In The Little Street (J. Vermeer, 1658) some details insist on the ambiguity between the outer space of the city and the interior space of the dwellings. A door, cut out in the wall joining the two brick facades, leads to a courtyard whose soil has the same colour of the road one. This speaks about continuity: the road and the living space are linked together. Furthermore, some benches, on the edge of the road, emphasize the relationship between domestic and public spheres. The space between buildings is one of the dominant subject of the painting, a seemingly indistinct void overlooks the uses and suggests a potential versatility: the sidewalk is the place for moving, for resting and, why not, for playing.
In the modernist Bijlmer the void was designed as a pervasive park-land crossed by the infrastructure and surmounted by the residential blocks. Each part - park, infrastructure and residence - was conceived exclusively. The urban renovation has approached the problems of Bijlmer by a systematic reduction of these individual elements and today living conditions have been improved. However, the modernistic idea of public space has been atomized, now it has become a generic space between buildings often underused, sometime abandoned.
Overall there was quite completely overlooked an important work for the cohesion between urban pieces. Now that the “elements” have been fixed, it is time to think about the “space in-between”!
Bijlmer’s unsafe parking garages, such as the one in the project area, have been demolished and substituted with extended open-air parking. This is a large amount of passive surface.
Nowadays free car cities, sustainable mobility and the idea of “no-mobility” (many activities can be done everywhere) are real. Our proposal doesn’t imagine that the car will disappear from the city but, according to the progressive decrease of the car need, we think it is possible to plan a systematic implementation of the Bijlmer’s public space connected to the idea that the parking can play a real role in public space design. Parking can be just one of the several tools that contribute to the design of a public space free from the need of a specific functionality and a space strong enough to absorb during the time the changing of its elements. Without this kind of space the city cannot be productive because as in Veermer’s painting this space simply generates opportunities.
H-buurt has the chance to start his way to be productive.