Almere Study Tour 2019
Bring together 21 architects, planners, masterplanners, developers and sustainability consultants; add several inches of heavy persistent rain; 66,000 steps; a few G&Ts and the occasional mojito.... and what do you get? A cracking study tour visiting Almere and their huge self-build district.
Spawforths have just spent a most enjoyable three days in Almere and Amsterdam, learning more about the Homeruskwartier district which has very few restrictions on what people can build. This kind of approach is very unusual in Europe and would certainly cause a few eyebrows to be raised in the local planning offices in the UK!
The lack of restrictions has, however, encouraged a diverse population and wide range of architectural styles. Whilst some areas appear more successful than others, it is certainly a fascinating and informative place to visit.
Jacqueline Tellinga, one of the original masterplanners of Almere Poort in 2006, gave us all an insight into how the council approached the enormous task of promoting and developing the site and then showed us around the area on a guided tour.
This innovative experiment is sited on a 100 hectare (250 acre) extension to the south west of Almere, on land reclaimed from the sea. The whole area was masterplanned by the local council who also financed and installed the local infrastructure required. The plots were then sold at a fixed rate per square meter using a simple A4 passport listing the any restrictions.
Since its inception most of the 1,200 self-build plots have now been sold and much of the site is now developed. If the individuality and bravery of such an approach can shine through on an October day in the pouring rain, then they must have done something right!
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