Ricsi van Beek

Ricsi van Beek


Illustrated densification atlas of Haarlem - An Urban Exploration

The Dutch medium-sized city still has much room for improvement. There is still a lot to be gained in terms of urban quality. In addition, the urban fabric is for the most past porous enough to be able to absorb substantial densification. The studio focuses on improving the most important structures of the city by means of densification. The aim is to make better use of the potential of the medium-sized city: the creation of attractive living environments with the quality of the landscape around the city within easy reach.

Densification based on quality
Haarlem forms a study case for a densification model that is applicable, in principle, to every classical Dutch medium-sized city, such as Leiden, Alkmaar and Dordrecht. Haarlem is a striking example: a built-up old city with the largest percentage of pre-war buildings in the Netherlands. The study demonstrates that even in the fully developed Haarlem, there are still ample opportunities for densification. An assignment that simultaneously entails a quality transformation, through which the city will become more attractive and unique. As a result of this, the debate about densification will shift from the quantitative to the qualitative realm.

Densification based on quality will ensure that Haarlem can distinguish itself better within the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area in terms of attractiveness. The region gains from attractive urban living environments. A more attractive Haarlem therefore represents a more attractive metropolitan region. A region that can deal with the growth of the future and thus positions itself better internationally on the basis of diversity, a relative small scale and its own clear identity.

The chosen method is simple: analysis provides a number of core values, after which interventions are formulated on the basis of a set of themes, which together contribute to the reinforcing of the core values on the structural level of the city. This leads to strategic assignment for the city that play a decisive role in the further development of the city. Five concrete locations ultimately form the testing grounds that will prove that the execution of the strategic assignments will make the city more attractive.

This study shows that Haarlem can grow in terms of quality without further stretching the outer borders of the city. By using densification to improve the structure of the city, a stronger city will emerge. A city by the water with an attractive, unbroken public space, a recognisable profile and an infrastructure with a good regional embedding. In concrete terms, this study provides insight into the way in which Haarlem can successfully densify by making development through densification part of the strategic assignments. On the basis of the outcomes of the key projects, a global decision can be made on the future densification capacity of the city. As part of the strategic assignments, this amounts to approximately 1.550.000 m2 gfa in the case of a city after deducting the existing buildings in the area to be transformed with a degree of urbanisation varying between 0.7 and 1.2 FSI. Expressed in homes, there is space in the city for more than 19.000 homes of 80 m2 gfa.

Commission members: Pieter Jannink (mentor), Hanneke Kijne, John Westrik. Additional members for the exam: Ad de Bont, Martijn de Wit.

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