International
Federation for
Housing and
Planning

IFHP presents: voices from the Hague Housing Conference

Almere is transforming from a garden city to a town with a high ambition of sustainable organic growth.

The question is, how it is possible to preserve the original qualities, while simultaneously meeting the demand for growth playing and contributing at the metropolitan level.

 

Almere is a typical garden city; a new town which merely exist 30 years. As a city with multiple cores, Almere is designed for growth. The question is, how can such growth take shape responsibly? How will we preserve and reinforce the original qualities, while simultaneously meeting the demand for growth? What is needed to transform Almere into a mature, complete and sustainable city, while at the same time contributing to the metropolitan region? Almere is transforming from a garden city to a town with a high ambition on sustainability and development in a way of organic growt and growing green.

 

The current strategy of the municipality is set on self-development by its own citizens; in fact an affordable housing policy is also part of this strategy. The ambition is high end quality for an affordable price.  The land policy Almere plays an important role in the strategy of grow and transformation of the city. The Land policy has created a variety of tools which makes it possible that people with lower incomes also can build their own house. One of the tools is the program IBBA (Ik Bouw Betaalbaar in Almere) I Build Affordable in Almere.  Besides IBBA, Almere use incentives and land lease to persuade and challenge parties to participate and invest sustainable in Almere.

 

Transition in land policy: from urban planning to organic growth

The road to organic growth includes a shift from a large scale vision to a small scale project, from a stiff and planned intervention to an incremental and flexible development, from a supply-driven and anonymous process to a demand-driven and therefore local and participative approach. In particular this transition consists in four different strategies: 

 

  1. Empower People to Make the City: 1.500 plots available, more variation in residential environments (themes) , no blue print planning
  2. The Building Factory: the case of the Europakwartier
  3. A Strategy of Opportunities: 2000 dwellings, A6 Motorway doubled in Capacity, physical and mental heart of the city of Almere , Urban Planning with Christian de Portzamparc, Floriade 2022 – International Horticultural Exhibition 
  4. Planning on invitation: Oosterwold

 

Toolbox Land Policy

The case of Almere represents an alternative and innovative use of land policy. The city assumes the role of facilitator in urban development by creating strategic alliances with investors and affordable housing corporations for investments in order to use rules and spatial policies as a way of directing resources and ideas. The city of Almere has created strategic tools to steer the development such as competitive and demand driven land/plot prices, variation of use and ownership, ownership by land lease (incentive or control urban planning), and dispossession owners. This land policy can be source of inspiration for other cities facing similar challenges.

 

>> References: City of Almere