Midterm has arrived at FabCity so it’s time to take a look at the results so far. The students of the Off-Campus programme – exploring and testing solutions for urban issues on site at different locations in Amsterdam – presented theirs at the Halfway Festival.
The Learning Lab was buzzing with students, teachers and stakeholders, waiting for the presentations in the different containers. A quick inventory at the start showed the diversity of the student groups – coming from different countries, disciplines and levels.
Oosterdokseiland is one of the research areas, which is, among other things, lacking social cohesion. Students told how they started their research: by handing out surveys to residents and users of the area. This provided them with some starting points, which resulted for instance in plans for a vertical garden (‘to spice things up, provide clean air and reduce noise’), and a floating pavilion, inspired by an example in Rotterdam.
The area could be self-sustaining using wind, water and solar energy. A special dome should be erected where local plastic waste can be processed into parts that can be used by residents to build tables and benches together, creating a community feeling. Social cohesion could also be stimulated by creating events, such as a Sunday Market and concerts organised by the Conservatory. And the quay on Oosterdokseiland could be turned into something the residents can be proud of, by getting rid of all the bikes parked there now, making use of solutions developed by FabCity participant CycleSpace.
At Cruquius Island, an industrial area being transformed into a residential area, students inventoried the existing bottom-up initiatives, that can help speed up the transition. They also aim to get residents and users involved in developing the area, instead of leaving it up to big investors with large scale plans. They came across projects like Fenix, a cultural incubator located in an empty warehouse. It offers, among other things, the possibility for locals to rent space and tools to craft stuff. The initiative Blije Buren collects food, harvested from private gardens in the city, for people with low income. The students want to connect the bottom-up organisations with the investors and make them work together.
Another group of students focused on the residential area on the two Cruiqius Islands. They created an alternative map, with ideas for a circular and sustainable area. The students want to get residents involved and connected and make them get to know each other, through publications in which they can leave notes and do assignments.
Meet you there
At Overhoeks/Van der Pekbuurt students are aiming to bring tourists and residents together. This could be achieved with the aid of an app ‘Meet you there’ – giving people a platform to let others know they’re going to be at an event or location, so others can join you. The interested audience at the container was not straight away convinced. ‘Companies could turn this into a marketing tool’, someone predicted, when the students said they would approach restaurants and bars to collaborate.
The enthusiastic response of the audience was what the students hoped for. Some of it might even lead to collaborations in the (near) future.