Platform31 knowledge and network organization for city and region

Panorama Holland shows what Holland could look like in 2050. In 2018, the government architect for the Board of Government Advisors (CRa) offered the country an optimistic view. This was later made more concrete in the improvement of suburbs: the suburbs of the city (or village), between the more central city and the outskirts.

This fine-tuning took place in the Panorama Lokaal competition. A design team won in seven suburbs across the country. “Correct. Here are opportunities”, was the conclusion during the closing event for Panorama Lokaal in September 2020. The competition ended with a rich harvest of plans, the announcement of the winners and a beautiful final release that will make the city edges future-proof. And also with that conclusion , that the real work only started then: The path from winning design to actual implementation.That implementation does not come by itself.Therefore, CRa organized a process of intervention and knowledge exchange between the seven neighborhoods, led by Frank Wassenberg and Wessel van Vliet from Platform 31 .

The last meeting for this project was held in Utrecht in June, where municipalities, companies, design offices and residents’ organizations from the various neighborhoods were represented. With Wouter Veldhuis (State Adviser for the Physical Living Environment) and Josse de Voogd (Electoral Geographer and Publicist) as rapporteurs, those present entered into a discussion. What about the implementation of the plans, almost two years later? What did the coalitions encounter, and how is the state of the city in 2022?

All districts continued to work on and on the submissions in different ways. In Westervoort, the winning team is involved in the neighborhood development, in Haarlem Schalkwijk, the designers continue to work in a Living Lab in Boerhaavewijk, and in Emmen Bargeres, a neighborhood vision (pdf) was established based on the winning Panorama Local contribution. In Julianadorp Den Helder, Panorama Lokaal led to the development of a multifunctional sports and cultural park, in Rotterdam Beverwaard the winning team has further elaborated ‘the recipes for a climate-safe neighborhood’, and in Westwijk in Vlaardingen is an integrated area vision. developed.


Josse de Voogd reflected on the district in general. He argues for more pride in these neighborhoods where half of the Dutch live. Who do not really live in urban areas, but not in the countryside either. The ‘middle country’, which suffers from being average. There are no alarming statistics leading to the attention and action of politicians and governments. In the meantime, however, we are increasingly seeing a gradual decline in these neighborhoods and people ‘falling off’. De Voogd wrote about this in the recently published Atlas van afhaakt Nederland. They are forgotten neighborhoods: The biggest problem is lack of attention.

CRa member Wouter Veldhuis emphasizes that we face major challenges in the existing city and expresses his concern that politicians are focusing on ‘the new’. But what you invest in the existing neighborhoods has the biggest impact on the population now. It is necessary to focus on neighborhood improvement and not to focus limited capacity and attention on new locations: in this way, we miss opportunities in the existing city and governments lose the mandate and trust of the inhabitants. We need to build where people are: and a large part live in ‘Panorama Local Areas’. They fill a key position for future tasks.

One of Panorama Lokaal’s conclusions is that more attention is needed to the urban suburbs, the forgotten suburbs of the Netherlands. ‘The Midlands’, which gets some attention. It is neither new nor new, and there are always other neighborhoods where major problems are at stake. We see this Central Land slowly slipping, problems are getting bigger, housing satisfaction and desire are falling and more underprivileged people are flocking. At the same time, this is where great challenges lie for the future: an aging population, depopulation (small households), sustainability (slightly energy-efficient construction), the deterioration of public areas and the quality of life that is under pressure.

It is good to be more aware of these somewhat forgotten suburbs. If it’s up to Platform31, it’s going to happen in our future applications as well.

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