A new look on old ideals

Restoring appreciation and quality of life


A neighbourhood in which residents are in close contact with one another, feel involved and are stimulated to organise and participate in activities together. That was the expectation for and idea behind the residential areas that were built in the Netherlands in the 1970s and 1980s. In these neighbourhoods, also called bloemkoolwijken – cauliflower neighbourhoods – due to shape of their design, the human dimension and sense of community were supposed to guarantee an ideal living environment. Unfortunately, the opposite happened far too often. In the neighbourhood of Kersenboogerd in Hoorn, we are working on strengthening these initial ideals with a contemporary twist.

Restoring appreciation and quality of life
What was once meant to be an ideal living environment has turned out in an entirely differently way in Kersenboogerd. The houses, the home zones, play areas, shortcuts and the ever-present greenery evoke a sense of anonymity and even disorientation. The many small and inexpensive houses attract residents who merely see the neighbourhood as an intermediate station. Consequently, they barely connect with their surroundings or use anonymity for undesired activities. For many of these neighbourhoods, the big question is how the appreciation, quality of life, involvement and sense of community can be restored. For Kersenboogerd, housing corporation Intermaris and the municipality of Hoorn – with the support of urban planners, architects and consultants from Inbo – have chosen an approach that ties in with a contemporary way of life, without denying the initial ideals.

High five
The all-encompassing solution consists of five steps. The first part starts with “the closed building block”. By adding houses between the separate complexes, coherent residential complexes are created, each with their own inner area. This intervention will make that inner area really part of the surrounding homes. The second step is making the blocks into residential communities. This can be achieved by placing residents together who have something in common, like age, lifestyle, life phase or a shared activity. The third step is to increase the sustainability of the closed building blocks and to redesign the inner areas to be climate-proof. The fourth step is to deal with the routing in Kersenboogerd. Routes along the building blocks will become main routes, which will improve the orientation within the neighbourhood and make it livelier. Finally, the centre of the neighbourhood, along with its many shops, neighbourhood facilities and its own train station, will be adapted to modern requirements.

Further information: Jesper Gringhuis, Guido Wallagh