“Live, Work and Play”

CASE STUDY: Het eilandje, Antwerp, Belgium

An interview with Filip Smits, program manager at the City of Antwerp Urban Planning Department. In this case study Smits will tell you something about ‘The little island’, or how the Belgiums call it: Het eilandje. Het eilandje dates back to the 16th century. It’s an island of 170-hectare and plays a role in Antwerp as one of its neighbourhoods. Smits will explain it’s course of time and their challenges, like the owners of the island: the harbour authority, which had a different vision for the area. In addition, the project area contained historical buildings in need of preservation, demanding more recent and modern adjustments. By explaining it’s solutions and secrets the reader gets insight in the improvement of Het eilandje through a course of time.

“The revival of this neighborhood is like wine, it’s getting better over the years.”

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p252b 82_03_Het Eilandje Antwerp Belgium Filip Smits - CREDIT Mathieu LePhun

Het Eilandje, Antwerp, Belgium ©Mathieu LePhun

“The 3-Hour Experience”

CASE STUDY: Distillery District, Toronto, Canada

An interview with Willie Macrae urban planner in the Community Planning Division at the City of Toronto Downtown Section. In this case study Macrae will tell you something about the Distillery District, a former Gooderham & Worths distillery near the Lake Ontario waterfrond in Toronto. He will explain it’s course of time and their challenges, like property preserving the ground floor of the historic buildings with monumental status. If they wanted a successful ground floor it meant they had to keep it active, safe, and pleasant all day and into the evening. By placing a mix of uses centred around arts and entertainment venues (theatres, restaurants, cafes, and bars) ensured day-long, night-long, and year-round use in the district. By explaining it’s solutions and secrets the reader gets insight in the improvement of the Distillery District through a course of time.

“We showed developers that you can preserve heritage buildings—and do it well!”

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p251c 81_TorontoExtra_pic Distillery District Toronto Canada - COPYRIGHT Mark Watmough via www.flickr.com

Distillery District, Toronto, Canada ©Mark Watmough via flickr.com
p251b 81_DHD_TCM2_HQ Distillery District Toronto Canada
Distillery District, Toronto, Canada during a Christmas event

“Creating Livability”

CASE STUDY: Hafencity, Hamburg, Germany

An interview with Tanja Nagelsmeier, commercial utilization development and coordination of HafenCity Hamburg GmbH. In this case study Nagelsmeier will tell you something about the HafenCity Hamburg GmbH, a new neighbourhood in the centre of Hamburg. They had to concure selveral challenges because the city should be sustainable, designed well, and most importantly, fine-grained and alive on the ground level beyond regular business hours and the whole year long. By explaining it’s solutions and secrets the reader gets insight in the improvement of the harbor area through a course of time.

“We pay a lot of attention to our plinths in HafenCity. Soft strategies are the key to success, such as networking, information and communication with and between all parties involved. Fixed property regulations also play a major role for the whole development.”

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Hamburg: HafenCity, Dalmannkai

Both images: HafenCity, Hamburg by Tanja Nagelsmeier

“Embrace Flexibility”

CASE STUDY: Sluseholmen Nord, Copenhagen, Denmark

An interview with Lars Korn, architect and planner for the South Harbour area, for the Municipality of Copenhagen. In this case study Korn will tell something about Sluseholmen Nord, it’s course of time and the several challenges like the amount of toxic in the soil. By explaining the problem, it’s solution and secrets the reader gets great insight in the area in the South Harbour of Copenhagen.

“ Rules are important…but there must be exceptions!”

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p136b 88_Sluseholmen_WEB_HQ Sluseholmen Copenhagen Denmark



“Between Economic and Social Demands”

An article written by Petra Rutten, director of Community Development at Heijmans. She explains that inner-city re-development is a challenge. Urban areas are complex, and working with an existing urban context with many stakeholders and varied target groups is a difficult task. Plans (fortunately) are no longer rolled out as a blueprint, but grow more organically like a network, allowing innovations the opportunity to become part of the solution. This not only demands other forms of cooperation, but also a different attitude from all parties, both public and private. The initiator or the producer holds a powerful role: a long-term commitment to combining and retaining the concept and also keeping all stakeholders together, big and small, formal and informal.

“(…) Imagine the space and good value become an economy on its own. Rotterdam’s rather tough image actually give it an edge over its competitor cities.”

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p207a 56-1_Fenix-circus copy Rotterdam NL - CREDIT Gergo Hevesi

Temporary use: Codarts bachelor’s programme of Circus Arts at Fenixloods, Katendrecht Rotterdam ©Gergo Hevesi
Cover picture: Fenix Food Factory, Katendrecht Rotterdam ©Gergo Hevesi



“Marginal Spaces at La Défense”

An interview with Alessandra Cianchetta, architect and founding partner of AWP, about La Défense in Paris, France. She explains that La Défense is an expansion of a very important, historic axis in Paris that runs westward from the Louvre. Post WWII and especially during the 50s, Paris no longer could accommodate enough businesses and the French State wanted to show an image of modernity with lots of steel and glass, and intense separation of flows, modes, and uses. La Défense is a monument to this idea—that this was a business district and nothing else. Considering the high degree of specialization it’s still a relatively lively place, contrasted with busy and calm periods. And on the weekends it’s a destination for a different population who don’t want to go to central Paris.

“The word masterplan is not that appealing because it suggests something rigid. Right now in urbanism we need something different, more like a tool or framework, something that can evolve and adapt to changes over time. Our goal is to create a tool that can evolve and encompass new changes and projects so that it’s not obsolete in a few years.”

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p200 54-1_AWP-LA DEFENSE DEFACTO-GREAT AXIS Paris France - CREDIT AWP La Defense Defacto

GREAT AXIS Paris France ©AWP La Defense Defacto
Cover picture: PARKING SPACE Paris France ©AWP sbda



“Mixed-Use Makes Money in Office Parks”

An article written by Jeroen Jansen and Eri Mitsostergiou, both working for Savills. They explain that in 2010 their research team examined all four major office areas in the Netherlands. The results showed that the combined vacancy in mixed-use areas is considerably lower than in single-use office locations. They further analysed the submarkets and buildings in Amsterdam with the highest vacancy and identified four factors that relate most to vacancy rate. While distance to a major train station, distance to the city centre, and the perceived safety of the office areas were important, mixed-use turned out to be the number one deciding factor. Creating a lively public space by adding retail, restaurants, bars and other functions to the plinths of office buildings does seem to pay off.

“While combining different uses within an area does not pose challenges, per se, for developers and investors, bringing different functions together within one building does add elements of complexity and risk. Developers and investors perceive that mixing uses makes their job more difficult and leads to a decline in their investment.”

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A sunny summer lunchtime in Granary Square, King's Cross

Granary Square with the University of Arts in the historic building London UK © Kings Cross Central General Partner Limited via kingscross.co.uk
Cover picture: Arial picture of the development site London UK © Kings Cross Central General Partner Limited via kingscross.co.uk

“A Developer’s Intuition”

A conversation with Frank van Beek, co-owner of Lingotto, about plinths. The vision of Lingotto is to realise good city districts. Van Beek explains that the company does not have a specific strategy to apply every time: each project is customized. Plinths can be an instrument to realise good and pleasant streets wherever necessary. Plinths are only possible at sites where they have potential and where it is appropriate: in city centres, along main routes or at street corners.ot on a back street as is sometimes required by municipal instructions.

“The important question in developing plinths is: which location has potential? There is not a way to calculate this; you need fingerspitzengefühl, or instinct. You have to look at walking routes, busy streets but not too busy; it must be a pleasant atmosphere to walk along.”

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p189b 41-4_CoffeeC1_HQ Amsterdam Frank van Beek

Coffee Company ( Meester Treublaan, Amsterdam) by Frank van Beek
Cover picture: Restaurant Dauphine (Prins Bernhard-plein, Amsterdam) by Frank Beek