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Nieuwezijds Kolk

Historically connected to one of Amsterdam’s oldest and most heavily used canals – the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal – this square served many functions as a meeting place, cattle market and as a loading and unloading area for beer.   As with most squares in Amsterdam, its primary function during the better part of 1960s -1980s was as a car
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Nieuwe Doelenstraat

Nieuwe Doelenstraat is famous as the site of the Musketeers’ Meeting Hall (Kloveniersdoelen), where Rembrandt’s Night Watch was first commissioned and displayed from 1642 to 1715. Today this narrow street in the inner city connects key destinations, including Amsterdam’s prestigious Hotel de l’Europe, the Grand Café De Jaren and the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Theatre
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Setting the Urban Agenda: 2016 Study Programs

Amsterdam is internationally recognized for its high quality urban development.  In the first half of 2016, Amsterdam will take a leading role in shaping the future of cities while hosting the EU Presidency.   The key goal is to adopt a declaration creating an European Urban Agenda with a focus on air quality, housing, urban
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Transport Day at COP21: Time for a new vision?

Last month I spent some time with transport professionals in Paris at COP21 for Transport Day.  Here are my thoughts on the event and the way forward. Why transport matters Transport already accounts for a quarter of global energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and is the fastest growing consumer of fossil fuels worldwide.  Much of this growth
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Sustainable Amsterdam Study Tours in 2016!

After successfully piloting a number of study tours in 2015, Sustainable Amsterdam is now offering eight different tours.   All tours discuss the six areas defining a sustainable city: people, governance, environment, economy, mobility and living, in the context of different themes as described below. Note that there will be no public tours in January 2016.  Email cornelia@sustainableamsterdam.com to schedule a
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Reguliersbreestraat

Reguliersbreestraat has long been a busy commercial street leading to Rembrendtplein, Amsterdam’s historic butter market.  Its current design is an acknowledgment that people are better at shopping than cars – although many cities maintain the false notion that parking is good for business.   This redesign illustrates how busy streets can be used to experiment with reduced car
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Maasstraat

Maastraat shows how wider streets can be made safer and more social by adding bike lanes and traffic calming elements.   Particularly wide streets common in North American cities should be seen as an opportunity to create vibrant streets that accommodate many different types of users and activities.  Where there is will, planners and engineers
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Museumplein

Museumplein is the cultural heart of Amsterdam.  Its redesign in the 1990s has turned this space in a true urban “living room”, with many events and festivals now taking place here, along with lingering, relaxing, people-watching and sun-bathing.   The current situation resonates with Jan Gehl’s observation that “a good city is like a good party –
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Haarlemmerplein

At Haarlmeeerplein, traffic was choked and the additional space used to enlarge an existing square.  A weekly market now takes place here on Wednesdays, illustrating the range of functions streets can serve, not just for moving cars, but also as places for human exchange and interaction. Haarlemmerplein ca. 1970s (Amsterdam Archives) & 2015 (Thomas Schlijper)
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Plantage Middenlaan

Plantage Middenlaan illustrates one of the most dramatic street redesigns in Amsterdam in recent years. The current situation is the result of several iterations that incrementally took space from cars and reallocated it to pedestrians and cyclists, until cars were banned completely.  The change from asphalt to grass also helps capture storm water – an
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