An article written by Sander van der Ham and Eric van Ulden, environment psychologist and urban planner. For the book De Stoep researched van der Ham and van Ulden the hybrid zone of 6231 streets in Rotterdam. The hybrid zone is probably one of the most visible and well-known spaces in the city yet also one of the most forgotten and undervalued spaces. A bench or pots, plants and other personal objects placed on what seems to be the sidewalk create a subtle transition zone, the hybrid zone. Most of the time you will only notice a sudden transition from public to private space — not maintained, not claimed, and not personalized. Yet the hybrid zone plays an important role in establishing contact and interaction between city-residents and creating a friendly, welcoming, and attractive street environment.
“Taking ownership or “claiming” the hybrid zone brings a certain flair to the street. It becomes personalized and it actually looks like it belongs to someone. This “belonging” impacts the immediate social atmosphere by enabling social identification.”