Amsterdam visit, April 2010

On the way back from 3 very good days in Netherlands with Bob Colenutt on our Leverhulme project about fixing broken British urban development and housing systems.  Highights for me were learning more about state leasehold forms of development and seeing the incredible variety of tenure forms and housing configurations in Ijburg.  Lots more pictures if you click on one of these.

ams ijburg communal1.jpg
collective / co-op project of flats, shared space, cafe, theatre in Ijburg.
ams ijburg floating next3.jpg
…and some ideas not so easily transferred to UK: next house arrives at floating neighbourhood from factory 120km away. Small tug on right.

We spent a day with  Barrie Needham in Nijmegen, a lot of time with Arie van Wijngarten and a bit with Daniella Wullers. (How well this Inura network works; what good comrades they are…)

These Ijburg dwellings are a mixture of social housing (housing associations), developer-built private apartments or houses, a lot of individually-developed houses and then a number of other forms.

The individually-developed plots -some in terrace form, others free-standing-are subject to ground leases from the city.  Fifty year leases with right of renewal (at a reviewed ground rent) on termination.  There are lots of pictures here.  There were controls on maxium building envelope and fire/building regulations but not on design, so the diversity is amazing.  QUESTION: how easy is it to get credit? Arie said most people had trouble getting bank etc credit before completion, and were thus reliant on family or other bridging finance, but after completion he thought it not a problem.  In some streets you have to make car space(s) within the plot or building (and you can’t get a resident street parking permit); in other streets you can get one street parking permit per dwelling. Additional cars must pay daily rate for street parking.  NB the one road bridge to the island has only one lane each way for cars and has (as anticipated) long queues at rushour.  This all helps to get people onto the tram, or bikes.

We saw also a couple of projects which were co-ops or communal housing schemes, with individual flats plus other space.  One of these is a group which operates a cafe and small theatre.

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Author: Ed

staff in the Bartlett School of Planning and cooperating with others in UCL and with the Just Space Network to support London citizens' inpu

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