The People’s Democratic Republic of Columbusplein

Uit, 06-02-2014

The city of Amsterdam and its social workers had tried many things to make the Columbusplein, a square in De Baarsjes neighbourhood in the western part of Amsterdam, more liveable. The square contains a basketball field, a playground and a community centre where one can take photography or dance classes. Surrounding the square are five-storey high apartment blocks built in the typical and very popular Amsterdam School style dating to the beginning of the twentieth century. There’s clearly no lack of facilities or infrastructure, so something else must have been missing.

“There are problems like bullying and a lack of a community spirit in the neighbourhood,” says Jorge Mañes Rubio, one of the designers involved in the project. “This is an area with quite a negative image in the rest of the city.”

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