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Healthy Tracks

Research by Design for the Amsterdam Zuidoost Railway

With cities worldwide getting denser, it is becoming increasingly important to take basic human needs into consideration in our urban planning. How do we integrate themes such as health and safety in our cities to make them futureproof? The focus should not just be about preventing certain diseases or closing off specific areas, but about incorporating these agendas in our cities as a positive contribution to the urban life.

Amsterdam Zuidoost is divided by the railway zone between the neighborhoods Bullewijk and Amstel III. The municipality now has the ambition to transform it into a spine that positively contributes to the identity of the area with an attractive effect between both sides of the track. To achieve this, the municipality of Amsterdam approached the O-team, established by the Ministry of Interior, to find strategies, supported by three external agencies. Felixx’ contribution focused on the theme of ‘Safety and Health’, two major themes for human wellbeing.

felixx-o-team-concept.jpg

Felixx translated this into three public space models for the railway zone: the multi-loop, the park and the icon. Each model has a different set of qualities, stakeholder participation and scale of influence, and addresses health and safety from its own perspective. Health and safety should not be a particular characteristic of one critical spot, but should be understood as equally as important as other vital infrastructures of our cities.

The multi-loop

felixx-o-team-multiloop.jpg

The multi-loop model for the railway zone recognizes the potential of all sources of health from the surrounding area by connecting them in a coherent structure and by strengthening their identity by making them more accessible. Four thematic loops are identified: the eco-loop, the active loop, the fun loop and the blue loop. Within all proposed loops, the railway zone becomes an integral part of the potential health and safety corridors of Amsterdam Zuidoost.

Eco-Loop

felixx-o-team-multiloopeco.jpg

The eco-loop proposes 17 km of recreational and ecological routes connecting the richness of the landscape for the citizens and biodiversity in the area. The railway zone acts as a recreational amenity within an ecological framework.

Active Loop

felixx-o-team-multiloopsport.jpg

The active loop proposes a double sports track to practice physical activity on a daily basis. The railway zone serves as a collective sports area programmed with new alternatives for physical activity.

Fun Loop

felixx-o-team-multiloopplayground.jpg

The fun loop organizes a safe and healthy tour for children. The railway zone adds fun to the route by using the slope, the trees and the water along the railway and by turning them into a series of islands, cliffs and bridges to cross and jump over.

Blue Loop

felixx-o-team-multiloopwater.jpg

The blue loop proposes 8km of suitable waterway to practice kayaking through Bijlmermeer Polder. The railway zone becomes the starting point of the loop and locates some specific spots to motivate activity in the water.

   

The park

felixx-o-team-modelpark.jpg

The park model for the railway zone proposes to turn the space on both sides of the track into an urban linear park. The park is envisioned with different qualities of existing green along Amsterdam Zuidoost and is positioned to create a new destination where current and planned local streets will converge onto a new front side. It would bring a destination and identity to the railway zone by turning a prevailing feeling of obscurity into something special and safe.

felixx-o-team-park1.jpg

The Icon

felixx-o-team-modelpark.jpg

The icon model for the railway zone proposes turning the railway into a health and safety destination not just for the district but for the city. The icon is designed as a bridge over the road and railway, which is pedestrianized and connects both sides of the railway. It is programmed with many public amenities, both indoor and outdoor, thereby contributing to the overall feeling of safety of the surrounding area.

felixx-o-team-park2.jpg

The three design elaborations should be seen as scenario studies in which health and safety as a design driver have resulted in specific design principles on different scales. These design principles will inform the potential and the future role of the railway zone by acting as a toolbox where health and safety can be addressed differently and can create the context for different spatial qualities.

Year

2018 - 2019

Location

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Type

Research

Client

O-Team
Municipality of Amsterdam

Team & partners

Michiel Van Driessche
Marnix Vink
Deborah Lambert
Eduardo Marin Salinas
Elan Redekop van der Meulen
Thyra Bakker
PosadMaxwan
Studio L A

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  42. Transformation Strategy Gufunes
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