Productive Amsterdam

Amsterdam is popular. More and more businesses and visitors are attracted to the city, employment is increasing and the population is growing fast. This trend is also noticeable in many other cities in the world. The benefits are often mentioned. By organising living and working functions in close proximity, this increases the chances of creative work relationships, strengthens the need for services and culture, and protects the environment. But in Amsterdam, the disadvantages of this quick growth is tangible as well: growing crowds, rising housing costs, waiting lists for social housing, and an increasing pressure on the accessibility of the city.

It is important to manage this growth effectively, to maintain the liveability of the city and to safeguard the economy. Amsterdam must therefore focus on quality. The city has the social diversity and culture of openness, a human scale, and  its historic canals form a unique, distinctive combination. Amsterdam, as a prominent place in the world, wants to be prepared for any fluctuations occurring globally. And being resilient to socio, economic and environmental changes is a primary goal.

The municipality of Amsterdam faces the enormous challenge to accommodate the tremendous growth in a way that the character of the city is preserved. Sustainability, introducing new technologies, stimulating the economy and being open to all, are the key concerns. The development strategy Koers 2025 defines the direction to allow for the construction of 50,000 new homes before 2025. Amsterdam promotes densification of existing areas, where living and working are combined, and are inclusive to all social groups.

The consequence of this is that the image and functioning of the city will drastically change.  A growing Amsterdam does not necessarily mean adding more of the same. We have to be careful with what we have,  yet also consider the limits on how careful do we have to be.

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5 Great project sites

Europan NL and the municipality of Amsterdam is proud to propose five locations for Europan 14. All of these locations have been designated ‘high priority’ development sites by the municipality.

For Europan NL, implementation has always been a constant focus. And looking ahead, we want to ensure that the many ideas produced for the competition can be used constructively to stimulate local debate around the future of our cities. Last session brought several  young talented teams into local planning processes, creating new  possibilities and collaborations.

The challenge to the current generation of spatial designers is to find alternative models for urban development in which living and working is organized efficiently, so the productive capacity of people and space is literally worthy of each other. In short, how we can create a productive Amsterdam? How can we cherish and protect the city of today and realise the city of tomorrow?

This period is a crucial moment in de urban development of Amsterdam. For the municipality, the possibility of acquiring diverse new ideas, at the same time providing opportunities to young talent, is the main reason for the cooperation with Europan NL.

We are  excited to invite Europe’s young, talented design teams to help us in this search. We are open to new ideas and design visions from architects, urban planners and landscape architects from all over Europe. For participants of Europan 14, this is a unique opportunity to contribute to the vision and implementation of Amsterdam’s future plans.

Europan provides Architects, Urban planners, Landscape architects under the age of 40 a unique possibility to launch new ideas and contribute to the important discussion of the evolution of the European city.

Here are some other reasons why to participate in Europan:

  • If you win, you have made it. Many offices were founded after winning Europan.
  • Jury of internationally leading Architects and Urbanists will be assessing your great ideas.
  • You only need to present 3 A1 panels. You decide how to present your ideas and project.
  • No shipping of expensive and environmentally unfriendly packages. Submission is fully digital.

For more information go the SITES page.

Architects, Urban planners, Landcape designers

Europan is a competition for young architects an urban planners under the age of 40 years. Even though Europan is an international competition it’s important to have in mind, when forming a team, that the project leader needs to have an approved education from an European educational institution.

For more information go the SITES page.

If you want to participate in competition you have to register at There you also can find detailed information and also all other sites presented by other participating countries. When you are registering you will have to pay an entry fee, when thats done you get access to maps, drawings and photos from the site.

For more information go the SITES page.

Productive Cities

During the last decades a lot of urban renewal has been taking place in Europe, in many cases promoting the idea of the mixed-city. In the post-industrial era, mixed-use developments, including housing, workspaces, public amenities and leisure facilities, were the core of many urban development projects. Looking back, we can see how we have systematically excluded one program: the productive economy.

Warehouses have become loft apartments, industrial sheds arts or leisure centres and brownfields turned into residential neighborhoods. The productive economy has left the city to the periphery, whether it is on the outskirts of the same city or to another end of the world. However, the production is part of the city life as well. It should be encouraged in the city, as part of the urban fabric, and allowed to be seen, connected and daily shared, nurtured and celebrated.

The challenge is to find alternative models of urban development, ones that capitalize on the productive capacity of people and space. In short, how can we create a productive city?

For more information please read or download the complete Theme document

Sub Themes

The issue is to transform monofunctional districts –and more specifically large housing districts similar to “bedroom communities”– to give them some urban dimension through multiple programs at different scales. Some productive uses can come under the notion of proximity – craftsmen, small traders and service providers, and work related to habitat. This scale can be extended with productive facilities and venues that are compatible with the residential character. Non-resident citizens also contribute to the district life according to the different rhythms of the day.

Zoning planning created many “activity” or “industrial zones”, where the dynamics lies on working hours and some activities have to evolve to minimize urban nuisances. If new working forms can lead to regeneration, so can the installation of housing and facilities. The issue is to restructure them around public or shared areas, often absent from those territories.

The city has traditionally mixed working places to other uses around structuring streets. Yet, those were transformed by modern planning –designed around motorisation (cars, trucks…)– into non-attractive nuisance roads.

Maintaining production spaces around those axes whilst playing the card of the diversity of uses also involves rethinking those streets in an urban way and provide them with a planning that allows the compatibility of different uses and mobilities.

The issue of the mixed city can be interpreted at different scales, among which the scale of the building. Making the districts more dynamic again also means designing “multi-mix buildings” able to host different functions and integrating their management to make them compatible with the different use rhythms. Those buildings also have to integrate the mutation of uses through time.

This adaptability of the building implies considering the relation to its urban environment through the integration of shared spaces, but also opening it up to the outside contributing to urbanity at a larger scale.

The separation between city and countryside is slowly fading away in favour of hybrid suburban territories mixing urban and agricultural fragments. Yet, urban extension tends to “consume” more and more fields to build housing estates. Sustainable development forces us to change point of view and reverse our angle. Rural areas within the urban tissue can become productive spaces serving the surrounding city while the districts grow on the edge. We therefore have to consider the interface between both, acknowledging the substitution of diffuse housing areas for built densification, leaving the possibility for local “bio” agriculture within a short distribution circuit and articulating itself to the inhabited districts.

Making the city on the city and regenerating built fragments to consume less territory is a challenge for most European cities. But the mutation / regeneration of large obsolete wastelands –industrial sites, barracks…– can take time, depending on the site scales but also on the necessary change of image to become attractive. It is this “in-between time” that can lead to innovative urban practices filling up spaces in a transitional way. Cultural, but also productive activities can develop there in favourable economic conditions and for a limited time, and participate to the evolution of the identity.

Jury Europan 14

Europan NL is proud to present the jury consisting of both international and dutch experts within the field of urban planning and architecture.

Winners announced for EUROPAN 14 – PRODUCTIVE AMSTERDAM

We are proud to announce winners for Europan14 NL. We thanks all of the participants for their great work!
Learn more about the winning projects

113 entries for five locations in Amsterdam!

On 1 September the Technical jury came together to review the 113 entries that Europan received for five sites in Amsterdam. This review is a preparatory step before the national jury comes together for the first time.

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Participants take a first look at the sites

On the 20th of april 2017 there was the opportunity for participants to visit the Europan NL 14 sites accompanied by the project managers from the municipality. Among other things, the site brief and area were discussed on this useful day.
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Workshop with stakeholders to discuss E14 theme

“Productive Cities” is the theme of E14. How to integrate some of the production activities in the city – such as the production of food, energy, low skilled services, new industrial products – to enhance new relations between citizens?

How to involve the actors? How to manage the tensions emerging from the new relations between producing and living? How to integrate all the production cycles considering distribution, waste and consumption? These are just some of the questions that were discussed with site representatives and stakeholders during this workshop.

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New organisation selected to run Europan NL

Europan Europe is pleased to announce that a new Europan NL organisation has been selected to start the search for sites for the 14th session of the competition, which will be launched at the beginning of 2017. The new organisation shall also take responsibility for the follow-up of the Europan 13 winning teams to help them implement their winning projects.

Photograph: Madir Shah (URBANOFFICE Architects), André Kempe (Atelier Kempe Thill), Olof van de Wal (architecture curator), Helena Casanova (Casanova + Hernandez Architecten), Didier Rebois (Secretary General Europan Europe) and Jonathan Woodroffe (S333 Architecture + Urbanism).