News from Amsterdam

To the front page

11/1 Jurists want to stay in Oudemanhuispoort

8/2 Mayor’s portrait

8/2 Websites for social cohesion

7/2 Spreading tourism proceeds with difficulty

7/2 GroenLinks on districts: Be a man

6/2 Zuideramstel opens new office on Sabbath

5/2 The truth about integration

4/2 Wilders has little support on Amsterdam

3/2 Elite involved in neighbourhood

2/2 Johnnie Walker avoids taxes in Amsterdam

1/2 Rotterdam to tinker with district councils as well

31/1 Wooden rowing boats to disappear from Amstel

31/1 ZeeburgTV launched

27/1 Privacy activists to mess up loyalty card system

27/1 A few were still coughing, but that was an act

27/1 Chrisis in de Baarsjes

26/1 Youth have positive view of districts

24/1 Action groups call for Carmel and Jaffa boycott

24/1 PvdA members dismiss plan for districts

23/1 KLM takes on crisis with new uniform

23/1 District office not squatted

21/1 Merge districts

20/1 Closing squat bar Vrankrijk not necessary

20/1 Cleaners welcome new Schiphol director

18/1 Palestine at the Jewish Historical Museum

18/1 What is the right size for a district?

17/1 PvdA Oost against fewer districts

16/1 Committee: 7 districts by 2010

15/1 Soldiers may attend Afghanistan debate after all

15/1 Bait bike leads to arrest

14/1 Youth for Christ to republish vacancies

13/1 Paintings of the Zuidas

13/1 New Youth for Christ contoversy

11/1 Social cohesion initiative raises eyebrows

10/1 Fewer districts in 2010

10/1 Zuidas: People feel that we are losers

9/1 Fun on the ice - but not for all

9/1 Supermarket coupon fraud thwarted

9/1 I Amsterdam must remain exclusive

8/1 Use term Apartheid in every discussion

8/1 No city kiosk in Amsterdam yet

7/1 Snow

7/1 Fatima Elatik to run Zeeburg

7/1 Municipal managers to return to shop floor

4/1 Police: take photo of strange people

3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

1/1 Thousands to protest against attacks on Gaza

1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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Parkstad Safari

24 June 2006 – Many bystanders look surprised when all of a sudden, a coach rides through their neighbourhood. Also, the coach is far too large for the streets that we are riding through. “Busses never go through here”, the bus driver says after having made a turn with great effort. “If the public transport company had a route through here, that obstacle would have been removed long ago”.

This weekend is Nieuw West weekend. The Nieuw West part of town is being celebrated with bustours, an exhibition, a bicycle map and other activities. The Parkstad Office, responsible for the urban renewal operation in Nieuw West, wants to do away with the negative image.

The Western Garden Cities were planned in 1934, when Cornelis van Eesteren drew up the General Expansion Plan. This plan is characterised by open rows of houses, with extensive green areas in between. The plan was not executed until after the Second World War.

By then, there was a shortage of houses, while building materials and labour were scarce. In order to be able to build fast, quality was compromised. As a result, the area now needs substantial improvement, we are told. Currently, one of the most extensive urban renewal operations in Europe is being carried out here.

We hear that former prime minister Wim Kok, who lives in the neighbourhood, likes to take walks around the Sloterplas lake. A new path is constructed, hopefully resulting in more walkers, joggers, skaters and cyclists taking this route. Perhaps this will also attract other facilities. In this way, it is hoped that the area will become safer.

At the Sierplein, the perceived safety has been improved by installing cameras. However, the greates problem in the eyes of the residents were the pigeons. This problem has been solved with the help of a buzzard.

An important characteristic of Nieuw West is the A10 city ring. The connection with the harbour, Schiphol Airport and the Zuidas provides the area with economic opportunities. On the other hand, the city ring is also a barrier, which cuts off much of Amsterdam West from the rest of the city.

In a number of ways, it is tried to overcome this barrier. At the Delflandplein for example, a shopping arcade will be built underneath the A10. At the Bos en Lommerplein on the other hand, it was decided to build above the motorway.

“Now you can walk from one side of the Bos en Lommerweg to the other with no problem”, says the guide on the bus. Readers of News from Amsterdam know of course that it is not that simple, because one has to wait endlessly at the traffic lights at the slip roads of the A10.

The essence of the urban renewal in Nieuw West is building and demolition. No less than thirteen thousand houses will be taken down, to be replaced with twentyfour thousand, mostly more expensive, new ones. The share of affordable houses will be brought down substantially. In this way, it is hoped to stop the deterioration of neighbourhoods.

In a recent book, Helma Hellinga expresses severe doubts about the renewal operation. The houses were of a quite decent quality, and the residents had no complaints. Apparently, other interests were at stake. The current residents have to make room for new residents and companies that pay more.

Hellinga was joined in her criticism by the Amsterdam Urban Renewal Council. The new city government has announced that it will see whether it is possible to lower the number of houses to be demolished and to renovate them instead.

However, during the Nieuw West weekend, the focus is on the positive story. In the Zuiderkerk, an exhibition has been opened, at which the housing corporations try to sell their new projects by use of maquettes and brochures. Fortunatly, PR is less prominent during the bus tour. In an hour and a half, you get a fascinating idea of what is going on in West.

The Parkstad Office frequently organises bus tours and other activities. Exhibition in the Zuiderkerk. Helma Hellinga’s book Onrust in Park en Stad: Stedelijke vernieuwing in de Amsterdamse Westelijke Tuinsteden was published by Het Spinhuis, ISBN 9055892521 (in Dutch).

Briefing behind the Bos en Lommerplein

Construction is going on everywhere


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