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The future of everyday living
EU2016 arts & design programme

Dating the Wildemanbuurt

Connecting generations in the Wildemanbuurt in the Amsterdam-West district.

© Björn Zielman

So, the FabCity off-campus programme started, we had the first dating experience these couple of four weeks that gave us the impressions of our neighbourhood the “Wildemanbuurt” in the Amsterdam-West district in Osdorp. We have met a lot of people with different backgrounds: about 25% of the neighbourhood is above 50 years old with a Dutch background and 25% is below 18 years old, with mostly different backgrounds like Morrocan, Turkish etc. There is a disconnection.

Inspiring and friendly people

In our first week, we had our first date, where we already met some inspirational makers from the neighbourhood. Like Papa Sahko, who already lives in the Wildemanbuurt for nine years. He is a Dutch painter with his roots in Senegal. His paintings are telling things about the bad situations there and the right of freedom of women in African and Arabic countries. He was a true inspiration.

After the first week came the following weeks and these couldn’t be better. We were interviewing people on the streets, they were surprisingly friendly and open to talk about their ideas and thoughts of the neighbourhood. We even had a high tea with men (also with the chairman) in the local Turkish mosque and had a good conversation about the livability of the neighbourhood.

Connecting generations of the Wildemanbuurt

The most people that we talked to enjoyed the neighbourhood and told us that it’s a good and nice place to live. So that was quite a shock for our team because we were looking for a problem, but there didn’t really seem to be a common problem in the neighbourhood.
So we had to think differently: what can we create with the neighbourhood? So there comes our idea, our idea is not solving a common problem but just create something with the neighbourhood, giving it its own unique identity. A creation that lets people meet each other from all ages, because there might not be a common problem but there is an underlying problem: a disconnection between the generations of the Wildemanbuurt. So this is the main idea, after dating the Wildemanbuurt these weeks. Now we have to go on. You will hear from us!