Category Archives: SPATIAL SOLUTIONS

End of June 2024 a session on Transit Oriented Development for a number of traffic nodes in Zaanstad brought together municipal and regional experts from various disciplines to play with these possibilities of urban development within the existing city. Urban development at traffic nodes has many advantages, such as comfortably contributing to the mobility transition and creating space for work, housing and amenities with the urban quality of a destination.

I was honoured to kick off this session of the Program for the Knowledge of Space of Zaanstad Municipality, and present the results of one of the groups, including Mark Degenkamp of VRA, Mirte Rozenmond and Raymond de Hullu of Zaanstad Municipality. In total 5 traffic nodes of a potential new high quality public transport line and the existing train lines were exlored, based upon preliminary research by Like Bouwman as part of het work for Sweco consultants.

How do we make room for work? The future of industrial estates

Preparing the implementation of the Zaanstad Spatial Vision ‘Making Space’, I was invited to join a reseach project and give feedback to an investigation into future significance of industrial estates.

On July 2, ‘Working Landscapes in Transition’ will present the results of this design research into six industrial estates in the municipality of Zaanstad that can be role models. Come by and discuss the insights with the researchers and involved authorities!

Sign up here to join on July 2nd!

What might you learn?

· What is the spatial impact of energy, mobility and climate transitions
· How we shape a new, sustainable economy
· A radically different view upon future landscapes for work
· The role of governments
· How design research helps make stronger and better choices

Vereniging Deltametropool Provincie Noord-Holland Gemeente Zaanstad Buro Moon CAS OTO BRIGHT Cooperative BURA Ana Luisa Moura Casper de Canne Gottfried Leibbrandt

Making room for work is becoming increasingly important in qualitative urban development. What can you learn from 20 municipality experts?

On Monday 10 June 2024, I organized a bike excursion on the combination of living and working in project development with a team of Marc den Hertog and other colleagues at the municipality of Zaanstad.

Making space or work is an increasingly urgent theme in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (MRA) and the province of North Holland. Despite heavy monsoon rains 40 professionals from 20 municipalities came to Zaanstad. I was able to introduce the 5 principles of our Vision on the Built Environmental 2040, in which the principle of ‘developing the city for work and housing’ has a key role.

Later, I could give a sneak preview of the new spatial programmatic framework for Zuiderhout Noord: a highly urban development for the residential work city of the future near the Zaandam intercity station. Colleagues then provided explanations about residential work combinations on the HEMbrug heritage site and in Poelenburg urban redevelopment area.

A working session in Achtersluispolder concluded the day in the De Hoop breeding ground. Nice to share the top 5 interesting conclusions:

  • The Zaanstad goal to add 28% work next to facilities when developing new homes is a crucial change of course.
  • Mixing living and working is possible at building level, such as in the plinth, but better at block, plot or area level. A lot is possible through zoning.
  • Moving space or sliding space is essential to enable developments in the existing city.
  • Municipalities have an important role; their visible investments at the beginning are stimulating incentives.
  • Working does not stand alone, but is part of a system with, among other things, mobility and energy in which advantages and disadvantages require careful spatial solutions.

We are therefore looking forward to the results of a research that we are doing together with Province of Noord-Holland and Vereniging Deltametropool.

Nature inclusive design and building is just one of the spatial topics that require inspirational images, next to hard facts in order to make builders, developers and governments more enthousiastic about the power of design.

Ai can help deliver those images. It is astonishing how fast AI tools for image and text generation have been developing over the past months. Midjourney, of which some 5-minute-work examples from a while ago depicted here, is a quick tool. With the right prompt and some excercise the generated images help to inspire and discuss.

Also, it’s a lot of fun and still full of flaws. Bikes with no back wheel, hands with 4 or 6 fingers, those kind of innocent things. But also the request for ‘people’ generating only white male persons in the image.

In any case, an additional valuable communication tool, an extra. Not a replacement. It still requires clever prompting, excercise and knowledge to get what ou want.

How to define growth with quality? What are the criteria, and is there a maximum to growth? An interesting question if you want to add not only housing, but work spaces and social amenities such as parks to a city in order to make it future proof.

As quartermaster city architect Mathias was asked to do some research by design in the form of little finger excercises for a series of locations in Zaanstad municipality. Based upon the no-net-landtake vision upon the built environment until 2040 and beyond (in Dutch: Omgevingsvisie) it was suprising how much growth is possible within a a strong conceptual appproach rooted on integral spatial quality.

In February 2024 a collaboration started between the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Babel Architecture Centre and Zaanstad Municipality. Students of the Built Environment Studies will analyse and design a future for the N203, a merely 12km long provincial road running through the entire municipality of Zaanstad. Mathias delivered an inspirational lecture on the road and the vision for the built environment of Zaanstad which he has been co-autoring.

How can this high way like road become a connector, a destination and a development area of integral programs along a city alley? The coming months will show the thoughts of the students, which will be exhibited in a Bayeux tapestry style in Zaandam later this year.

(c) Daan van der Veen

On 31st of May Mathias chaired a design atelier intended to accelerate nature inclusive development. This atelier was requested for by developers Dura Vermeer and Habeon. The Utrecht Province established these ateliers with a group of renown experts in the field. The experts included Erik Bijsterbosch (Ruimtelijk Netwerk), Jan Henk Tichelaar (Rooftop Revolution), Harry Boeschoten (Staatsbosbeheer), Bart Cardinaal, (HUNC, Human Urban Nature Connected) and David van der Veen (Utrecht Province).

(c) BDA

Together with Jörg Gleiter, Hartmut Böhme, Eric-Jan Pleijster, Heike Hanada, Sophie Kimmig, Gernot Weckherlin, Thomas Hauck & Wolfgang Weisser and Michele Porcelluzzi Mathias contributed to the thematic magazin by Bund Deutscher Architektinnen und Architekten (BDA) in March 2023. Entitled ‘The urban habitat’ (OSSN 0003+875X) Mathias elaborates in his article about the lessons learned in the past 10 years of his work with, and what can be hands-on strategies to employ in all architectural and urban projects to create benefits for biodiversity, nature in the city and quality of life for all species. The article was conceptualized with Mathias’ nextcity partner Maike van Stiphout.

On november 29th, 2022 Mathias was giving a workshop as part an the climate adaptation network (KAN netwerk) expert session. The network organized by the Dutch real estate sector NEPROM has almost 50 project developers as members, and is run by Claudia Bouwens.

The case study of the workshop was Zaandam Oost, an area in Zaanstad that boasts a lush post-war green and blue infrastructure, but also major social challenges.

On September 19th, 2022 and invited by Prof. Carola Hein of Delft University of Technology and Prof. Dirk Schubert of Hafencity University Hamburg Mathias lectures within the network of ‘Spatial and Social Impacts’ as part of the VW sponsored Research Digital Humanities.
The workshop contribution stresses the spatial relation between urban nature and health, focusing on green-blue-grey networks.

Dirk Schubert: „Mathias shared possible answers to the questions raised….which are an important aspect for teaching”

Co-speakers include: Hülya Lasch, Lukas Höller, Jeroen Nelen, Dr. Christopf Lofi, Dr. Lixia Chu, Dr. Rainer Fehr, Dr. Elke Jakubowski, Dr. Christina Strauß, Dr. Gabriele Bolte, Dr. Sabine Baumgart, Dr. Jackie Hamilton and Prof. Dr. Cor Wagenaar.