Reuniting Planning and Health

Healthy Cities 21st Century

GWL Terrein Urban Eco-area, Amsterdam

GWL Terrein Urban Eco-area, Amsterdam (Source: GWL Terrein)

This is an urban infill development for 600 residential units for approximately 1400 people about three miles from the centre of Amsterdam. The local community and future residents were involved in planning the new development. The development is designed along the principles of ecological living and includes areas for local food growing and elements to increase biodiversity, such as a number of bird boxes incorporated into the design. It has been built on the site of an old waterworks and makes good use of the existing buildings to help create a distinctive sense of place for the development while also being very well connected via public transport to the rest of the city. Only one in six dwellings have a car parking space; other facilities include a car pool (electric cars), a bicycle hire scheme and bike trailers for loan.

Key lessons

  • Local residents involved in the design and development of the project, pushing for a new development approach based on car-free living and community cohesion
  • The umbrella organization Koepelvereniging was created to promote the original intentions of the development, funded by local residents and housing associations
  • The City of Amsterdam has implemented many policies to encourage cycling and walking and to reduce car use with GWL Terrein residents having a 50% bicycle mode share compared to the City’s 30%
  • The area is well-connected to existing transportation modes
  • The basic principles for high sustainability standards for the sites were set out in the local planning document – Urban Planning Schedule of Requirements (SPvE) – in 1993

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