JAM * architects + planners is an agency for design and research, which has, almost quite literally, written the book on spatial planning in the Netherlands. Acknowledging the gaps in Dutch urbanisation planning and lessons that can be learned from the South African context, they hope to exchange knowledge at Department of Design.
How can JAM* architects + planners benefit South Africans?
By bringing knowledge and experience to carefully planning every square metre of a country, and by combining Dutch insights into urban area development (processes, policy and governance) through design thinking.
Jeroen Mensink, founder of JAM * architects + planners has developed the Vinex Atlas, a book offering a description and complete documentation of the results of the Vinex, which is a policy document on spatial planning by the Dutch government that created almost a million new houses in 10 years’ time.
The programme also realised public transport, road infrastructure, soil sanitation and the relocation of glasshouses to create room for more houses. JAM* architects + planners will present the Vinex Atlas and exchange knowledge and experience on spatial planning at Department of Design.
How can the Netherlands learn from challenges that South Africa faces?
South African challenges are enormous compared to those in the Netherlands. The differences are bigger and so are the needs. If one can manage the process of urbanisation within this context, it will make it easier for the Dutch to deal with similar issues.
For example, simply look at how South Africans are doing it already. If we only look at inner city development – a Dutch focus for the coming years – the transformation of existing urban areas in Cape Town (and other South African cities as well) with its growing middle class, will be an example for the Dutch.
What do you hope to accomplish at Department of Design?
JAM* architects + planners hopes to accomplish a dialogue between Dutch and South African professionals involved in carefully planning urban areas, in particular. Together with policy makers, urban planners, landscape architects, engineers involved in traffic, water and energy. If possible, all the way from national and regional planning to the scale of architecture and public space.
The metropolitan area of Cape Town is as dense as the Dutch “Randstad” (a metropolitan region consisting of a ring of cities around a so-called ‘green heart’), so we are all dealing with many similar issues.