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Re-dreaming the Street (Nieuw-West)

byEditorial Team

published on 26/10/2016

‘Re-dreaming the Street’ is a research-and-do project which Design+Desires is conducting in the Amsterdam Nieuw-West neighbourhood. The project is commissioned by the City of Amsterdam.

Philosopher Michel de Certeau makes a distinction between tactics and strategy, between the way the establishment looks upon the ideal city and the way citizens are dealing with the city. Dreaming the city is building both on his taxonomy and on existing thinking about informal cities and their social and aesthetic imperfections, as well as on the current discussion on the overkill of rules and regulations which shape our daily environment.

In the project ‘Re-dreaming the Street’ an ethnically diverse, increasingly popular neighbourhood near Amsterdam’s city center is used as a case study to explore how a street could look with less rules and regulations. What if the residents had more say? What would the ideal living environment expressed by its residents look like and to what extent could their ideals be realized? What impact would the realization of their dreams have on the overall image, spatial planning and social coherence of the neighbourhood? Should we filter the imperfections that come from the desires of a diverse population or embrace these imperfections instead? How could we modify existing rules and regulations? The project addresses changing the image and spatial planning of municipality towards a more resident-cantered approach. This approach builds on and feeds into Ellen Rutten’s VIDI project on imperfection as aesthetic asset, in Russia, the Netherlands, and beyond. The goal of this project is to propose alternatives for the top-down design of the existing public space by re-defining how locals perceive and experience this from bottom-up.

During a symposium on the 17th of November 2016 we have discussed the project with experts in city planning and architecture. The symposium was organized together with Duco Stadig (Former Alderman Urban Planning of the City of Amsterdam) and Ellen Rutten (Professor of Literature University of Amsterdam). Moderator Michiel van Iersel (Non-Fiction Office for Cultural Innovation) set up a dialogue between specially invited experts Paco Bunnik (City Planner of the City of Amsterdam), Paul van de Laar (Director Museum Rotterdam and Professor Urban History at Erasmus University Rotterdam), Aart Oxenaar (Director Office for Monuments and Archeology) and Anouk de Wit (Director Van Eesterenmuseum) and a select group of scholars, policy makers, architects, designers and participating residents.

The closed symposium at Hôtel Droog was co-sponsored by the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis


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by manfred wijker15/9/2016

Ik ben erg benieuwd naar de beoogde impact van dit project voor mensen die in deze buurt wonen. Ik geef o.a. CKVles op 4taal College Amsterdam en veel van mijn leerlingen wonen in deze buurt.Het lijkt mij handig als er ook voor hen een leermoment/participatiemogelijkheid is. Ik kies bewust voor nederlands gezien de bevolkingssamenstelling van de wijk. Esli net, togda loetsje na roesskom jazyke.