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.