Places transformed by people re-inventing everyday life
I CAN CHANGE THE WORLD WITH MY TWO HANDS
by Natascha Hagenbeek
The 1200m2 courtyard had lain fallow for two years, but now twenty eight local residents are growing vegetables there for themselves and their neighbours. Artist Natascha Hagenbeek began in 2010, with her project, I CAN CHANGE THE WORLD WITH MY TWO HANDS. She wanted to show how urban agriculture can work, using an average vegetable garden, which was unusually pro-active in reaching out beyond its borders.
Fifty metres from her own door, Hagenbeek found a place to begin her project, right there in the Landlust neighbourhood, in the Bos and Loomer district in the west of Amsterdam: a large courtyard which was lying fallow and which hadn't been made into an ornamental garden.
A playground group had been based there since the '30s and when Hagenbaak and her gardeners were finally able to start working the ground, pipe bowls and lolly sticks from decades before were turned up.
In 2007, on the initiative of culture entrepeneur Floor Ziegler, a group of creatives went to work to create the Noorderparkkamer: a 'living room' in the future Noorderpark, which lies between four deprived neighbourhoods in North Amsterdam.
The Noordparkkamer is a Swiss wooden pavilion, in the middle of the park, that with its great sliding door shut, fomrs a cosy 'living room' where workshops are organized under themes. With the sliding wall open, the pavilion transforms into a stage, where every week hundreds of visitors come for performances and children's activities on an educational nature.
On Sundays, there is a programma of activities that follows a six week cycle. There, the projects of the Noorderparkkamer can be experienced in full. The themes range from, for example, Wood, Wind, Puppetry, Passions, Crisis Art, Magic, Cotton Wool and Opera, the Film room or Farmers' room etc.
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by Feye van Olden
The Makkie (Piece of Cake) is the initiave of Qoin Foundation, the Eigen Haard housing association, the Makassar Square, and the local council Amsterdam East. In Dutch, it is called the 'Makkie', which comes from the word 'makkelijk', or easy, but translated roughly as a 'piece of cake' in English. It is a piece of cake to do something for someone else.
The word 'Makkie' also refers to the Makassar Square, part of the Indische Buurt. The neighbourhood around Makassar Square struggles with a number of specific problems. The area has above average rates of unemployment, young people loitering in the streets, social isolation and poverty. The neighbourhood has an incredibly diverse population, with more than 50% of the people there originating from outside the Netherlands
What is a Makkie
A Makkie is a note you can earn when you carry out a task for a local resident or neighbourhood organisation. One hour's work gets you one Makkie, half an hour's work gets you half a piece.
An Incubator Street is where artists live and work. Under the guidance of a 'neighbourhood maker', they work together with local residents and businesses on art projecs to make life on the street more beautiful and liveabe. The Incubator Street Foundation's goal is to bring residents and artists togehter on several streets in North Amsterdam, to reveal their creativity and to link it to the neighbourhood, with the projects based on a theme.
The Incubator Streets are: the Marktstraat in the Van der Pekneighbourhood, the Kleurenstraat in the Banne neighbourhood, the Muziekstraat in the Vogel neighbourhood, the Modestraat in Nieuwendam and the Theaterstraat on the Zonneplein.
Each neighbourhood has a 'neighbourhood maker'. This is the spider in the web, who organises activities and brings people into contact with one another. Not only residents, but also businesses and institutions in the neighbourhood.
A pocket is a small, attractive piece of public space in a neighbourhood or district. Through the way that the pocket park is set up and its facilities, it becomes the soul of the neighbourhood, inviting residents to meet and take part in activities.
In this way, a pocket park forms an open air home or hobby room for local residents. Hard pavements, run down sites and street corners can be magically transformed into gathering places - pocket parks. Often, these rocky areas are built to be neutral and anonymous which can encourage anti-social use, such as vandalism or fly tipping. A pocket park is a place with a specific identity made by and for local residents for them to meet, enjoy the weather or take part in activities
Hotmamahot is a creative collective from Amsterdam. The collective is characterised by its members diverse range of talents and abilities. By combining various disciplines the collective is able to work across a number of fields. Hotmamahot works in the following disciplines: graphic design/illustrations, social and cultural projects, furniture building and interior fit-outs, visual art and cultural education.
Hotmamahot has had the use of an old petrol station in North Amsterdam since summer 2010. This petrol station, 'the yellow pump', is the work- and meeting-place of the collective. The yellow pump lies in the middle of the Noorderpark, a large public park.
Hotmamahot does a lot of work for commercial, cultural and community organisations, with ongoing commissions from offices, workshops for schools, cultural exhibitions and festivals. In addition, the collective works on its own initiative to build up capacity in the neighbourhood, out of a sense of engagement with the local community.
Creativity is the ability to create something new. In reality, the new never comes from nothing. Creativity is about transforming the old into the new. You will find examples of this in this guide: new activities and new connections being made between people in old neighbourhoods. These neighbourhoods used to be known for their tight-knit communities and vibrant public realm, but increasingly they are known for the disintegration of these communities and the neglect of the public space.
One of the ways in which residients try to deal with this process of disintegration is through setting up so called 'bottom-up initiatives'. Whether this means tidying up the local square, breathing new life into community services, improving liveaility, providing sport and cultural activities for young people, or organising neighbourhood events, each project tries to create something new from what is already there.
I came into contact with chess for the very first time at an UNESCO project in Marocco looking at how to reach and engage with children. First, the children were offered bread, milk and butter and after that several activities were organised for them, one of these being chess. I have been studying chess since then.
The reason I started to organise chess activities for children in the neighbourhood in 2008 was to help my own children to find friends. It was Mustapha's son Yussef that prompted him to start the chess lessons. "Things weren't going well at school, he had no friends and suffered from a mild form of autism," said Mustapha.
"With the chess lessons I wanted to break my son's social isolation. Soon not only Yussef, but also other children in the neighbourhood became enthusiastic about the game. Things quickly got out of hand!", said Mustapha, laughing.
by Arthur van Beek, Sieto Noordhoorn, Aukje Dekker
The Eddie the Eagle Museum is a permanent experiment by three Amsterdam artist: Arthur van Beek, Aukje Dekker and Sieto Noordhoorn. In their various projects, they invariably set out on the adventure with other artists from all sorts of disciplines. What's more, they reveal people's talents with warmth, regardless of their age, the means by which they express it or how well known someone's name is. The museum makes, supports and shows everything that is impassioned and fearless. This leads to unexpected collaborations, unforeseen artistic expressions and new plans. The museum is a catalyst for moving art forwards.
The Big @li Sports club is named after the man who lit the Olympic flame in Atalanta and is in homage to the best sportsman of the 20th century. The club was set up in October 1995 by its chairman, mr. E.A. Josefa, better knows as Big @li.
The Big @li Sports Club is a multiculral sports club for people participating in recreational sports including tennis, in-line skating, running, football, basketball, jeu de boules and other sports and play activities in the Westerpark district of Amsterdam.
In a society where people are growing more and more removed from each other we, Nina and Nena, have found a way to bring people together in a positive way. We do this through organising street parades. We go around a neighbourhood and gather as many people as possible to join us in making a parade. The parade is therefore made by and for as many people as possible.
We are looking for special characteristics in people that they can use as part of the parade; we offer them a stage. We also add theatrical, visual and musical elements to make the parade even more impressive. Parades are for having fun, celebrating, promoting cheerfulness and improving social cohesion!
Walking with their newborn daughter through the neighbourhood, Iwan Daniëls and Jolanda Hogenbirk realised that, since her birth, the radius that they moved from the house had become rather limited. 'Then, with the buggy, we started to look at what was going on around us in our own neighbourhood and asked ourselves: what's happening here? Is anything happening at all? Where can I get a nice coffee around here?'. The idea for the nicenieuwwest.nl website was born.
The New West district was created in 2010, from the former local council wards Geuzenveld, Slotermeer, Slotervaart and Osdorp. Nieuw West is the largest council district in Amsterdam and houses some 135.000 people of various backgrounds. Nieuw West was marked out as a violent neighbourhood and was often portrayed negatively in the news. Nice Nieuw West want to counter the prejudices about the area by showing that a lot of nice things happen in New West.
World Wide New West is a portrait of Amsterdam's New West neighbourhood, set into a global context by local business people. Seven shops on the Osdorper Ban street, form the heart of the project, from a Turkish baker to an Amsterdam florist.
The entrepeneurs are interviewed and filmed. Their stories and products create multi-coloured strands which reveal links to places all over the world. Local stories are linked via products to countless places on the world map. by mapping these networks, configurations are revealed whcih are spread across the map; this records the stories and makes them accessible. Through the map and the products you see global themes reflected in local stories.
As an artist, Marjolijn Boterenbrood wants to use her own medium (in her case, mapping) to make connections visible and present a broad view. In this case by literally zooming out.
Which route do you prefer to take when you cycle or walk through the city? And where do you like to sit - somewhere sheltered or on the square? What characterises the places in the city that you like to go to?
Architecture and urban design definitely don't determine everything when it comes to the identity of our surroundings. It is the meeting and the interaction between people in a place that determines how we experience it, rather than its spatial characteristics. In public space, interactions take place in countless different forms - from people hurrying past each other, to exuberant meetings between friends. In a nutshell, the dynamic environment in cities is to a large extent dependent on its social structures.
24 July 2011, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. A drizzly day during what should have been summer. Around a hundred people are waiting, getting soaked at an abandoned construction site. The building they are standing around has its windows boarded up with metal grills and has been richly daubed with graffiti. A small group is busy trying to force the entrance. The sparks and noise of a metal grinder disturb the quiet atmosphere.