Ghanascapes

January 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

This third year student project was a collaboration between the  Amsterdam Academy of Architecture, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology – Ghana, and the  Ho – Polytechnic, Ghana.

This project aimed to stimulate innovative thinking about architecture and landscape urbanism through an exchange between students from Ghana and the Netherlands. The objective of the studio was to learn from the patterns of settlement and displacement that can be mapped in Ghana as a potential model to adapt and engage with Dutch spatial planning.

from  the complete project website:   ghanascapes.wordpress.com

Participating landscape architecture students from the Amsterdam Academy: Gert-Jan Wisse, Joep Meijer, Milda Jusaite

Project Teachers: John Lonsdale, Rosetta Sara Elkin, Dr. Samuel Addo, Batholomew K.Borlu

Good fences make good neighbors by Gert-Jan Wisse

“Good fences make good neighbors”stelt de Almeerse Kruidenwijk in het perspectief van maatschappelijke veranderingen van vandaag en morgen.

Gebouwd in de hoogtijdagen van de Nederlandse bouwdrift maakt Almere het schoolvoorbeeld van de buitenwijk. Efficiënt opgezet, gericht op gezinnen met kinderen, een huis met een tuin en een auto voor de deur.
De buitenwijk beantwoordde aan een vraag uit de samenleving voor meer privacy om de individualistische sfeer te kunnen huisvesten.

Dit komt duidelijk naar voren in de manier waarop het leven zich afspeelt tussen de strak getrokken lijnen van het verkavelingsplan. De grens tussen de tuin en die van de buren wordt fel verdedigd met schuttingen en mans hoge hagen. Op het moment dat deze kuren begint te vertonen is de nood aan de man, en komt de klussers geest van de Almeerder naar boven. Nauwgezet worden deze dan hersteld, vaak op zeer creatieve wijze.

In “Good fences make good neighbors” worden deze grenzen op de proef gesteld door de regels waarop ze gebaseerd zijn omver te werpen. Het bestemmingsplan wordt gewijzigd, bouw- of kapvergunning zijn niet meer nodig en de mogelijkheid doet zich voor om ruimte te ruilen, te annexeren, van de hand te doen of te delen in goed overleg met de buren.

Op deze manier ontstaat een flexibel landschap dat begint bij de achterdeur en dat per jaar kan meebewegen met veranderende ambities en gezinssamenstelling.

De buurman ziet zijn kans om zijn hobby te verheffen tot onderneming door uw schuur erbij te huren. De overbuurman zet naast zijn tuin ook het grasveld in voor de teelt van zijn lokale, en overigens overheerlijke sperziebonen. De buurvrouw van verderop verdeelt haar tuin en verhuurt de helft samen met haar bovenverdieping uit aan een jong gezin, en de carrière man van drie huizen verderop staat zijn tuin + het onderhoud af aan het gezin met vier kinderen van vier huizen verderop.

De samenstelling van de wijk verandert voortdurend en daarbij de wensen en eisen van haar bewoners. Door de kracht van de natuur te bundelen in snel groeiende hagen ontstaan zeer flexibele erfafscheidingen die mee kunnen bewegen met de belevingswereld van de mensen aan weerzijde. Een groen labyrint van hagen, tuinen en ondernemingen vangt de spannende tijden van economische onzekerheid op in een nieuwe lokale gemeenschap. De grenzen tussen mensen worden onderwerp van onderhandeling en de achtertuin wordt de voorkant van de samenleving.

I Need it, I Maintain it bu Milda Jusaite

In the Amanfrom neighborhood in Danyigba the people maintain the used space themselves. Because they need it, they maintain it. Sometimes as infrastructure, sometimes as crop fields or for any other reason they need it. When the space is not needed, it is left to naturalize and grow wild.

In the neighborhood of Marken in Almere all the maintenance of public space is outsourced to companies who can do this for the lowest price. The consequence of this economic policy is a neighborhood that looks the same as anywhere else. In the case a visitor from Ghana would pass by these areas, he would certainly wonder what this strictly maintained space is used for…

I NEED IT, I MAINTAIN IT is a plan to localize the maintenance. The inhabitants of the neighborhood of Marken should be able to shape their own public space. By giving them the right tools to fulfill their own needs, the neighborhood will become lively and more used. It will give more identity to the neighborhood as people shape the public space to their own needs.

A Little Grid Revolution by Joep Meijer

As seen in Africa: the freedom to make your own urban plan!

Even in Ghana the planners had the perfect final image in their minds when they made the plans. Fortunately, not all was realised and people begun to make it their own.

Nowadays Almere looks exactly as it was once planned. It looks as how the planners had it in mind, it is the final image. But is this then the end? Is this perfection? No. Perfection is found in the transformation, the constant changing of things and the freedom that it can happen: all Almere needs is a kick start. A little spark that ignites and makes this happen.

Danyigba_GHANA: Unexpected doesn’t mean unwanted

The lively and active community of Danyigba is the direct result of not finishing the top down planning. After the plot poles were put in, people more or less turned the situation to their own benefit. The unexpected result of these poles are visible today in the choices the people of Danyigba made…

Zondagshof_almere_netherlands: Realisation doesn’t equal perfection

The neighbourhood of Zondagshof is a clear example of the top down planning that is finished till the end. A grid of clean but empty streets show no life, not even in the weekend. The people live inside their houses, well planned and build by others… Is it possible to bring the power of the pole to almere and give Zondagshof the choice of its own?

1 new grid, 2 simple rules = a little grid revolution!

Imagine the freedom when people in Almere could build in the same way as Danyigba. To build or not to build on your own plot of choice. The possibilities would be endless. New routes would emerge, new buildings, new uses. The existing can change: houses can be left, plants grow wild, roads left neglected. Ruins emerge to get new functions.. But how to start this idea without turning everything into chaos?

To prevent chaos, a new polar grid is applied on Almere. Because the city is build along the grid of the polder of Flevoland, interesting crossing points will land on places where we can not predict them. We can see the result in the model of Zondagshof. It is from these crossing points, that the new urban grid revolution will begin.

THE REVOLUTION

This plan is not made to predict the future, but as the firestarters land on places such as houses and in the middle of the forest, things start evolving. Within in the new framework of the grid endless possibilities will emerge from these simple elements.  New functions are found and made around the firestarters. Some will never be used while others create whole new neighbourhoods. Anything is possible and it is up to the people of almere to take this freedom.

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