Stephan Sliepenbeek

Stephan Sliepenbeek


Making Vitality 21st Century

The metropolitan region of Amsterdam is a resilient organism. It has always reacted to trends and movements within the social, political and spatial domain. Now and in the future, the region will be able to find answers to new developments. But not without the help of visions that give direction to trends that will shape the city’s future. One of the main qualities is the diversity of dynamics and interdependence of different systems. A guarantee of this diversity and cross-fertilization is under pressure.

With the advent of the industrial revolution, production began moving outside the city. This was caused by the inconvenience of noise and odour and scale enlargement of production. During the Modernist period, with its segregation of functions , this made the mixture between producing and living even more difficult in the same environment. Add to that the enormous proliferation of rules of the past 20 years and you can conclude that producing has become virtually impossible in urban (residential) environments. The corresponding daily dynamics were largely replaced by retail, hospitality, social services and partly by functions related to leisure activities.

However, in recent years we have seen a change, which was partly caused by the financial crisis. Due to the rise of the Internet, the new economic reality in which we can not count on big growth figures, scarcity and rising prices of raw materials, retail is disappearing from the streets. Neighbourhoods are becoming even more mono-functional. The corresponding dynamics, safety and socio-binding factors disappear.

Another phenomenon is the high vacancy rate of office buildings. As a result of previous overproduction, the new way of working and the changing of services, many office buildings are vacant. Looking towards the future, these buildings will no longer be used in the traditional way. The geographic positioning is often concentrated around regional public transport hubs, the programme is mono-functional and the spacial quality of the area is poor.

In response to globalisation and the associated products that lack identity and are purely focused on maximising profit, people are looking for alternatives. Local products are gaining popularity. At the same time, a revaluation of the arts and crafts is taking place.

Connecting these developments offers the opportunity to create a ‘Manufacturing Axis’ along the ‘A10 West’ ring road in Amsterdam. This thesis proposes a transformation strategy for the area south of Lelylaan. This transformation will revitalise the area, connect it to the existing city and result into a new vibrant cluster where living and working are combined and (big) infrastructure becomes a quality for the city instead of a burden. This project will contribute to the future vitality and diversity of the metropolitan region of Amsterdam.

Commission members: Eric Frijters (mentor), Jeroen Geurst, Maurits de Hoog. Additional members for the exam: Kirsten van den Berg, Pieter Jannink.

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