Transformcity created an online platform that supports bottom-up urban development, allowing all the stakeholders in the Amstel 3 neighbourhood to participate in the changes being made. However, the organisation was facing a lack of use of their platform. Our challenge was to open up the network and involve all stakeholders more in the area development.
How can we support bottom-up urban development in the Amstel 3 area through the Transformcity platform in terms of participation, visibility and lifespan?
Amstel III is a rapidly changing neighbourhood in the south-east of Amsterdam. Currently, it is divided in two contrasting areas. One side is inhabited by low-income residents; while the other is dedicated to offices that employ some of the highest earners in the country. The two sides don’t interact with one another.
The municipality aims to erase the border dividing the area and turn the neighbourhood into one big multi-use district. With Transformcity already being active in the area, we felt they could support this goal as well.
current transformcity platform
To really understand the neighbourhood and its users, we spent as much time as possible in Amstel III. Being in the neighbourhood and talking to locals helped us understand the tension between the two sides of the area.
We discovered that many people feel feel left out of the changes being made in the area. In addition, many residents told us that Transformcity’s presence in the neighbourhood wasn’t strong or visible enough. They saw it as an organisation hidden in a high tower that only has contact with big building owners.
observations in the amstel 3 area
After gaining these insights, we dedicated the rest of our time to creating a visible and accessible ‘entrance’ into the Transformcity network for stakeholders so that they could learn about development and become part of the change. We created several concepts to explore the idea of offline visibility. These concepts were used as means of inquiry for future steps Transformcity could take.
In the exploration, I worked on the idea of projections on the walls of Amstel 3. In this, I took inspiration from the street are sprawled around the neighbourhood and aimed to make Transformcity a natural and non-intrusive part of the environment.
street projections brainstorm
paper prototype street art projections
For our final concept, we decided to work further on the idea of walking routes through the Amstel 3 area. This concept could support the goal of created one connected Zuid-Oost by leading people from one side of the neighbourhood, to the other.
In this concept, we took the ‘treasures’ from the depths of the online world and fittingly named it 'Treasure Hunts'. The walking routes consist of special sidewalk tiles connected with lines. Each of the tiles contains information about neighbourhood projects happening in its direct environment.
Once people are inspired and want to participate in a project, they can use the QR-code on the tile to go to the online platform and become a maker of their neighbourhood.
linking to online
treasure hunts concept
Together with our client we decided that this project should serve as a start for a bigger plan. We were no longer working towards a polished product, but used our insights and inspiration to kickstart further developments. Instead of fully developing Treasure Hunts, we delivered the final work in the form of illustrations showing how the walking routes would be integrated in the area. We took photographs of the neighbourhood and I created the final visuals.
We delivered a documentation of our research along with the visuals. Transformcity would be able to take on these insights and visualisations of the project and develop it further to an implementation stage.
This project was part of the Master Digital Design (2020) of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences in collaboration with ZO!City / Transformcity.