Amsterdam Human Capital by Willem Salet, Sako Musterd

By Willem Salet, Sako Musterd

The altering spatial association of town of Amsterdam displays a larger-scale approach: the commonplace form of Western towns is altering around the globe. for hundreds of years, the city center used to be taken without any consideration because the point of interest for foreign contacts and daily actions. The essays amassed right here contemplate how city areas were transformed—not in simple terms spatially yet socially, economically, and culturally—into multi-centered metropolitan arrays, with individuals interpreting the hot city identities which may emerge from such altering stipulations.

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One crucial feature in all these designs was the notion of symmetry, or “equilateralness” as Stevin called it. This symmetry, writes Bakker, must have fascinated the designers and builders of the Renaissance, from the aesthetic point of view as much as anything. “It goes against my heart,” Prince Maurice once told Stevin when he was forced to deviate from “equilateralness” in the building of a fortress – although the Prince had no explanation for this emotional response. Bakker illustrates his article with several little-known preliminary designs for the 1610 expansion of Amsterdam.

In 1615, he observed, “My lords have thus far proceeded with this work as if in a labyrinth, without being able to arrive at any result” (Taverne 1978: 157). He denounced the way in which speculation and uncontrolled construction were tolerated, but his resistance was not solely of a technical nature. For him these were just as importantly symptoms of the cliques being formed amongst the regents, who were primarily out for money and sinecures. History repeated itself during the next great wave of expansion, two and a half centuries later.

After Berlage’s cultural socialism, scientific socialism was now setting the tone. The General Expansion Plan (Algemeen Uitbreidingsplan, AUP) was presented in 1934. It soon acquired international fame, because never before had such a plan been compiled so systematically and based upon so much research. Its creator, Cornelis van Eesteren, had a scale model of the entire city built in the attic of the City Hall. Here, on an overhead walkway, he would spend entire days with his visitors, philosophizing about the urban tissue beneath their feet (Roegholt 2001).

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