The Off Campus programme kicked off with an introduction to De Ceuvel and Buiksloterham for our group of 20 interdisciplinary students and creatives, where the main goals where left crystal clear: make connections, think social, create stories. To initiate a research and understanding of the area I decided to do exactly that; find out the stories, the daily rituals and talk to the lovely neighbours of the Ceuvel and Buiksloterham in Amsterdam Noord. For this I made one simple experiment: an action research of role-playing. Pretending to be lost and “Searching for the Ceuvel”, I ruminated through the area, from the commercial street, to the market and housing complexes.
Going to the market
Talking to about 30 people, and asking “Can you point me out to the Ceuvel” as a conversation starter, made me realize that many people in the area: A. Do not know the Ceuvel at all, B. If they do, they think it’s a bar and C. They refer towards a weird hidden area with boats. Aha, we have some problems here… Or should I call these key dramas to our story? Talking to these different people, from mixed ethnic backgrounds and age differences, made it clear that most of the neighb ours in Noord do not find any link between themselves and the sustainable developments happening in there area. There is an audience gap, a location gap and a value gap.
It is then our challenge to understand common grounds and common platforms to include everyone in the area to the benefits of “The City of the Future”. If we want to connect, we need to bring it inside the already existing community; there are great opportunities of spaces for exchange, like the market for example. If we want people to care, we need to add value for the neighbourhood, find meanings that are engaging enough for everyone and create a sense of ownership.
You ask HOW? We leave that for the next chapter.