Large Housing Estates: Ideas, Rise, Fall and Recovery
The Bijlmermeer and beyond
Large housing estates: for some people these three words symbolise all that is wrong in urban planning. Large is wrong, because many people prefer a living surrounding that reflects the human scale. Housing as a single function is wrong, because mixed areas are livelier. And estates are wrong, as these refer to top-down planned areas which the residents themselves have no say in.
Although many such estates function well, others have proved to be in serious problems. The question is how to deal with this legacy. For these estates to recover, an integrated solution is needed. Large-scale problems require large-scale interventions.
The Amsterdam Bijlmermeer area has been the most deprived and stigmatised area in the Netherlands for at least a quarter of a century, despite its glorious design in the 1960s. The Bijlmermeer can now be considered as a leading case for area regeneration. The author has followed this fascinating neighbourhood for years and provides an analysis of its construction, fall and recovery. Moreover, he compares the Bijlmermeer with many other large housing estates in the Netherlands and abroad, and analyses what conclusions may be of use for other areas.