Revitalizing the post-war neighborhood

Towards inclusive and strategic new perspectives for Schiedam Nieuwland

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The neighborhood of Nieuwland, located in Schiedam, Zuid-Holland is one example of the many post-war neighborhoods the Netherlands offers. It formed the extension of Schiedam’s city center and consisted of a clear functionalist lay-out upon its completion in 1965, characterized by monotony, frugal architecture, and a clear separation of functions and traffic. Although initially inhabited by a relatively homogeneous population of predominantly Dutch working class families, this is not the case currently: after several decades, the population shifted towards a more heterogeneous mix of inhabitants, with a significantly stronger presence of lower income households and households with a migration background. For two reasons, socioeconomic and sociospatial issues increased as a result of this shift. Firstly, because the neighborhood became poorer in general. Secondly, because it became harder for the people of this neighborhood to live together, as the amount of cultural backgrounds and ways of living started to increase. 
There have been several plans to mitigate the issues at hand in Nieuwland in the past. It became one of the Vogelaarwijken in 2007 for example. However, things have still not improved as much as in other neighborhoods. Meanwhile, the way we (re)develop neighborhoods in the Netherlands has shifted, as the focus on inner city redevelopment has been growing in contemporary strategies that try to combat national issues like the Dutch housing shortage. Through this we could say that there is a certain necessity to find new ways to effectively redevelop Nieuwland. One innovative approach for this is to get to understand the citizens perspective of the neighborhood, and use this to discover what is not working and what can be improved in Nieuwland.
In this graduation project, the fieldwork technique of narrative cartography has been used to attempt to get an interpretation of this citizen perspective. 12 interviews have resulted in that many verbal and visualized stories (through the creation of narrative maps), showcasing how the inhabitants of Nieuwland experience the neighborhood, what their routines look like, how and with whom they interact, and what they would improve. 
From this, design principles have been developed that have been applied to redevelopment proposals for the central part of Nieuwland (which is the area where most interviews have been held). Combined with two other important perspectives - that of non-citizen stakeholders (housing association and municipality) and the urban designer - a framework has been developed and used for establishing these design proposals. A general vision for this part of Nieuwland has been created, and focus area have been selected and worked in detail to showcase how delicate, nuanced and feasible interventions based on predominantly the perspective of the current inhabitants of Nieuwland can lead to an inclusive and strategic redevelopment of the neighborhood.