On 15 March the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the City of Amsterdam set out agreements regarding the joint development of the University Quarter. The municipality and the University will work together to redevelop existing buildings and redesign public spaces in the historic city centre where the UvA was born.
The University Quarter will take shape over the next several years until 2025. The construction of the new University Library on the Binnengasthuis grounds will begin in late 2018, followed by the redesign of the public spaces. Work will then commence on the other buildings – including the Oudemanhuispoort – to provide accommodation for the Faculty of Humanities, Executive Board, Aula and a number of staff units.
A key focus in developing the University Quarter is the creation of a pleasant living and working environment for all users and residents. To achieve this, agreements have been made to jointly invest in the area.
During an evening walk-in session on 6 March, the municipality and the UvA informed local residents about the plans. They will continue to be involved in the area’s development throughout the process. To minimise possible inconvenience for local residents, mandatory agreements will be made with contractors regarding accessibility, quality of life, safety and communication during the construction period.
The UvA is responsible for the design, redesign and realisation of the university buildings. The municipality and the university will ensure participation from local residents and take joint responsibility for the redesign of the public spaces.
The UvA will work to realise facilities that contribute to regulating traffic in the area as well as bicycle parking and logistics flows for supplies and waste. The University will also examine whether facilities such as bicycle parking for neighbourhood residents can be made available.
As the UvA and the municipality endeavour to establish a sustainable University Quarter, the collaboration will also contribute to the city’s Sustainability Agenda. The partnership marks a new form of collaboration between the municipality and the UvA. The Executive Board of the UvA will meet with the municipality four times a year to discuss the joint agenda for the development of the University Quarter. A UvA-municipality project group will be responsible for ensuring the area’s integrated development with the support of on-call experts from both parties.
At the request of both parties, Prof. Adriaan Geuze, professor of Landscape Architecture and director of West 8 urban design & landscape, will be providing advice on the preparation of a master plan for the development of the University Quarter. This plan will set out the guiding principles for the sustainable, comprehensive redevelopment of university buildings and public spaces in the area.
Jan Lintsen, portfolio holder for Finances and Operational Management at the UvA: ‘We are very pleased that the City of Amsterdam is helping to develop the University Quarter in the place where our University was born.’
Boudewijn Oranje, chair of the Amsterdam Centrum district council: ‘We are facing major challenges in preserving the quality of life in the crowded city centre. I am convinced that this collaboration with the University of Amsterdam will make an important contribution to this issue.’
If all goes according to plan, the University Quarter will be finished in 2025. The preparations for temporary student accommodation (for four years) at the Oudemanhuispoort building are currently getting under way, and the master plan and subplans are being drawn up. First on the agenda for late 2018 is the construction of the University Library, which is scheduled to open its doors in 2021.