OutThere #5

Nederland, NL

How do we maximise use of station areas?

The fifth edition of De Zwarte Hond’s occasional bookazine OutThere focuses on the theme of proximity. Each issue of OutThere looks at the relationship between design and our society from a different angle. In the last issue it was Residential Floorplans; this time it is Station Areas.

The content of OutThere is always the result of conversations we have in the office, with clients and specialists, of progressive insights and our reflection on developments in society. All of this provides us with new perspectives that we incorporate into our visioning and our work.

This OutThere was born out of our vision of how we want to approach and tackle all the big challenges we face from now on. Our belief in a livable and sustainable future, not only for ourselves but also for all animals and plants, is so important that we have formulated a mission. In this fifth issue of OutThere we explain our Olympic mission and in the rest of the bookazine we show how we can – and want to – work on it from the perspective of strategic and urban planning tasks.

In our view, the key word to tackling all the major challenges in a coherent way is ‘proximity’, or the 15-minute city. Proximity can cut both ways. After all, we know that if we densify an existing town or village with more homes, facilities and jobs, we will see a change in mobility behaviour. People use their cars less and walk and cycle more. We save the space that cars take up – and we can use it for more ‘green and blue’ in the existing city. This is not only smart from a climate and biodiversity perspective, but also from a health and wider wellbeing perspective. 

Station areas are the ideal places for greater proximity

We believe that station areas are the ideal places to create this proximity. Station areas are the most accessible places, whatever your mode of transport. They are the places where almost all the social issues that are (or should be) high on the agenda converge. They are often located in built-up areas, lend themselves to mixed functions and often offer room for development. At the same time, many are crying out for a quality boost, more social excitement and strategic investment. They can be found in all types of regions, from metropolitan to rural, and of course all over the Netherlands.

More proximity means more people can organise their daily lives close to home. We are driven by the fact that we can develop our existing urbanised areas in a sustainable and responsible way, thus contributing to a more pleasant and comfortable life for people. In this issue of OutThere, The Future is Near, we show how we are working on this and what it means. We look at station areas in the Netherlands, but also in our neighbouring countries Belgium and Germany.

There is much more to (re)developing station areas than just good urban planning

Of course, we don’t just present our own visions and ideas on how to make our station areas better and more attractive. For example, our creative director Jeroen de Willigen talks to railway architect Marianne Loof, and we speak with the team working on the Schieveste area development in Schiedam (Lydia Buist, municipality of Schiedam; Daan Klaase, NS Stations; Job Posner, Synchroon; and Emiel Swinnen, DELVA). Maurits Schaafsma, planner for the municipality of Haarlemmermeer, and Paul Gerretsen, representative of the Deltametropolis Association, introduce us to the history of transit-oriented development (TOD) and their view of it, while researcher and urban planner Filip Canfyn and Professor Maarten Van Acker give us an update on Flemish station areas.

But there is much more to the (re)development of station areas than good urban planning and good cooperation. Theo Stauttener (Stadkwadraat) and Jurjen van Keulen (APPM) share their recommendations from an area development perspective, and Wenda Doff makes an appeal from a sociological perspective. Last but not least, journalist Tim van Boxtel takes us to various citizens’ initiatives in station areas to show that a lot of enthusiasm, good ideas and perseverance can be generated if we work together with the initiators in good time and give them enough space.

OutThere #5

OutThere #5 focuses on proximity, based on the belief that more living, working and recreational space and facilities in close proximity to each other leads to a nicer and healthier living environment. By taking proximity as a starting point, we can address all the major societal challenges we face in a coherent way.
In our opinion, the best place to work on this proximity is in station areas: all those places that are ‘within walking distance’ of all the various stations we have in the Netherlands. Because station areas are simply the most accessible places. And they can often use a boost.
In this OutThere, we explain from different angles why and how we should (want to) use the potential of our station areas, based on our Olympic ambition to work holistically towards a more sustainable environment.


OutThere #5
Nederland, NL
Urban Design
Infrastructure, Integrale verstedelijkingsstrategie
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