MVRDV just announced that it is working with the town of Almere, Holland on a revolutionary new do-it-yourself approach to city planning. Called Almere Oosterworld, the project bucks the trend of governmental planning and invites town residents to design their own city. Situated on reclaimed land, the project will give residents the opportunity to design the town of their dreams with the help of the internationally acclaimed architecture firm.
Urban planning in the Netherlands has become somewhat predictable, resulting in cookie cutter towns that are almost too perfect. In order to diversify, Almere first began constructing individually designed homes in some of its neighborhoods. Now uniquely designed urban space is the next step.
The farmland to the east of the town will be the site for this flex space, which will combine urban farming, living, and leisure. Half of it will be for food-producing farms that will feed Almere with local, sustainable foods. The rest of the space is up to the town’s residents. Under MVRDV‘s plan, the only restrictions are that the area remains 59% urban agriculture, 2% water, 13% public green space, 8% roads, and 18% construction, which will ensure that Almere Oosterworld retains its urban/rural character.
When designing the town, residents can either work together, or set up collectives that share the work and green spaces. Golf courses, plantations, farming collectives, and individual villas are all options that the townspeople can explore, according to their desires and lifestyles.
This new urban planning system makes the government a facilitator instead of a director – it serves to help realize the wishes of the people actually living in new towns and small cities. The Dutch government and MVRDV feel that a town centered around its residents’ needs will inspire more pride and responsibility in the people who live there.