Last Tuesday (July 5th) the symposium 'Planning the future of Amsterdam & New York' took place at ARCAM. Thanks to the great contributions by David Bragdon (director, NYC's Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability) and Zef Hemel (deputy director at the Spatial Planning Department of Amsterdam) we learned that the Amsterdam approach has some great advantages concerning the 'openness' of the plan, and that the New York approach is more than a 'to do list'
David Bragdon presented what in New York is known as ‘PlaNYC 2030 - A Greener, Greater New York’. The plan was launched in 2007 by Mayor Bloomberg and has been recently updated. Bragdon presented the plan as a ‘to do list’ of the municipal government. The updated plan has 132 initiatives and 400 milestones. The initiatives are extremely practical in nature and focused on the things the government can directly affect. For example the city started a bike-sharing program based on the French model, she builds up public parks to playgrounds, and destines areas near public transportation for high density housing. One of the new measures is that the dirtiest types of fuel oil will be phased out in a number of steps.
The presentation of Zef Hemel, had a different tone. He talked about an 'open process': all citizens of Amsterdam took part in a decentralized way in the dialogue on the future of the city. Hemel introduced the term ‘Wikicity’ for the manner in which the collective intelligence of the people of Amsterdam helped shape the framework for the future expansion. The government is not the one who knows best what is good, but she listens to the residents and composed on the basis of the story of the city.
The discussion centered around the difference in character of both plans and their presentation: a 'to-do' list versus 'wikicity'. And while the difference between both plans may be less big than their presentation suggested, the Amsterdam audience seemed very interested in a concrete implementation agenda for Amsterdam modeled after the New York approach.
THE GLIMPSES AND THEIR RESPONDENTS
During the afternoon the Glimpses of the future - designed by architecture firms from both cities - were discussed. Five experts responded to the work on show in the exhibition. The ten architecture and landscape architecture firms, together with the audience took part in the discussion afterwards.
The exchange of knowledge on the sustainable future of Amsterdam and New York will continue this summer. Please keep up to date via ARCAM for more programs to follow. Also check the website for more information on the Glimpses and the exhibitions at ARCAM and Center for Architecture New York: ARCAM
Luc Vrolijks & Marlies Buurman
Photo's: Maaike Behm (ARCAM)