Dutch Treat: How to Use the Space Under the BQE
We've been in Holland plenty of times, but we'd never heard of Zaanstadt until the super-superb blog Pruned brought it to our attention. We instantly noted the similarity between the landscape lemon that Robert Moses handed to Brooklyn in the form of the neighborhood slicing BQE and and the lemonade that similarly chanllenged Dutch planners made.
Pruned, if you haven't clicked over to it before, is a superb blog that cover landscape architecture and planning issues in an intelligent and entertaining way. They feature things like the Cold War National Park in Latvia and a former KGB Prison turned KGB Hotel and GPS Pigeons used to monitor air pollution (Eureka!!! A productive use for them!). A wonderful blog to check out if you're motivated to think about planning-related things outside Brooklyn.
In any case, our Dutch friends converted space under their elevated highway to very community friendly spaces:
Below a highway overpass that has split a neighborhood in the Dutch city of Zaanstadt for decades, you can now find a supermarket, soccer fields, a skatepark, a fishmonger and a florist, a basketball court, and a car park...Designed by NL Architects, presumably with input from the local government and the public, the “intervention provides a quick solution to re-establishing the connection between the two parts of the divided township whilst also regenerating a space that had become dead, literally and symbolically in the shadow of the flyover.”We've always loved that European planning-speak. And, before you crack any jokes about how the area under the BQE is already a "car park," check out a couple of the photos below.