quite high percentage compared to other Amsterdam
  • 9. districts. Half of the inhabitants are Dutch and 10% are expats or western foreigners. Osdorp is the district with the highest percentage owner- occupied houses (32%), the property value is in line with the average one. Amsterdam Zuid Zuid is situated south of the city centre. This district has over 83,000 inhabitants. Over 60% of them are Dutch people while 20% are western foreigners, which is fairly high. Furthermore, people of 25 to 39 years old are slightly more represented than other age ranges, only 10% of the inhabitants is older than 65 years of age. Zuid is the area that has the highest number of dwellings, almost 48,000. The value of the houses is the highest in all Amsterdam district. Amsterdam Oost The main districts of Amsterdam Oost are Oost- Watergraafsmeer, ZuiderAmstel and Zeeburg. Oost-Watergraafsmeer is situated south-east of the city center within the center ring road. Almost 59,000 inhabitants live in here, 45% of them are foreigners, many of them are western foreigners and expats.Almost 30,000 houses are located in Oost- Watergraafsmeer, 18.2% of them are owner-occupied houses and their value is higher than the average. Zuider-Amstel is a district situated on the south border of Amsterdam. There are 47,000 inhabitants, 40 % of them is above 50 years of age and 21 % is over 65 years of age, which is the highest percentage of inhabitants over 65. There is also a large number of expats or western foreigners. Inhabitants are spread over 28,000 households. Most of the households are single person households (almost 58%). 23.4 % of all houses in ZuiderAmstel is owner- occupied and the average value is one of the highest. ZuiderAmstel is a popular district because of its good location and the nice property. Zeeburg is partially built in the IJ river and it’s is a quite new and attractive district. Almost 44,000 inhabitants live in Zeeburg, spread in 20,000 houses. Only 6% are people over 65 years of age, which is the lowest percentage in Amsterdam. Approximately 40 % are nonwestern foreigners. 12 % are western foreigners. Zeeburg is still expanding at a quick pace: in 10 years from now the estimated number of inhabitants will be 90,000. Amsterdam Zuidoost Zuidoost is separated from Amsterdam's other districts by two villages, Ouder-Amstel and Diemen. It counts about 79,000 inhabitants spread over three area's. Most of them live in Bijlmer (58%) followed by Gaasperdam (40%) and Driemond (2%). The inhabitants are usually quite young. Zuidoost is also known because of the large amount of national backgrounds. There are about 130 different national backgrounds and the most representative one is Surinam. Western foreigners constitute only 8 % of the inhabitants. The houses in this district are about 38,000 homes. There is a variety of buildings: a lot of cheap homes can be found, as well as luxurious apartments and blocks of flats. Amsterdam Noord District Noord is separated from other Amsterdam districts by 'het IJ ', a large river just behind Central Station. With almost 88,000 inhabitants, Noord is the most populated. The lowest percentage of western foreigners live in Noord (9%). Almost 40,000 houses are located in here, 18.3% of them are owner-occupied. Amsterdam Westpoort Westpoort is an expanding harbour and industrial area, there are about 1500 companies. This district is under control by the municipality. About 40,000 people work in Westpoort but only 100 homes are situated here. As a consequence they are the largest of the city with 4.2 rooms. Only 9% of them is private property. They are occupied for 70 % by autochthonous, 21% are western foreigners, which is the highest percentage of western foreigners in the city.
  • 10. Distribution of ethnicities over the years The following maps are showing the concentration of foreigners settled in Amsterdam respectively in 1970, 1990, 2000 and 2012 divided by neighborhoods. It is possible to notice an increasing of immigration flows during the years. In particular immigrants settled in some areas, where land prices were cheaper and where it was possible to find more job opportunities. The areas with the highest percentage of immigrants are the south-western one, where the main industries are located and the very south-east part, especially Bijlmer, where low price housing was created; because these new buildings were not accepted by the municipality social housing was created there and it was possible for immigrants to afford buying apartments in that area. In recent years they also started to settle in the Northern area, where cheap housing from the 60s were located. In the maps: the darker means higher concentration of foreign ethnicities. Property values and attractiveness of residential areas
  • 11. As a consequence to the maps shown before, the map about the attractiveness of the different neighborhoods shown below, clearly shows the relationship with immigration: the lighter colored areas indicate the less degree of attractiveness, and they are strictly correlated to the areas in which different ethnicities are more concentrated. The whole neighborhood of Bijlmer, the industrial South-West part and the North-West axis present a very low attractiveness. It is also possible to notice the influence that this factor has on the income of population l i v i n g i n t h o s e s p e c i fi c neighborhoods (map on the bottom of the page). Minimum income households per neighbourhood, compared to the municipal average (17,9%) and related attractiveness of residential areas. Characteristics of the residential environment explaining the land value situation.
  • 12. 3. ZUIDAS AMSTERDAM: A PROJECT OF URBAN TRANSFORMATION The Zuidas project, which developed on the south axis of Amsterdam (from which takes its name), has to be considered the biggest and one of the most important and complex contemporary urban developments in the Netherlands. The Zuidas is located in a strategic position, which is a crucial point for its development: it is next to Amsterdam’s southern ring road and close to the international airport. For this reason the area is sometimes referred to as Amsterdam’s ‘golden mile’, that is the country’s prime office location. Before the development of the project the area was a sort of transitional zone between two parts of the city (Zuid, built according to a plan of the architect Berlage between 1920 and 1950, and Buitenveldert, a plan by urbanist van Eesteren, built in the fifties and sixties). The space between these two city was 'reserved' by several plans that were made since Berlage's time for the infrastructure and a railway station. A first Master Plan for this area was approved in 1998, after ABN AMRO's decided to build its new headquarters there. The plan’s aim was to achieve a balance among living and working activities. In 2000, the first Zuidas Vision Document was drawn up. This document describe the development of the area from a starting location for international business into a defined urban hub with a variety of functions and a high quality degree of livability. This plan had to be reviewed quite often, due to dynamic nature of developments in Zuidas. The project we are referring takes into consideration the the final Zuidas Vision Document that was drawn up in 2009 and approved by Amsterdam City Council on 9 September that year. During the past few decades, a large number of new infrastructural investments in roads and railways have resulted important not only for the accessibility to the area itself, but also for the whole infrastructural network of the city. Nowadays the Zuidas is still a project under development. The project’s initiators always refer to flexibility as a crucial strategy for development, which seems especially necessary for a project with a building period of about thirty years. The Zuidas cannot be explained according to the traditional definition of a spatially
  • 13. contained and defined in time transformation, it is instead a loose framework of various smaller projects and a continuous transformation. 3.1 INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT Zuidas location and the vision document As we previously mentioned, the neighborhood of Zuidas has a strategic location. It is close to the city centre, has an easy connection to the, Schiphol Airport and the east of the Netherlands. The accessibility from the city and also form other part of the Netherlands is achieved by the great A10 motorway. For this reason, the problem of congestion of major roads and public transportation is significant. In order to find an appropriate solution for this problem, a number of infrastructural projects are currently being carried out, while others are in the preparatory stage. The vision document and the dock The Vision Document for Zuidas, presented firstly in 2000, than in 2009 and approved in 2011, among a number of strategic objectives, is extensively focused on infrastructural development. The ambitions of the Vision Document are, among the achievement of a sustainable and leavable environment, the create and efficient but also responsible network, enhancing district accessibility but avoiding the creation of barriers. The development of Zuidas networks are various and the aim is to develop the connection not only at local and regional scale, but also at a larger scale. Zuidas is in fact a large and rapidly developing business district, also known as the 'Financial Mile'. The idea is to provide a suitable net of infrastructure for Zuidas international setting. At a local scale, there will be an improvement of the tram line, the local metro, the cycle network and pedestrian paths. The main investment of the transformation of the neighborhood is the “Dok” project, which is an underground tunnel bundling of road and rail infrastructure. the purpose of this project is the removal of physical barriers between Zuidas and other part of Amsterdam, the decrease of environmental pollution and traffic noise and the increase of space for traffic. The image is part of the Vision Document for Zuidas and represents the alternative of the Dok system for the junction of the main roads in Zuidas
  • 14. The north/south metro line Another important project that is undergoing in Amsterdam and interests the area of Zuidas is the North/south metro line. form 2017, this will run 9.7 kilometres from Buikslotermeer, in the north of Amsterdam, to Zuidas, in the south. This neighborhood will host two stations on this metro line: Europaplein and Amsterdam Zuid. The line will emerge above ground in the central reservation of the A10 orbital motorway between Europaplein station and Amsterdam Zuid station. Zuid/WTC station Nevertheless our aim is to focus on those project that will have implications in the international sphere. From this point of view the improvement of the Station Zuid certainly significant. The station will be in the central core of Zuidas, serving the district and the entire city, and will become the second main station of Amsterdam and it is expected to be 5th busiest passenger station in the Netherlands, with a forecast of 75000 passengers per day. It will be the junction node of various public transport modalities. Most transfers will be between metro and train while at the adjacent urban street there will be bus stops, tram stops, taxi rank and the car rank. Thank to the improvement of the Zuid/WTC Station, a number of international connections will be possible. The idea is to make this station the reference point for international movements. First of all, the connection to the Schiphol Airport, which is currently allowed by a railway line that takes around 8 minutes, will be improved by a faster and direct metro line form the station. Schiphol is Europe’s fourth busiest airport. In addition, some connection of European scale will depart and arrive from Zuid/WTC Station. These are the high-speed (HSL) services to Brussels and Paris, and the German high speed network, the ICE to Cologne and Berlin, via Utrecht and Arnhem. These projects are not finished so there is no feedback of the population regarding the quality of the improvement this infrastructural layer in the neighborhood. On the other hand it is possible to see that these plans are coherent with the overall economical and social development of Zuidas, the 'Financial Mile'. The idea is also to enhance the role of Zuidas in the city of Amsterdam and on an international framework. This map represents the improvement of tram and metro network in Zuidas compared to the existing situation.
  • 15. 3.2 ECONOMICAL DEVELOPMENT Zuidas is divided into three main subareas. The first, and most important one is the heart of the district, where have place the World Trade Centre, ABN AMRO headquarters. The other two clusters are located at the eastern and western edge of the district. The eastern one, “Vivaldi”, lies next to the railway station RAI. Its buildings are older than the new development of the district, except the new Ernst & Young’s headquarters by Norman Foster. The western subarea contains newest buildings such as the Amsterdam law court and the ING House, and all the buildings are aligned in a virtual north/south axis. The architectural typology in Zuidas is strongly contemporary and realized in an impressively large scale. Most of the office buildings of the district were recently built: 35% of the buildings has been built after 2000. Its excellent accessibility with all kinds of transport and the closeness to Schiphol airport invited many companies to locate their headquarters and offices in the area, especially from financial and business services sectors. The companies which decide to create offices in Zuidas trade the highest rent rates of the Netherlands for top quality accommodation. Furthermore, Zuidas includes more than 500 apartments, many shops, restaurants, hotels and cafes. The success of the district was mainly given by its primary meaning as an extension of the traditional office district, Oud Zuid. The most important offices located in the district found a new settling place in Zuidas, with wider spaces and modern properties that they were missing in the old locations. As a side effect, Zuidas started to attract also head offices and national branches of international companies, for a total of 600 companies, half of which have a global coverage. Companies from Japan, India, America (Google and Accenture among the others), Russia have offices in the district. The inflow of tenants has been constantly high: the long-term (in 10 years) average of 45,000 sqm per year of taken offices. Despite the 2008 economical crisis, from 2008 onwards, 125,000 sqm of new office space has been sold, with the same rate of vacancy of the previous years. This situation, especially due to the difficult office market condition, was in countertrend with the rest of the country. Sectors mostly present in the area In terms of branches, the sector of financial and business services takes up more than half of the number of companies situated in the district. Law firms play a significant role as well in Zuidas, especially about the size in square meters they occupy, and the most important firms of the country. The public sector only occupies the 3% of the office users in Zuidas, denoting that the business network binds the district. Furthermore, companies rather relocate within the district of Zuidas instead of moving away to a new office location. The movement of companies from the old business centre to the new Zuidas will steadily decline because most of the large-scale companies already made the step to Zuidas and now the users’ profiles of both districts are diverging. Ownerships Only five out of the 55 buildings of Zuidas are owned by the companies which have offices there, 24 of them are owned by institutional parties or companies which target institutional money and all the remaining ones are owned by private investors who rent the offices to company users. Most private investors are from domestic origin, but also German investors get a large share, and then US and French investors come third and fourth. Many buildings in Zuidas are multi-tenant facilities, because they offer a lower vacancy risk. Anyhow transactions in the district do not happen often: since 2008 only eight buildings changed their ownership. The lease market The leasing market in Zuidas is very active. In 2009 a total of 210,000 sqm was involved in transactions, 55% of which newly occupied and 45% concerning lease renewals. 70% of these relating to less than 2,500 sqm office spaces and 20% of share calculated for more than 5,000 sqm transactions. The 30% of these contracts were signed at WTC, since the amount of transactional square meters exceeds 34,000, and they were mostly concerning leases’ renewals, while all the other offices dealt mostly with new transactions. Leasing prices significantly vary in Zuidas, from 160€ per sqm a year for the oldest office building in Vivaldi, to 380€ per sqm a year for some of the best offices in WTC. The average rent in 2009 was 301€ per sqm a year. This gap can be easily synthesized with the closeness to the transportation hub.
  • 16. Incentives are really important in the rent’s prices since the average granted incentive for 2009 in Zuidas is 17%, considering both renewals and new transactions, and they make difficult to calculate the actual rent of a building. In the Vivaldi area incentives exceed 30% of the contract’s worth, while the new lease contracts in the central area have usually 20%. New development projects Since the 2008’s crisis no new building projects were started so, at the moment, only residential schemes are planned to be realized in the next four years, in order to make vacancy fall very rapidly. The current vacancy at Zuidas stands at 11%: only 3 mid-size buildings of more than 20 years old are empty, and need renovation. Looking at 2018, 10 years after the 2008 crisis, where no 10 years-long leasings were stipulated, the decreasing availability may become a major problem. The municipality of Amsterdam still contemplates the creation of a dock area over the A10 motorway. This concept would bring all public transport and the A10 motorway underground, and office buildings on top of them. Perhaps, in the further future, these ambitious plans can be carried out and will create even higher economical strength in Zuidas. 3.3 ACTORS INVOLVED IN THE TRANSFORMATION The development of the Zuidas started in the early 1990s. The municipality drafted a plan for the southern area of the city. The project had to be carried on with the financial participation by the central government and a large role in providing infrastructural network for the private sector. In total 60% of the costs will be paid by the privates who in return would receive development rights in the new area. At the beginning only a few pioneering private investors were interested in exploiting investment opportunities in the new area, but later the ambition to realize an international and competitive economic center were supported by stronger national actors. At the same time the municipality of Amsterdam strongly focused on the economic and urban aspects of the Zuidas, preferring Dok models. The ministry of transport also played a relevant role in the project, considering the projects as an opportunity to expand the capacity of roads and railways. On the other hand the ministry of spatial planning did not strongly support the plan, especially in the first phases, because of the small subsidy available to carry on new urban projects. Recently other governmental agencies, such as the ministry of economic affairs, the ministry of finance and the provincial government started to get involved, underlining the importance of the Zuidas for the national economy. The project did not provoke much opposition and, although a number of public meeting to discuss the plan and its mixed-use conception were organized, it did not attract much attention of the civil and social groups. 3.4 DECISION-MAKING SIGNIFICANT ELEMENTS The historical economical center of Amsterdam, the canal belt, grew in the end of the 80’s outside its boundaries, so the municipality had to choose a new area where new economical developments had to take place. Amsterdam decided, taking other European harbour cities as an example, to use the IJ-bank as the new economical center. The location seemed to be perfect. It was close to the central station and the city center. Though, the municipality didn’t take the opinion of important actors in consideration. Quite soon it became clear that the investors weren’t convinced about the location because of infrastructural problems, building height regulations and the existing buildings which were present and expensive to re-use. Therefore, big companies clearly preferred an empty plot to built their new headquarters upon. After the fusion between ABN and AMRO, a new headquarter was required. The company choose the plot in the Zuidas where they wanted to built it, avoiding the inevitable opposition of the community if they built high- rise buildings in the core of the city. The municipality had to agree with the terms of condition of the ABN- AMRO, because they were afraid of fact that the company would choose an other city to go to. Amsterdam learnt from the mistakes made in the IJ-bank project. Regarding the Zuidas the municipality works together more intensively with important private actors and is often forced to do so. Therefore, the municipality became, instead of a leading institute, a party that had to follow and agree with the wishes of multinationals.
  • 17. 3.5 POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO THE CRITICAL ISSUES According to Stan Majoor (assistant professor at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences of the University of Amsterdam, research center AISSR (Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research) and member of the research group: Planning, Institutions and Transforming Spaces), this increasing cooperation between the municipality and investors is a positive change. Though he underlines that it’s important for private actors to stimulate the improvement of the livelihood within the area, a problem which could be solved using a higher degree of participation of decision making by the population. The goal of the Zuidas is not only creating a concentrated district defined by multinationals located in skyscrapers, but it also has to become a new important residential area. This is why improving the livelihood in the Zuidas becomes a significant element in succeeding for the project. Though, realizing this goal seems difficult. Companies and developers agree with improving the livelihood, but if actions need to be made, none of them wants to get involved. For example, all actors are in favor of having nice lunchrooms in the surroundings, but none of them are willing to make the ground floor of their buildings available for these purposes. An other situation to explain this issue is that, with the presence of wanted small creative shops, the attractiveness will increase. Though, again, companies aren’t willing to rent the needed spaces for a lower price. Stan Majoor has a solution for this problem, saying that Amsterdam could play an important role in these developments. He notes that the municipality should stimulate companies to work on increasing the livelihood, for example with the use of bonuses and compromises.
  • 18. SOURCES: 01)  http://www.europe-cities.com 02)  http://www.iamsterdam.com/ 03)  http://www.amsterdam.nl/ 04)  http://stadsarchief.amsterdam.nl/english/amsterdam_treasures/planning/index.en.html 05)  http://www.holland.com/global/Tourism/Cities-in-Holland/Amsterdam.htm 06)  The Form of the Metropolitan Territory: the case of Amsterdam and its periphery , Gerhard Bruyns & Stephen Read. Published in The Architecture Annual: Delft University of Technology, 010 Publishers, Rotterdam, 2007. 07)  Chapter 3: the extension of amsterdam: 1913-1934, Urban Forms: The Death And Life of the Urban Block, Philippe Panerai, Jean Castex & Charles Depaule, Architectural Press, 2004 08)  http://dekei.home.xs4all.nl/amsterdame.html 09)  http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1349 10) http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/21883/Amsterdam 11) http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/ 12) P.Gabellini, Tecniche urbanistiche, Roma, CAROCCI, 2001 13) P.Sica, Storia dell’urbanistica, II Novecento, Vol 1, Bari, La Terza, 1977 14) G.Astengo, La lezione urbanistica di Amsterdam, Urbanistica n 2, 1949. 15) Minorities Policy in the city of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam districts; Rick Wolff; presented at the Multicultural Policies and Modes of Citizenship (MPMC), workshop in Liege, Belgium, 1999. 16) Imagining Global Amsterdam: History, Culture, and Geography in a World City, Edited by Marco de Waard, Amsterdam University Press 17) Ethnic Amsterdam: Immigrants and Urban Change in the Twentieth Century, Edited by Liza Nell & Jan Rath, Amsterdam University Press 18) City Template Amsterdam; Karen Kraal and Aslan Zorlu. 19) Migration of the four largest cities in the Netherlands; Mila van Huis, Han Nicolaas and Michel Croes. 20) Ethnic Amsterdam: Immigrants and Urban Change in the Twentieth Century; Liza Nell and Jan Rath. 21) IMI Working Papers Series 2011, N. 47 22) Gemeente Amsterdam, 2011 yearbook. 23) http://amsterdam.feiten.info 24) http://www.cbs.nl 25) De Staat van de Stad VI Amsterdam, Bevolking, woningmarkt en woonmilie
  • 19. 26) Large scale urban projects: Amsterdam, plan Zuidas, Austrian Academy of Sciences, institute for urban research. 27) Disconnected innovations : new urbanity in large-scale development projects: Zuidas Amsterdam, Ørestad Copenhagen and Forum Barcelona, author S.J.H. Majoor 28) Information design for public decision-making: the case of masterplan for the south axes in Amsterdam, Ir. Alexandra Tisma, Faculty of Architecture, TU Delft 29) Zuidas Amsterdam, an insider’s view, CBRE research & consultancy, October 2011 30) Zuidas rapportage eerste half jaar 2012, Gemeente Amsterdam Dienst Zuidas, 2012 31) Zorgen over de Zuidas, Jan-Willem Wesselink 32) Zuidas, Irene Janze, Buro Janze, 2 December 2008