Nov 2018 - Living is a verb

Living is a verb.

The current demand for housing is huge. Looking at it in terms of the housing market, this seems to be a quantitative issue, but on the other hand, we are increasingly often asked to think about liveability. With a good combination of design, organisation and assignment, we can create real neighbourhoods together.

I recently spoke to someone whose 90-year-old mother lives in Amsterdam’s red-light district. She is getting demented, and I asked how she still managed to live on her own. The answer was typical for Amsterdam, yet, with tourism continuously increasing its pressure, nearly beyond belief: ‘She is being watched extremely closely. I once stood in front of her house with a group of friends, and a madam from across the street immediately showed up to ask why we were standing there. And I recently opened the door to a gentleman whom I didn’t know, but who has been pushing her around the neighbourhood in her wheelchair every week for years and who drinks a cup of coffee with her on the Nieuwmarkt.’

More and more often, we hear about and see the need of local residents for a revived solidarity. Today of all times, in the era of social media, there is a need for places where people can meet and have a chat merely because they know each other’s face, without the need to know everyone’s name. Where there is time and incentive to do something together.

This is something we also notice whenever we work on liveability projects in neighbourhoods with a social disadvantage. That is where our combination of advisors, process managers, urban planners and architects can make a difference, together with owners and government. We can support and activate the residents in a positive way, and people who are active create a happier community. Living is a verb.

In this overheated housing market, it sometimes seems that our job is to create pretty investment products, with the added bonus that people can live there. But living is more than just a pleasant little space for yourself. Let’s keep working on that together.

With warm greetings,
Aron Bogers, Bert van Breugel, Josine van Gulik, Tako Postma