In 1987, when the Amsterdamse Poort shopping centre opened in the Bijlmer district of Amsterdam, it was light years ahead of its time. The Poort sold exotic products found nowhere else in the Netherlands. With over 130 cultures, generations and lifestyles, Amsterdamse Poort was a unique, culturally diverse district. Over the years, Amsterdamse Poort lost a little of its soul, and its ties with its communities faded. Now, in 2020, the area is ripe for radical renewal. This profound transformation coincides with the expansion of Zuidoost, one of Amsterdam’s most vital urban districts. How do you achieve this metamorphosis collaboratively with all the people who live, work and play there? How do you nurture the distinctive spirit of Zuidoost in an area that is constantly evolving?
Our biggest challenge is to ensure that despite the radical renewal and transformation Amsterdamse Poort retains its authentic Zuidoost identity and is a great place where everyone feels at home. Current residents, entrepreneurs and visitors, and people who come to live here in the future, and the staff of companies that will settle here. Poised to become a buzzing urban hub in multicultural Amsterdam, Amsterdamse Poort will exude a strong and unique sense of community.
In rising to this challenge, we’ve partnered with owner CBRE Global Investors (CBRE GI) to develop a strategy to reinvigorate the Poort as an urban hub for the whole of Zuidoost over the next ten years. We refine this process with feedback and ideas from entrepreneurs, residents and visitors to municipalities, community initiatives and co-developers.
Great places are created by everybody. That’s why we’ve teamed up with owner CBRE GI, developer 3W, manager CBRE, the municipality of Amsterdam and many local parties specialising in programming, concept development, placemaking and place testing, and participation. And because Amsterdamse Poort has to be a place that belongs to everyone, it’s crucial to have the input of local entrepreneurs, residents, community organisations and creative minds.
Every day we’re guided by the shared ambition that we defined with all key players: Amsterdamse Poort is becoming the heart of Zuidoost, destined to be a vibrant, buzzing place. A culturally diverse district with great dining choices, fashion, urban arts and leisure offerings and a seamless blend of local entrepreneurs and international brands.
This project is a ‘work in progress’. But we are already busy! Even before the first shovel hits the ground. Through ongoing research we’re learning how people use the area and the features they’d like to see here in the future. And through placetesting we’ve already created job opportunities for local businesspeople and creative minds. Our research helps us to identify which extra functionalities and concepts are needed in Amsterdamse Poort. Zuidoost is a district brimming with young talent, and they’ll also have a chance to put their ideas to the test. By taking stock and experimenting, we’re able to design a unique programming, connect with younger generations, and strengthen their sense of connectedness with Amsterdamse Poort. Together, we’re reigniting ‘passion for the Poort’.
Photo’s: Randy Da Costa