The Zuidas evaluation

the local and supra-local transportation networks. Its peculiarity is that accessibility is not only excellent by public transport, but also by car, given its location on the Amsterdam motorway ring. Reorganization of the national and regional railway networks will further and radically improve its position in public transportation networks. A new metro line connecting it with Centraal station and in the future with Schiphol Airport has received the final green light. The station will be a stop for the HST both to Germany and to Belgium and France. The capacity of the motorway will also grow. However, at present there are still many missing links. The maximum effort must be made to provide not only good national and international transport connections, but also good regional and local connections. The integrated terminal concept being promoted goes in this direction, but a crucial prerequisite is that the model for integration of infrastructure and urban development integration that is eventually chosen should allow enough flexibility for future expansions and adaptations of the infrastructure and the services.

Complementary to the node development, the place element also shows potential. This is the third observation. In many ways, locations such as the Zuidas can be considered the locations of the future. Like other peripheral station areas, Amsterdam Zuid station and its surroundings present an intense spatial-economic dynamic. However, also like other peripheral station areas, its place profile, while containing strong elements, does not have an all-round, complete, and thus self-sustaining character. More importantly than with other more traditional locations appears the need to devise strategies to make currently separate activity blocks into an integrated urban district. For example, prestigious office buildings are already present, but internal integration and, most importantly, integration with other functional elements in the surroundings is very poor. There is still a risk that the area could be trapped in a monofunctional character. An entire range of functions (including housing, shopping, culture and recreation) is either absent or under-represented. The current plans recognize both the original strong and weak points of the location. Diversification and integration of functions are being pursued down to the building parcel level. The task is a difficult one, as historical separation and the presence of massive infrastructure barriers pose many constraints. Also, the issue of complementarity versus competition with other locations in the city, and particularly with the historic centre, is still open.

The fourth and last observation has to do with the context of the development process. In a highly dynamic, rapidly changing context such as that of the Zuidas, it is vital to be aware of the temporal dimension of development. This has meant identifying transformation processes already largely under way, both in the property and the transportation sphere, and producing a planning framework to allow for increased integration and a flexible evolution. Inevitably, together with opportunities, conflicts will intensify in the area. Extensive dependence on infrastructure investment and on market demand produces uncertainties. Reciprocal dependence between the far-reaching transformations envisaged in both the node and the place dimensions increases them. In answering this, the Zuidas master plan will provide a 'hard' framework binding the choices of public administrations and shaping guarantees for market actors. At the same time it will have a step-by-step character: combinations of subprojects that are, as far as possible, autonomous will eventually lead to legally binding local plans. Key decisions on infrastructure and land-use issues structure the development process. The need to keep options open for as long as possible has been a guiding criterion. Crucial, but not yet fully achieved, is agreement on a model for the integration of infrastructure and urban development that allows sufficient autonomy to both transport and property developments, while exploiting the possible synergies.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment