Decide the future of Haarlem together

On June 9 and 10, Haarlem will be dominated by the first Stadmakers Congress. Days filled with beautiful meetings between enterprising residents and professionals, with the aim of shaping the city more together. With this initiative, a number of city builders want to contribute to solutions to important themes that play a role in Haarlem, such as care, green, young, food, cooperation with the neighborhood and creating a city together.

By Sabina Bles, Word Office

City builder and organizer Minouche Besters: “There is so much going on in our city. Due to the great need to bring all these initiatives together and to further exploit their common strength, the very first Stadmakers Congress Haarlem has now been held. As urban builders, we are all committed to a more equal, habitable, happy and beautiful neighborhood or city. From creative to social entrepreneurs involved, from developers to government officials and from active residents to representatives from care and education. Our active app group now consists of almost 140 city builders in Haarlem!

Beautiful scene
Minouche: “It often works better if you take good initiatives together, such as producing more local food, making the elderly less lonely or making the city greener. Together you know more and get more done. In addition, these two days are a wonderful stage to show what is already happening in Haarlem, and to inspire others to participate as well.

On Friday, various professionals, developers, governments and other organizations will meet in De Koepel. Active participants that day – and involved in the theme Together with the neighborhood – are city architect Willem Hein Schenk and development manager Coen Hofland from area developer AM. Willem Hein: “I would like to plead for all the good collaborations in Haarlem, and that is why I completely agree. Very nice and valuable to measure each other’s ambitions, desires and ideas in a looser, informal setting and connect them with each other. As an architect, I am concerned with the future of the city. When we want to further develop spatial quality, all forms of societal development play a role. It is good to involve all parties and especially residents much more!

Area development for dummies
Coen: “I myself am co-game leader at the Area Development for Dummies session that morning. In this common game, everyone gets their own role and interest in the development of a new home-work-living area. You discover what happens if you do not make choices, and then it’s not just about money, but also about social support, spatial quality and sustainability.Willem Hein:I think citizens should also have a lot more space to say what they want. Their rights are insufficiently included in the municipality’s participation meetings. These days, let’s start the conversation based on alternative scenarios. For example, by doing more research by design and showing much more how something can be. In that way, one creates a desire that if it can be like that, I will like it and I will participate. As long as you inform people well, explain what it’s about and ask them to participate. That way, you really think about a common interest. Yet people can often only bring their private interests to the stage at a participatory meeting!

‘The great thing about this urban creation conference is that we can create connections between residents, the municipality and the market’

Coen: “That is precisely the challenge of participation; the ability to separate individual interest from public interest. People often think that they are not heard, but one simply can not respect everyone’s individual interests. We are working on developing a part of the city with everyone involved. This means that you will soon have to park a few blocks away, otherwise a community house will remove part of your view. But if you do not involve people in it and do not explain that there can also be something beautiful in return, such as a greener street or the preservation of greenery outside the city as a result, then it does not work. If we all realize this, we will take action. That’s why I like this conference so much. We must create a real connection between the three important stakeholders in the area development: residents, the municipality and professionals.

Burger on top
Willem Hein: “When we can point out the difference between individual interest and the collective desire, you ask them to look beyond what they usually do. Professionals need to facilitate this, and in research by design we can draw variants, make pictures, maybe go on an excursion and start trusting each other so much more. I find the triangle that Coen draws very fascinating. It is the citizen who is at the top for me.“Coen:”Let us take advantage of these days to get to know new people and initiatives and thus bring our spatial and social ambitions together. This will only make our neighborhood stronger!

For the full program of Stadmakerscongres Haarlem and to order tickets, visit Until June 9 or 10!

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