Urban Community Building Strategies and Design Practices under the Concept of Self-Organization – Taking the Example of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

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Submission Summary
Self-organization, the opposite concept to hetero-organization, is gradually formed by the coordinated interaction of internal elements. In traditional urban and rural spaces, this phenomenon is more common in the suburbs of western cities or rural settlements. Due to less control over power, collective demands to reconcile common and self-interest are gradually formed among residents, based on which behavioral patterns and methods with universal social identity in the region are formed. These are materialized in the pursuit of unified values of public space, architectural function, and environmental quality. As urban sprawl and renewal continue to evolve, urban decision-makers and planners recognize the importance of traditional self-organizing models and philosophies as an important way to create a harmonious and inclusive social environment, where rigid uniform planning and coercive management can wipe out its potential positive effects. In this context, taking Amsterdam, the Netherlands as an example, this paper summarizes the typical characteristics of self-organized communities such as self-built housing, shared facilities and costs, home-bound profession and sustainable development by analyzing several classic cases of self-organized communities (including Almere oosterwold, Homeruskwartier, Amsterdam north, and De Ceuvel). Specifically, 1) in residential construction, towners have the freedom to design what they want as long as it meets building codes; 2) in public services, residents decide whether to build public services, such as roads, through discussion and then share the cost; 3) in home-bound professions, residents have the freedom to conduct self-employment activities in their homes, such as bed-and-breakfasts and studios; and 4) in sustainability, communities practice sustainable practices by utilizing clean energy, recycled water, and environmentally friendly building materials. Based on the above features, this paper proposes a model of urban community space creation under the concept of self-organization. Self-build housing, shared facilities, and sustainability are the core features of this model. First, Self-build housing highlights the independence of residents in the design and construction of their homes, with greater discretion within the government's zoning. Secondly, the setting, type, and scale of public facilities and spaces are decided jointly by the inhabitants of the area, and construction and management are based on shared governance. In addition, sustainability emphasizes energy efficiency in the design and construction of self-built housing and public facilities, as well as the integration of regional considerations into ecological planning and design. Therefore, such a community space model emphasizes flexibility and variability without blueprint schemes. Its functional arrangement tends to be more infill and segmented, and public space can guide the creation of clusters and promote social interaction and cohesion. The paper concludes with a design practice based on this theoretical model in the Amtel III area (Suburb office park) in the Netherlands. Design strategies such as infill development, self-build plots, common centers, and public spaces are used to achieve self-organized and managed urban communities, thus activating office areas that are declining in space due to single-use. While this theoretical model to design practice has shown good results, the realistic social effects and spatial context have yet to be retrospectively assessed after implementation.
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6: Creating Healthy and Inclusive Urban Environment
Faculty of Architecture, the University of Hongkong
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