Sunday, May 12, 2013

Amsterdam's Zuidas District

            The Zuidas city district is located just south of the historical center of Amsterdam, along the A-10 Ring Road.  Plans for the district originally began in 1997, and the area is not anticipated to be completed until 2040.  Zuidas literally means South Axis in Dutch, but it is also known as the “Financial Mile”.  The
district was originally planned as a business district when a coalition of interested stakeholders, which included ING Group, ABN-Amro, and Akzo Nobel, began leading the market by consolidating their headquarters in the area.  In 2012, Zuidas district was rated the Best Office Location in the Netherlands by the real estate consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle.  The ranking is based on 40 different criteria in three categories:  geographical location, quality, and market & policy.

Zuidas District Plan
            But the Zuidas district is more than just business.  The area is approximately 270 hectares (1.0425 square miles) and is surrounded by two large parks and situated between two popular residential areas.  In additional to being home to over 400 companies, Zuidas contains over 600 apartments.  An additional 9,000 homes are planned for development in the Gershwin, Vivaldi and Kop Zuidas areas.  The goal is a mixed use urban space containing 44% offices, 44% housing and 12% facilities.  The district currently includes the Vrije University Amsterdam, the Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Convention Center, 12 schools, 2 hotels, 5 childcare centers, and a synagogue.  There are also planned events such as the Zuidas Run, Zuidance, and regular outdoor concerts.
            Amsterdam Zuid Station, located in Zuidas, is the 5th busiest passenger station in the Netherlands and currently serves 65,000 passengers per day, with an expected 10% increase in passengers per year.  Services include train, Metro (mixed rapid transit and light rail), tram, and bus.  From the station, it takes about eight minutes to get to Schiphol Airport and less than ten minutes to the historical center of Amsterdam.  In addition to the airport, there are high speed rail connections to Rotterdam, Belgium, England, France and Germany.  Zuidas is a highly accessible area with 38% of people arriving by public transport, 30% by automobile, and 30% by bicycle.
A 10 Motorway
            The ZuidasDok Project has been proposed to expand the Zuid Station for greater transfer capacity between the rail, metro, tram and bus; improved connections for pedestrians and cyclists; and new facilities and storage for more than 10,000 bicycles.  The ZuidasDok Project is also looking to expand and improve the A10 motorway.  New lanes will be constructed to improve traffic flow to the south, and local traffic will be separated from through traffic to cut down on merging and congestion.  When completed, the A10 will consist of twelve lanes, four for through traffic and two for local traffic, in each direction.  The A10 currently divides the Zuidas District and project plans include rerouting the road underground where it runs through the district.  This would create a large urban space that will allow for greater pedestrian and bicycle connections and transform the entire area.
            Considering the scope and goals of the project, there are many groups and organizations involved.  The commissioning parties include the national government (the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation), the Province of Noord-Holland, the Amsterdam urban region, and the City of Amsterdam.  The Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management (RWS), Prorail (a rail infrastructure company), and the City of Amsterdam are responsible for preparing the decision-making process and cooperating within the ZuidasDok Project Organization.

Competitive Comet Metropolises - Large Scale Urban Projects: Amsterdam: Plan Zuidas:

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