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The City at Eye Level Spring Training

Rotterdam
April 16th – 18th, 2018

Join us this spring and learn about improving cities and creating great streets and places for people. Discover placemaking and placemanagement, bike-friendly cities, tactical urbanism and how to implement a long term strategy. Become a member of The City at Eye Level community and expand your network with an international and interdisciplinary group of professionals.

Buy a ticket now!

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Placemaking Week 2017 is coming to Amsterdam!

Schermafbeelding 2017-09-19 om 09.32.56We are proud to announce the coming Placemaking Week 2017, which will take place this Fall in Amsterdam on October 10-14, 2017Building upon the momentum of last year’s successful event in Vancouver, Project for Public Spaces, in partnership with STIPOThe City at Eye LevelPlacemaking Plus and Pakhuis de Zwijger will host the placemaking event in Amsterdam! 

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Scholarship The City at Eye Level Spring Masterclass

This Spring we will host our third City at Eye Level Training! Are you a student, alumni or a zealous nut and would you like to join, but is the ticket almost all you earn in a month? We have five scholarships available for the masterclass: €200 (ex. VAT and registration fee). Quick check our conditions and apply!

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The City at Eye Level Spring Masterclass

Rotterdam
April 3rd – 5th, 2017

Join us this spring and learn about improving cities and creating great streets and places for people. Discover placemaking and placemanagement, bike-friendly cities, tactical urbanism and how to implement a long term strategy. Become a member of The City at Eye Level community and expand your network with an international and interdisciplinary group of professionals.

Sign up now!

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Stockholm at Eye Level

Last October we spent 5 very busy days in Stockholm delivering a Plinth Game, Stockholm Edition. We very much enjoyed our days in Stockholm; there was great enthusiasm and momentum, it was great to walk the streets with the 40+ participants. We learned so much from the process and from their questions. We hope this will lead to many new collaborations in the new year.
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We are very pleased to share the final, extensive report, with all the results of the workshops. It consists of three parts:
  1. an introduction to the why, what and how of investing in a better Stockholm at Eye Level;
  2. the overwhelming results of our plinth game, visiting 12 locations in Stockholm, giving ideas for concrete improvement and conclusions for criteria for better plinths (bottenvåninger!) and
  3. ideas for your follow-up strategy, also based on the open space workshop we held on Friday with the whole group.

To stay informed, we’d like to invite you to become a member of our Facebook and our LinkedIn Group. It would be great if you could contribute to the discussions; starting soon, we will launch the plinth of the week (each week on Monday, a new plinth to be discussed, sharing international examples of good and bad examples), the chapter of the month (calling for reactions) and other discussions and inspiration.

Thank you Stockholm!

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Placemaking on Museumplein

The Museum Quarter is a unique location in Amsterdam: it comprises no fewer than five world-class cultural institutions: the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Concertgebouw and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. For the people of Amsterdam, the best works of Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Rietveld, as well as concerts by Bach, Händel or Liszt in one of the world’s best concert halls, are just around the corner.

In the immediate vicinity we find the Vondel Park, P.C. Hooft Street (the most up-market shopping street in the Netherlands), Van Baerle Street, the Spiegel Quarter (specializing in antiquities, linked to the Rijksmuseum function) and the northern section of the Pijp district (the ‘Quartier Latin’ of Amsterdam, where Amsterdammers themselves go out nowadays).

However, these areas are not linked, and the user groups are very separated. This week we will take a closer look at Museumplein with Fred Kent and Kathy Madden, from Project for Public Spaces, Peter from Placemaking Plus, and Meredith and Hans from Stipo. With a select group of participants, including planners, directors from the institutions,  local politicians, and entrepreneurs, we will discuss: How can we reconnect the institutions to the grassy “square”? How can we connect the surrounding areas to the Museumplein? Where can we make quick fixes? All this and more (and a video!) to come.

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A new plinth strategy in De Pijp | Amsterdam at eye level

The North-South metro line is slated to change Amsterdam in many significant ways. It is the first metro in the city that will move people on the 9.2km axis and under the Ij river, to Amsterdam Central Station, and then on to Amsterdam Zuid Station. Zuid Station could potentially become the major transportation hub in the city, over Central Station. The line will run every 4 minutes in the day and every 10 minutes at night, with about 180.000 passengers per day. The €3.1 billion project has had several set-backs, budget adjustments, and delays. It is now slated for completion in 2017.

source: www.railway-technology.com/projects/ns_metro/
source: http://www.railway-technology.com/projects/ns_metro/

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What does this project have to do with the city at eye level?

Our assignment was to analyse the plinths in the area around the future metro stop at Ceintuurban, located in the vibrant neighborhood called De Pijp. De Pijp has a long history of being Amsterdam’s “Latin Quarter” and a melting pot of cultures and people. More recently, the neighborhood has begun the gentrification (and hipster-cation) process and more young and established professionals are moving into the area, which is undoubtedly changing the fabric of the neighborhood.

Our preliminary analysis, as usual, consisted of personal, one-on-one key stakeholder interviews from all types of fields in the area: shop owners, residents, developers, street managers, municipal officials, and users of the area. These are the people involved with De Pijp at eye level. It is important to get a well-rounded understanding of the current situation in order proceed with any further physical or social analyses of the plinths.

The analysis built up to an intensive, one-day “game” with about 40 other stakeholders. For the game, we used our Spider Graph method to assess the current plinths. This method is useful for identifying the priority areas among a host of criteria regarding the buildings, street, and context of the area (laid out in the book). It is also useful for identifying the “quick-wins” (easy solutions) and the longer-term gains.

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Right now, the plinths show the character of a diverse, multi-cultural neighborhood. Their design (or lack of) vary from cozy, organic feel to a stoic or tousled look. The variation can be charming and offers a ‘real’ neighborhood vibe. De Pijp also has a strong sense of local entrepreneurship, clearly visible in its plinths. Ferdinand Bolstraat, a main commercial street that crosses with Ceintuurbaan, has a good mix local shops and small and larger chains. The smaller streets that branch off from Ferdinand Bolstraat boast a number of high-quality local shops, cafe’s, and restaurants. On these streets, there are also a number of local artisans who are part of the network “Ambachten de Pijp” (Made in de Pijp).

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So, what are the impacts of a new metro line on this neighborhood’s plinths? In terms of design, function and programming?

The Ceintuurbaan metro stop expects to bring in about an extra 40.000 people per day to the area (about the population of the neighborhood itself!). We believe that a coalition of stakeholders must be formed (soon) in order to maintain the character of de Pijp. Large developers and investors are licking their chops at this type of opportunity and are waiting for the perfect time to make their proposals.

Our main questions to the group were: what should be cherished on these streets, what could disappear, how will those things happen and who will take responsibility and initiative to see to it?

Stay tuned for the results.

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7 May: Talkshow with Jeroen Laven

Pakhuis de Zwijger presents the bi-monthly series “No words, just action” on May 7, 20-21h30. Jeroen Laven from Stipo will be speaking about development in the city, neighborhood, and region. Their book, The City at Eye Level, dives deeply into philosophy and strategy behind the planning and design of plinths in urban environments. See details here.

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In het kader van de Rotterdamse en Amsterdamse Stadambassade presenteert Pakhuis de Zwijger de tweemaandelijkse talkshow Geen Woorden Maar Daden. Gastheer Sjoerd van Oortmerssenontvangt uiteenlopende gasten voor een update van everything cool & groovy uit de havenstad.

Jan Benthem van het Amsterdamse Benthem Crouwel Architects gaat met Jeroen Laven van STIPO in gesprek over stedelijke ontwikkeling, architectuur en de verschillen en overeenkomsten tussen beide steden. Benthem is onder andere de architect van het nieuwe station van Rotterdam Centraal, door de lokale bevolking inmiddels omgedoopt Station Kapsalon vanwege de opvallende metalen overkapping van het gebouw. Het team van STIPO houdt zich al 19 jaar bezig met de ontwikkeling van steden, wijken en regio’s, uit passie voor sterke steden en sterke samenlevingen. Met hun boek The City at Eye Level duiken ze diep in de filosofie en strategieën achter de planning en inrichting van ‘de plinten’ van stedelijke omgevingen.