Amsterdam, a model of city planningDocument Transcript
URBAN SOCIOLOGY COSTANZO RANCI, CAROLINA PACCHI, MARA POPOLIZIO A.Y. 2012/13EXERCISE 1:AMSTERDAM, A MODEL OF CITY PLANNING STUDENTS: Celeste Calzolari 779725 Mathieu Gorris 784647 Silvia Sanasi 778497 Sara Sciuccati 778099
AMSTERDAM, A MODEL OF CITY PLANNINGAmsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands and is located in the province of Noord-Holland, on the south bank ofthe river IJ where it found its origin in the 13th century. Most of the city’s territory is below sea level and therefore itlies on land that has been reclaimed from the water.THE GOLDEN AGE - 17TH CENTURYThe Golden Age, in the 17th century, was of unprecedented prosperity for Amsterdam, therefore this epoch wascrucial for the city’s development in the future and it is explanatory for the limited impact that Industrial Revolutionhad in the Netherlands. Furthermore, since the 17th century a tradition of freedom and tolerance has beenpresent, thanks to the settlement of the leftwing government, which will rule on Amsterdam for the rest of itshistory: catholics, protestants, jews and ‘free-thinkers’ could live together in a coherent way and could stay true totheir 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 increaseof the population in Amsterdam was impressive. Though, there wasn’t only an immigration towards the capitalbecause of economical reasons but also because of social reasons. Already in the beginning of the existence ofAmsterdam, the city was characterized by a mixture of different people and especially in this period acquired adistinctly cosmopolitan character: protestants from France, Flanders (north of Belgium), Brabant (south of theNetherlands) and many jews moved towards the capital in search of tolerance and freedom of religion.The city, that around 1570 counted less than 30.000 inhabitants, in 1620 reached 100,000 inhabitants. Thereforethe city developed rapidly and underwent a signiﬁcant urban expansion, namely the construction of the ﬁrst canalbelt in 1613. The canals functioned as a fortiﬁcation and a wall was built behind them, where nowadaysNassaukade and Stadhouderskade are now located. Three large canals were dug in western direction:Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht. They were connected to one another by transverse canals andstreets leading to important nodes in the city centre. By means of the plan by the municipal engineer Jacob Boschin 1662, the houses and ofﬁces of well-to-do merchants were built along the main canals, planned to be elegantand wealthy, discouraging polluting businesses to be developed.In 1648, the architect Jacob van Campen designed the grand Golden Age city hall, which will become later theRoyal Palace of the Dutch royal family, located in Dam square, the main square of the city.In 1675 the estimated population of Amsterdam reached 206,000 citizens. Only in London, Paris and Naples liveda comparable amount of people. Therefore, again a physical expansion of the city was required. In 1700, in thesurroundings of the existing canal belt a working-class neighborhood called De Jordaan was realized in westerndirection.THE DECLINE OF THE 19TH CENTURYBetween the very end of 18th century until the early 19th century, Amsterdam had to face an epoch of decline.Two facts led to this situation: the English Maritime Wars and the French blockade by Napoleon I. The ﬁrst werefought mainly at sea, with a detrimental effect on trade. In 1773, the French declared war on the Dutch Republicand entered in the Netherlands. The occupation of Amsterdam occurred in 1806: Louis Bonaparte, Napoleon’sbrother, became King of Holland and transformed the city hall into a Royal Palace, which it still is today. As aresult, the stock and shares of the VOC decreased. During this period Amsterdam experienced an economicrecession, reﬂected by the stagnation of the demographic development. In 1810 the population declined to180,000 inhabitants. In 1810 the occupation by the French ended and the house of Orange took back the powerin 1813, ofﬁcially turning the country into monarchy.MODERN HISTORY (19TH-20TH CENTURY)From this day on, a period of expansion for the city of Amsterdam occurred. In order to take beneﬁts from theseexpansions, the city had to provide a modern harbor, inaccessible by the sandbanks of the Zuiderzee, so in 1825they built a canal, the Noordhollandsch Kanaal but, because of a too small width, it had not the expected effects.In order to ﬁx the problem they built a second canal, the Noordzeekanaal, executed from 1865 to 1875. Since1876 the Noordzeekanaal functions as a direct connection between the harbors of the capital and the sluices ofIJmuiden, a passage towards the North Sea. With its east-west direction, it was enlarged many times during theyears and it reached the length of 24 km, the width of 235 meters and the depth of 15 meters and can beconsidered to mark the starting point of the city’s modernization, making the harbor one of the majors of Europe.Thanks to the positive effects that industrialization and the development of colonial commerce had on theNetherlands, new trading relations and routes were realized and new types of industries were created. As a resultthe population doubled from around 250.000 inhabitants in 1850 to 510.000 in 1900. Especially from 1870, theindustrial Revolution started to inﬂuence the city. In 1839 the ﬁrst railway-line of the Netherlands was realized fromAmsterdam to Haarlem. These reasons clearly led to a physical expansion of the city. In fact, in 1874 a lawallowing districts to be built outside the conﬁnement was approved.
In this period there was a considerable migration from the countryside to the city so that the several constructionprojects were implemented to face the expansion. Therefore an expansion of the city was needed again, soAmsterdam realized a plan for the city expansion, resulting in the 19th century belt created by Jan Kalf in 1875.JAN KALF’S PLAN OF 1875This had been implemented by Kalf’s plan of 1875, ﬁrst extension project since the building of three canals.Particularly, Kalf’s plan proposed a ring of development around the cluster following, as street layout, the irrigationgrid of the pre-existing rural plot subdivision. Furthermore the plan abandoned the radiocentric form, extendingorthogonally in two directions. It only concerned the street layout, leaving to private real estate developers thepossibility to manage by themselves the building construction, which acted for a really small house production (20sqm per family), phenomena called “alcove housing”. Then, because of the population growth, the densiﬁcationprocess increased until in 1868 some private companies tried to solve the situation by means of new buildings,but the amount was inadequate in relation to the extent of the problem: an intervention of the public authoritieswas strongly needed, which happened only from 1896 onwards by the construction of public housing anddecision-making policy in order to halt land speculation (following English model). By means of the 1901’s law ofhousing (the ‘Woningwet”) and its immediate implementation the government intervened through developmentplans and land expropriation in favor of social housing. In spite of these measures in 1924 there was still a lack of15,000 houses: 10% of the population continued to use the ‘cellar houses’.BUILDING CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES AND LAND CONDITIONS AFFECTING CITY PLANNINGTypical 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 ofland, 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 aboutused also for construction: dykes need to be watched over for at least ﬁve years before the construction ofbuildings 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 inmaking 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 aneconomical and logical distribution of the space. The traditional building typology used until the beginning of the20th century is also simple, with the use of local materials, bricks and wood. The famous narrow houses whichcharacterize the city have this width because they are perfectly as long as the span of a timber beam, and theyare divided one from the other by 10m long bearing walls made of mud and sand, with piled foundations. Thosekind of building are used for each kind of function, housing, retail, and so on - even small scale industry - exceptfor some public buildings which were built in stone for a monumental effect. Their stability depended on thestability of the neighbors. This kind of construction requested the municipality for several controls, and it’s themain reason why the application of the 1901 law of housing had such a easy and fast application. Furthermore,the municipality took some extra measures in order to facilitate it, as such as control of land preparation andimplementation of schemes.In 1896 Amsterdam had a strong dimension expansion: from 3250 to 4630 hectares, thanks to the annexation ofthe Nieuwer-Amstel neighborhood, which has been also vastly studied by the 1903 ﬁrst drawing board ofBerlage’s plan concerning properly the urbanization of the area. Thanks to these tools the municipality, from nowon, had the opportunity to control directly both urbanization in all its forms and housing construction.At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century the city experienced an interesting expansion concerningthe area of Spaarndaammenbuurt, triangle enclosed between the docks of the harbor and the railway line,working-class neighborhood from Kalf’s plan. The construction of the buildings was left to the revolutiebouwers(small developers who dealt with most of the social housing construction). Due to the building of the AmsterdamCentraal Station in 1881, and the extension of the harbor towards west in 1910, the northwest portion of the areawas not urbanized. With the total application of the Woningwet in 1905, the architects Michel de Klerk in a ﬁrstphase, and H.J.M Walenkamp and K.P.C. de Bazel later on, experienced a new way of making architecture withsocial housing, the one which will be used by Berlage in his plan.FURTHER IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MASTER PLANThe 1910’s expansion of the harbor was the starting point of a new plan: the municipality decided to provide newneighborhoods and houses for the needier classes.The housing construction problem was carried out in a totally different way compared to the previous plan, andthe new blocks were meant to clearly deﬁne the urban structure, with the creation of a square and location ofpublic facilities and businesses.
As a consequence, the period between 1913 and 1921 embody a big typological innovation: blocks’ corners weresolved with the creation of different shapes in order to outline the meaning of the urban spaces which they arefacing. The facade design played an important role as ﬁlter between external and indoor spaces, with a specialmonumental approach for the ones facing the square. It’s worth of consideration that the Amsterdam Zuid plan of1921 greatly follows these principles and implementation methods.THE BASIS OF THE BERLAGE PLAN AND SOUTHERN EXTENSIONDue to the 1875 project by Kalf, playing on an orthogonal system based on two directions, with the newexpansion plan a geometrical problem came up: the junction of two direction axes, which was easily solved withthe monumental construction of the Rijksmuseum, and the connection of this shape to a new developmentpattern.Here comes H. P. Berlage, considered to be the father of Dutch architecture: clean lines, honest use of materialsand houses meant to be designed as an entity. His plan of 1916 concerned a small portion enclosed in the 1896limits, approved in 1917, and an expansion towards south, carried out only in 1921.The Amstel canal represents physically the rupture between the 19th century part of the city and the new southernexpansion, called Niew Zuid. The main aim of the plan was completing the Oud Zuid in order to use it as a startingpoint for the construction of the Niew Zuid. In order to guarantee safety and the land stability, it was not allowed toleave empty and incomplete blocks.Berlage intentionally ignored the grid created by Kalf’s plan, creating a self-standing urban structure reminding tothe canal order of the old city, surrounded by the Amstelkanaal.THE NEW MASTER PLAN OF 1928 AND THE 1929 CRISISBecause of the population growth a new plan was required to be comprehensive with the whole municipal territoryand 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 constructionactivity, starting to organize the new expansion according to the principle of separated functions and in continuitywith the existing city, in order to realize 10000 new housing units. The settlement was fan-shaped, going fromwest to east and preventing the fusion of the new neighborhoods by using some green areas to divide them. Themajor expansion took place in the western part of the city, while the line dividing the old from the new was markedby the new elevated railway ring. Inside each component the infrastructures were organized as orthogonal grids,the ﬁrst providing the connections between one neighborhood and one other and the second for internal viability.The new expansions were characterized by different building typologies and technologies, going from the singledouble-decker house to the twelve stories tower, and by a large number of open spaces, mainly small parks forfree time, and a big park, which was very relevant for the urban development of the entire city.This way the old city became the core of this cluster of four different patterns: Amsterdam West - the garden citybuilt 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 andNieuwendammerham. All this cluster is enclosed by four main elements: the Amstel and the Vondelpark in thesouthern 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 theglobal economic recession. By 1930 the population of Amsterdam is nearly 757,000, there were efforts to buildmore houses to accommodate the fast-growing population.Unfortunately, the 1929 worldwide crisis caused a halt of the construction activity, some new projects werelaunched starting from 1933: the completion of the eastern sector next to Kennedylaan (1933-1939) and somemonumental parts of the western sector, such as the eastern edge of Beatrixpark but the latter was not fullycompleted until the end of the WW II. These interventions present a totally different style, because of the inﬂuenceof the functionalist architecture movement, rather realizing serial developments and systematic application ofblocks.In this period, after 1930, we can also notice a new building typology phenomena: the disintegration of the block,by means of central common gardens in the middle of the block, accessible also from the street in order to easilypark bikes in it. This brought to the total abandoning of the block, in Amsterdam and many Dutch cities, allowingmultiple storey buildings with the southern facade consisting of loggias and balconies, seen as an extension of theliving room.THE AUP (ALGEMEEN UITBREIDINGSPLAN - General Expansion Plan) OF 1934In the AUP of 1934 made by the functionalist planner Cornelis van Eesteren, he identiﬁed four main functions of acity: living, working and recreation, with trafﬁc as the linking factor. The most important aim was to make peoplelive close to their working place and provide recreational public spaces, as such as parks and sport ﬁelds, locatedin long galleries within the urban blocks, giving them great importance in the urban design.
The plan was mainly implemented after the WW II: new neighborhoods were developed in southern and westerndirections according to the original plan, namely Westelijke Tuinsteden and Buitenveldert. Also Amsterdam-Noordunderwent major expansions.Moreover, ﬁve garden suburbs were built in western direction, which are areas surrounded by open spaces:Slotermeer, Slotervaart, Overtoomse Veld, Geuzenveld and Osdorp. The new neighborhoods were built around anartiﬁcial lake, Sloterplas.THE WORLD WAR II AND THE RESTORATION AFTER 1945During World War II, Amsterdam was home for many Jewish families escaping from other Dutch cities which hadbeen strongly inﬂuenced by the anti-Jewish policy adopted by the Nazis, ﬁnding in the capital a good hidingplace. 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 or emerged from their hiding-placeswere faced with neglect and sometimes outright hostility: this attitude brought to the destruction of Jewish identityand put them in a position of disadvantage. 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, such as theﬁnal ones were made around the year 2000.As we have already seen, Amsterdam has always been dominated by a left-winged government, with the PvdA asthe biggest party. Since 1946 the mayor of Amsterdam has always been a politician of the PvdA. The politicalwing of the Provos won a seat on the city council of Amsterdam, and developed the "White Plans". Generally theplans sought to address social problems and make Amsterdam more livable.The most important one was the ‘White bicycle plan’: the plan proposed the closing of central Amsterdam to allmotorized trafﬁc, including motorbikes, with the intent to improve public transport frequency by more than 40%and to save two millions guilders per year. Taxis were accepted as semi-public transport, but would have to beelectrically powered. The Provos planned for the municipality to buy 20,000 white bikes per year, which were to bepublic property and free for everybody to use. After the plans were rejected by the city authorities, they painted 50bikes white and left them on streets for public use. Another noticeable one was the ‘White Chimney Plan’,proposing that air polluters be taxed and the chimneys of serious polluters painted white. Then the ‘White WivesPlan’: a network of clinics offering advice and contraceptives, mainly for the beneﬁt of women and girls, and withthe intention to reduce unwanted pregnancies. The ‘White Chicken Plan’, for the reorganization of the Amsterdampolice - called "kip" in Dutch slang, meaning "chicken" - : municipalities would then be able to democraticallyelect their own police, in order to to transform it from guard to social worker. And then the ‘White Housing Plan’:aiming to solve the city’s housing problems by means of banning speculation in house building, and the squattingof empty buildings, envisioning Waterlooplein as an open-air market. The ‘White Kids Plan’, proposing sharedparenting in groups of ﬁve couples. Parents would take turns to care for the groups children on a different day ofthe week. The ‘White Victim Plan’, asking anyone who caused death while driving to build a memorial on the siteof the trafﬁc collision. In the end, the ‘White Car Plan’, a car sharing project proposed by Schimmelpenninkfeaturing electric cars which could be used by the people. It was actually realized in a limited fashion as the Witkarsystem which was in use from 1974 until 1986.POST-WAR DEVELOPMENT FROM THE 60’SOne of the relevant results of Amsterdam major urban expansion in the 1960s is Bijlmer neighborhood. Theoriginal 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 differentcharacteristics in respect to the traditional dutch ones. On the other hand the different functions were seen asseparate activities and for this reason the new area was seen ad bland and unattractive. Since few middle-classpeople wanted to live there, the original plan was not totally realized. From the 60’s many guest workers, mainlyfrom Turkey, immigrated to Amsterdam and settled mainly in the Bijlmer and, after Surinam obtainedindependence in 1975, a relevant ﬂux of Surinamese immigrants followed. The ﬁrst connection by subway wascreated in 1977, especially connecting the new suburb of Bijlmer and the center of Amsterdam.In 1980 Queen Beatrix, the actual queen, has taken the head of state of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.Michael van der Vlis introduced a system in his research ‘Macht voor de wijken’ (Power for the neighborhoods) in1972, in which he aimed to give autonomy to the existing districts within the city about building codes and urbanregulation. When he became an alderman he had an important role in this important development. The areasNoord and Osdorp functioned as examples, when, after analyzing the opinion of the inhabitants in 1981, theresults were rather positive. According to the citizens the municipality worked quicker, more effective and moreefﬁcient in implementing changes within their area. Therefore, in 1987, other four municipalities were realized,namely De Pijp, Watergraafsmeer, Buitenveldert and Zuidoost. Because of the success, ten more were realized inJanuary 1990, namely Westerpark, Oud-West, Oost, Indische buurt/Oostelijk havengebied, Bijlmeer, De Baarsjes,
De Aker, Nieuw Sloten, Rivierenbuurt, Geuzenveld/Slotermeer en Slotervaart/Overtoomse Veld. After a couple offusions between different neighborhoods in 1998 and the creation of the area called Centrum in 2002, Amsterdamwas divided into fourteen different areas. More recently the city developed IJburg, an interesting project built onsix artiﬁcial islands on the IJmeer, located on the east side of the municipality.THE CONTEMPORARY AGE (FROM THE 90’S UNTIL NOW)Nowadays the capital counts 790.044 inhabitants,with a percentage of 50,5% foreign citizens,compared to 20,6% of the total amount in theNetherlands. Amsterdam is the city that hosts themost different nationalities in the world, namely177. Almost 65,000 inhabitants are from Moroccoand around 38.000 Turkish live in the capital. Over10,000 people are British, close to 6,700 areGerman and roughly 5,600 citizens have aSurinam nationality.Within the municipality of Amsterdam the city isdivided into eight different parts, namely Centrum,Noord, Oost, Zuidoost, Zuid, West, Nieuw-Westand Westpoort. In which seven of those smaller‘municipalities’ have an own controllinggovernment, only the Westpoort is governed bythe city itself. All the city areas have about100.000 inhabitants, and are therefore, the size of medium sized municipalities. Within these regions the city isagain divided into smaller neighborhoods. The province of Noord-Holland, where Amsterdam is located, left mostof its power and important tasks to the municipality, in order to avoid a double control. In this sense, Amsterdamhas to govern its own region giving it more responsibilities and less steps to undertake while implementing newplans.The divided areas are autonomous municipalities, so they’re responsible for most of the tasks and rights withintheir areas. As we previously saw, the governments are responsible for things like building and maintainingresidential buildings; managing building permits for residential and commercial purposes; designing, maintainingand governing the spatial environment; control and support of institutions regarding health, sport, education, artand culture. Furthermore they have a fully independent administration and have the opportunity to control theirown budget, given by the municipality of Amsterdam.In 2008 the municipality of Amsterdam did a research about the possibility to decrease the amount of regions inthe city. As a result, in the beginning of 2009, the city did a proposal to reduce the fourteen different areas intoeight. The municipality decided to start implementing the plan a few months later. On the ﬁrst of may in 2010 theplan was realized and the amount of areas was brought down to eight regions.We can investigate this kind of organization studying more in depth the Dutch Model, an interesting planningsystem in the european reality.In the Netherlands there are three layers of government, namely on national, provincial and municipal level. Eachlevel 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 andall levels are involved regarding implementing plans, while formulating their own regulation plans they are notallowed 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 theirregion. The responsibilities of municipalities are characterized by autonomy of action within their own areas. Wealready mentioned their responsibilities and autonomies, and the supervision of the allowed budget which needsapproval of the provinces.The Dutch system is described as a comprehensive and strong one, in which the absence of ﬂexibility is animportant 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 orlease it to private developers. This condition affects the relationship between the state and the private developers.Amsterdam is the ﬁnancial and business capital of the Netherlands and it is also one of the reference points ofInternational Business in Europe. Schiphol Airport, located south-west of Amsterdam, is an important element forboth 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 importantelement 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 cantcompete with the capacity of the main harbor of the Netherlands, namely Rotterdam, which is the biggest andmost 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 PassengerTerminal on the IJ-river, located close to the central station.Amsterdam is building new projects in order to expand the capacity of the infrastructures. Therefore theWeststrandweg is being realized, a second Coentunnel will be built and the Gaasperdammerweg and A10-Zuid isbeing enlarged. The city nowadays counts four subway lines, namely the Ringlijn (50), Amsteveenlijn (51),Gaasperplaslijn (53) and the Geinlijn (54). Only a small part of the network, between Amstel-station andAmsterdam Centraal, goes underground. In 2002 they started the construction of a new, fully undergroundsubway-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 importantinfrastructural element of the city by far. Especially the connection with the business-district, the Zuidas, is ofgreat importance. The Zuidas has become the new ﬁnancial and legal hub. The ﬁve largest law ﬁrms of theNetherlands, a number of Dutch subsidiaries of large consulting ﬁrms like Boston Consulting Group andAccenture, and the World Trade Center Amsterdam are also located in Zuidas. Many large corporations and bankshave their headquarters in Amsterdam such as Heineken International, ING Group.There are also three other smaller ﬁnancial districts in the city. First of all the area surrounding AmsterdamSloterdijk railway station, where there are the ofﬁces of several newspapers such as De Telegraaf. Also themunicipal public transport company (Gemeentelijk Vervoersbedrijf) and the Dutch tax ofﬁces (Belastingdienst) arelocated here. Other areas are the one contiguous to the Amsterdam Arena and the one surrounding AmsterdamAmstel railway station. In the Dam Square, which is the core of the city, the house Royal Palace and theAmsterdam Stock Exchange (AEX) is located. The latter is the worlds oldest stock exchange and one of thelargest bourses in Europe.The previous image is showing the development of the conurbation from the 13th century until now.
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