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CRUQUIUS COMMONS [ projects, urban ]
Over a number of years the Cruquius Industrial area bordering the fully developed Eastern Harbor District will be developed into a mixed use area. The development combination that currently owns 70% of the area is looking for a strategy that will help them manage the complex transformation over the years, and that will create an attractive lively new part of the city. Public space needs to be used as a lever to enable change.

Despite its beautiful location on the water of the Entrepothaven, access to the water is effectively blocked by the current lay out of the private plots on the waterside. The challenge is how to overcome the initial economic constraints that prevent owners to open up their plots to the water, whilst making sure that the increased value of the area that evolves from an accessible developed waterside flows back to the owners of the plot.


Informed by Richard Sennett's thoughts on the Open City and Elinor Ostrom's studies on the commons, Elastik proposes to create a strip of semi-public land along the water with access to the public road on every individual plot. The original developer of the area initiates this growing stretch of semi-public land by (when each individual plot is developed) transferring ownership of the land along the water and towards the main public road to a newly founded co-operation and getting shares in this co-opreation in return. Naturally the value of the shares reflects the value of the land. The co-operation is managed by a board in which all stakeholders have a seat. In each case the developer and the city have a chair. In its articles of incorporation the co-operation states the terms of use of the newly created semi-public land and how it connects to the public land. It also states what each owner should contribute to maintain the waterside. Each buyer of a new plot will be required to transfer ownership of the waterside to the co-operation and receive shares in turn. When, in time, a developed plot is sold, the new buyer is required to also buy the share in the co-operation that corresponds to his plot's part of the collectively held waterfront. The original owner is thus reimbursed for the entire original value of the plot.


This scheme allows for a carefully managed, cash flow friendly transformation over time, in which all owners and stakeholder maintain an interest in and benefit from new collective use of a part of their land. The newly created access to the water allows the city to develop wooden public platforms in the water that are open to any kind of public use. Since a strip of the waterfront on each plot will not be build, the waterfront is liberated from the shade to create a dynamic and thriving new area in Amsterdam. The development is stimulated by mixing public and private into a new privately held commons.


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