Almere Haven is the oldest part of Almere, built as a New Town in the new and empty polders east of Amsterdam by an elite team of architects and urbanists in the 1970s. It is a unique example of the architecture and urban design of that era, with a small scale and pedestrian orientation. Unfortunately, Almere Haven suffers from ageing, as buildings show wear and the population is decreasing both in quantity and income. The municipality of Almere is still growing at a rapid pace, but seems to forget about its past.
For the office of the Rijksbouwmeester, the Dutch Chief Government Architect, a group of architects was asked to study the potential of the town center of Almere Haven. As the urban designer of the group I have developed an innovative research structure, and subsequently guided the research and design process on the urban level.
The research was based on the new position of the designer in transformation processes in The Netherlands. Unlike 30 years ago, grand schemes can no longer be implemented on blank pieces of polder. Almere Haven today has a multitude of opportunities, challenges and wishes for its future and it has built up a meaning in its short history.
The research and design focused on the establishment of a clear set of 'diagnoses', statements on problems and opportunities for Almere Haven. These statements were then adressed by solutions, combined in a 'tool box' for Almere Haven. Decision makers, rather than designers, can then combine these tools into concrete visions for the future, scenarios for Almere Haven.
Two scenarios have been visualised to show a proof of concept. I have been responsible for the carthographical visualisations of these scenarios, one of the plans is shown to the right. The project has been very well received by stakeholders and the Rijksbouwmeester and is to be published early 2010. Results are posted here.
Be sure to also check out the presentation video here!