Local craftsmanship in a rapidly transforming area
About the pilot area
Historically known for shipbuilding and repair, the neighbourhood of Amsterdam Noord has emerged as a rapidly transforming hub for circular activities and innovation. Despite its industrial nature, the neighbourhood maintains 7.6% green space share, with a population density of 1,778 people per square kilometer, accommodating a diverse mix of communities and industries. The heritage status of certain parts of the neighbourhood such as Buiksloterham and the NDSM-werf bridges the gap between industrial history and a sustainable future.
Buiksloterham, as one of the last industrially utilized areas in Noord, acts as an inner-city production center and an important neighbourhood for closing the loop on urban waste streams through remanufacturing, recovery and recycling.
However the pressing need for housing in the Amsterdam area has led to the conversion of remaining industrial land into residential use, presenting the neighborhood with challenges such as the termination of rental contracts for small business and makers in the area. Additionally, the neighborhood faces other issues including the low availability of green spaces, industrial pollution and gentrification.
For the CENTRINNO Cartography, WAAG, Pakhuis de Zwijger and HMC (the local wood and furtniture college) have set out to portrait local makers and highlight their contribution towards local circularity. The goal of Amsterdam’s Cartography is to become an integral part of Maakschap Amsterdam - a lobbying forum for Amsterdam’s makers developed throughout the project. Maakschap Amsterdam has the mission to communicate to local policy makers why makers are needed to achieve the city’s circular economy goals.
FOLLOW AMSTERDAM'S CARTOGRAPHY JOURNEY
Amsterdam's urban challenges
Housing - lack of living and working space for affordable prices
Soil pollution - former industrial activities leave soils polluted and inadequate for circular land use
Land use change - green space is disappearing
Economic inclusion - disappearance of makers
Which insights have been gathered by our local context detectives?
Read through our gallery of local anecdotes, research findings and in-depth analysis
Soils never forget
GHOST STORIES BELOW OUR FEET
Amsterdam, Nethlerlands - Soils in Amsterdam are largely polluted. According to soil zone maps of the city, Noord has several sites with industrial soils, classified as very contaminated. Some are even Zone 7, counting as severely contaminated.
In Noord, contamination with zinc, nickel and copper mostly traces back to industrial activities. But lead contamination, which is also a major issue in Amsterdam, is mostly an issue around the ring road from leaded fuel combustion and in post-war neighbourhoods where lead paint was still used.
Remediating this soil by simply replacing the polluted soil with new soil, is a costly intervention. Luckily, there are other methods for soil regeneration. For example, the former industrial shipyard De Ceuvel uses phytoremediation of soils, which involves the introduction of certain crops and plants that naturally clean the polluted soil. This space for experimentation is well appreciated by the city government, also due to its further sustainability goals and community work. Yet, De Ceuvel is facing closure due to the ending temporary rental contract and the need for new-built housing in the area.
Zones 5, 6 & 7 are usually seen as polluted. Source: Bodemkwaliteit - Maps Amsterdam
Parallel to Amsterdam’s efforts to understand city and neighbourhood-wide urban challenges, the team has embarked on a journey to get to know the local maker community, their resources and concerns
Who was mapped
Businesses in repair and remanufacture
To build a sense of trust with local stakeholders
To understand the challenges of local makers with respect to urban development
To identify existing circular makers and potential new connections
To map the disappearance of makers in the future
How was it useful for the Amsterdam pilot team?
Created maps that could be used in public discussions with policy makers
Embedded maps on Maakschap Amsterdam - a platform that unites makers to lobby for inclusive policy making
The mapping of makers in Noord was done by a dedicated team member who used an interview guide in informal conversations with makers
What local resources were mapped?
Tools & equipment
What else was asked?
Length and renewal status of current rental contracts
Existing involvement in Circular Economy initiatives
How was data collected?
In-person informal interviews, collected by a dedicated team member during two summers
A dedicated mapping champion who can engage in direct conversations with individuals facilitates the process
The cartography made the large set of data easy to visualize and share with stakeholders
The visual representation helps to communicate the story effectively and engage with the community
Which circular opportunities were identified or explored for further research?
Space sharing - The pilot identified other existing development initiatives that work as a community-based land trust to lock in land for circular makers and community project. Together, they have explored the opportunity of a sharing model for tools, space and infrastructure for local productive businesses.
Open Workshops - The pilot engaged local studios and workshops across Amsterdam Noord in regular open evenings to bring more visibility to makers and their value for urban life.
Circular Neighbourhood Show - Engagement of local schools in which students designed circular products
Makers of Noord Exhibition - Neighbourhood portraits of local (circular) makers to increase visibility of makers in Noord
Connecting policy makers with makers - During the final year of CENTRINNO, Maakschaap Amsterdam has become an active alliance in which makers unite to lobby for better policy making for makers in Amsterdam. Read one maker's emotional plea for spaces for makers on the CENTRINNO Living Archive