Street Life

The Netherlands is the country with the 3rd densest roads network in the world and the most dense motorway network in the European Union. Considering this massive amount of road infrastructure within populated areas and urban settings it surprises that little of it relates to its immediate context. Homo-genous boulevards, isolated highways and wide thoroughfares with excessive offsets cut through the city with little relation to neighbourhoods, landscapes, city centres, industrial areas and suburbs, separating and isolating them from each other. Historically functioning as hybrid open spaces – spaces that simultaneously stimulate social and economic interaction for a mix of various urban actors – the welfare state with its promise of “total care”, topdown planning, the separation of functions and an increasing mobility demand
went on cost of their hybrid nature resulting in mostly monofunctional roads, designed to accommodate mainly mobility.
The project acts on roads as the spatial interfaces between different urban fragments. It develops hybrid typologies between them and imagines collaborative projects that bring their citizens in interaction to accomodate their manifold socio-economic needs. In the current context of a predominant “urbanism of neglect” – that mostly focuses on high investment areas – we see a potential in transformating roads into hybrid, socio-economic infrastructures to trigger participation and interaction of broader parts of the society. The project argues that this shift of the citizen from a consumer of urban amenities – a habit that was mostly cultivated by the welfare state – to an active participant in urban development reacts much better to the needs of the Dutch civil society.
Ali Saad (partner-in-charge), Thomas Stellmach, Fabienne Boudon, Darrel Ronald, Álvaro Gómez-Sellés, Clare Johnston, Alexandra Manou, Marta Torres Ruiz.
Henk Tromp, Goudappel Coffeng (Transport), Rients Dijkstra, maxwan (Urban Planning), Wouter Vanstiphout, Crimson (Architectural and Urban History & Theory).
Research grant
Netherlands Architecture Fund
Various, NL
Bauwelt 06/2012, Full report