Amsterdam wins ISOCARP Award of Excellence

Amsterdam wins ISOCARP Award of Excellence

Amsterdam’s Structural Vision for 2040 has been awarded the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) 2011 Award for Excellence. President of ISOCARP Mr Ismael Fernández Mejía presented the award to the City of Amsterdam Alderperson for Spatial Planning Maarten van Poelgeest on Wednesday, 26 October during the 47th ISOCARP World Congress in Wuhan, China. Zef Hemel, Deputy Director of Amsterdam’s Department of Physical Planning, was one of the keynote speakers at the event.

Jury report
The City of Amsterdam won the award in the ‘City Planning’ category. Composed of prominent planning experts from all over the world, the jury made the the following comments:

“The Structural Vision: Amsterdam 2040 will no doubt prove to be hugely significant for the future development of the City of Amsterdam and the surrounding region but also, in a more general sense, to all of its citizens and the urban community of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area as a whole.”

“We believe that it is a landmark for the professional planning world. In many ways, this extraordinary plan adds a new and innovative chapter to the long tradition of structural city planning. The city has been both liveable and vibrant for many decades and the plan proves that Amsterdam is determined to maintain and further improve these qualities for future generations.”

“We believe that the innovative process that led to the plan is a fundamental factor in its success. It has resulted in an exemplary model and innovative planning instrument of international significance.”

An Amsterdam tradition
Introduced by the City of Amsterdam on 17 February 2011, the Structural Vision: Amsterdam 2040 is the tenth major plan of its kind for the Dutch capital. The first – the legendary General Extension Plan – was introduced more than 75 years ago in May 1935.

Since then, the city has produced a new integrated, forward-looking vision for the entire metropolitan area every seven years on average. The Structural Vision: Amsterdam 2040 continues the Amsterdam tradition of formulating coherent plans in a democratic manner, but it differs from its predecessors in one important regard: rarely has a long-term perspective for Amsterdam been so emphatically developed from the bottom up, proceeding from a multitude of interests and drawing on contributions from every section of society.

With this award, ISOCARP’s members acknowledge and express their esteem for a planning tradition that extends back many decades while also recognising the procedural innovation that Amsterdam has implemented. This open planning process previously won the Eurocities Award for Participation (November 2010, Zaragoza, Spain).

The Free State of Amsterdam
The ‘binnen30minuten’ internet campaign (‘within 30 minutes’ being indicative of the city’s radius of influence as well as accessibility from the surrounding region within half an hour) and the ‘Free State of Amsterdam’ event were the highlights and culmination of the open planning process.

In 2009, Amsterdam residents could share their ideas and recommendations for the Amsterdam of the future via the website. There were three different rounds of consultation spread over a 10-month period. In autumn 2009, the ‘Free State of Amsterdam’ event gave residents of the city an opportunity to devise a personal programme for the city’s future in a comprehensive series of narratives and debates.

The event also featured an exhibition of scale models at Amsterdam’s Tolhuistuin. This open methodology made it possible to make the best use of all the expertise, insights, desires, dreams and experiences of thousands of engaged Amsterdam citizens. It also ensured that the resulting vision of Amsterdam as an economically robust, liveable and sustainable metropolis enjoys broad public support.

ISOCARP stands for the International Society of City and Regional Planners, a global association of planners and urbanists. Founded in 1965, it unites professionals from more than 80 countries around the world.

The annual ISOCARP Awards for Excellence are presented to local, regional or national institutions and/or governmental bodies that have made an important contribution to the fields of urban development and spatial planning, whether in terms of content, process management or innovation.

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