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

Togthere with Nanine Carree, Miranda Reitsma I was asked to give feedback at the mid term review and the final presentation on June 11the of the design course featuring the N203 at the faculty of Built Environment of the Amsterdam Univesity of Applied Sciences.

The students developed impressive ideas vor future transit oriented development (TOD) along the N203 road and the train stations parallel to it by solving complex spatial puzzles with fresh ideas and the drive to improve quality of life.

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.

From 16th of May 2024 onwards the preliminary vision upon the built environment (Ruimte Maken voor Morgen: Ontwerp Omgevingsvisie 2040 en verder) voor Zaanstad Municipality has been published for feedback by inhabitants and professionals.

This is the first time that Zaanstad, famous for its many windmills and the cradle of the European industry made an integral vision for the entire municipality. Today the 170.000 inhabitant city is rapidly growing to 200.000+ in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. The Vision includes 5 essential principles to ensure a suistainable future and 14 key projects that pave the way.

It was great to co-author, inspire and take care for the continuity of this poject together with Anne Langenesch. The team of professionals who delivered this spatial vision for 2040 and beyond include Joyce Goudschaal, Lisan Adolf, Marian van den Brink, Mirjam Witjes-Hoetjes, Tijs Rothweiler and many others. The beautiful maps based upon our sketches and a draft by Urban Synergy were made by Lisa Schouten, Jasmijn Hofman and Esra Esen. The beautiful and friendly impressions of the key projects were made from my rough sketches by blau.

The new head of urbanism at the Amsterdam University of the Arts, Academy of Architecture, Anna Gasco, asked Mathias to teach for the P1 design studio in 2024.

The assignment for this multidisciplinary design class will address the public space and buildings as ‘skin of the city’ in the areas around train stations.

Nature-inclusive construction was the central topic of the expert session of April 9, 2024, hosted by Utrecht Province. As an expert in this field, Mathias Lehner was invited to deliver the key note. He took the audience through his vision with appealing nature-inclusive design examples, that increase biodiversity in the city.

The event was hosted by Bob Dijkman-Dulkes, manager of the Provincial accelerator program housing. Consecutive speakers were Remo Wormmeester and Martin Heinen of ecogroen, and Amber Holdijk explaining the experiences of Veenendaal Municipality with a nature inclusive system of points for building projects.

The expert session was part of the accelerator program for housing of Utrecht Province.

On 8th of April 2024 Mathias was chairing the design atelier for nature inclusive building held by Utrecht Province in the Municipality of Zeits.

The Municipality and developer BPD introduced case of former caming are situated on a larger estate to be converted into forest and park dwellings. Landscape architect Bosch Slabbers took on the atelier’s advice to develop a more nature inclusive plan.

The N203 is a provincial road of 2 by 2 lanes that runs for more than 10km as a traffic artery through Zaanstad Municipality. What is the future potential of this highway like road? Originally laid out in meadows at the backyard of the villages along the Zaan river the asphalt strip has become a spatial center piece – and barrier.

Upon initiative of and in collaboration with the Babel architecture centre Mathias is coaching students at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. In autumn 2024 a public exhibition will show the students’ works.