Underground and aboveground messages to the city authorities

Commissioned by Arcam, Marjolijn van Heemstra has written 8 messages to the city council that represent the voices of unusual and unnoticed creatures and parts of our city - above and below ground.

Two examples of an underworld that is stirring. She wants to be visible, known, recognized and valued. For a long time everything below ground level was invisible and hardly a topic of conversation in the spatial design domain. Since BiodiverCITY – A Matter of Vital Soil, the pioneering research of Joyce van den Berg, Hans van der Made and many others, designing with the subsurface has been firmly on the agenda. With the publication of the Integral Design Method for Public Space (IOOR), the municipality of Amsterdam hopes to gain an overview of the many underground developments. After all, it is becoming increasingly clear that the topsoil cannot do without the subsoil, and that a new awareness is needed to bring together the urban design for the subsoil and the topsoil.

Earlier this year, Arcam showed in the exhibition Sub terra- Roots for underground urbanism how rich a spatial domain can look when the upper and lower worlds are brought into harmony with each other. With the rise of 'underground urbanism', the role of designers will change. But city administrators and policymakers also have an important role to play. In developing (new) policy and linking knowledge, and in enforcing in-depth research and innovation in methodologies. All this has strengthened the residents of the above and below ground in their sense of self-esteem. And now they are speaking out. Through city poet Marjolijn van Heemstra they speak out and demand attention: from designers, Amsterdammers, but especially from their city council. They found in garden and park designer Ton Hilhorst, photographer Rubén Dario Kleimeer, architect Aura Luz Melis, journalist, author and moderator Tracy Metz, heritage professional Thijs van Roon and landscape designer  Philomene van der Vliet  glowing interpreters of their cause. Through the graphic design of Eliane Beyer (Joseph Plateau), their greetings to the city council literally light up in the dark.

Recorded by: Marjolijn van Heemstra.

Design poems: Eliane Beyer (Joseph Plateau Grafisch Ontwerpers)

Videos: Studio van Lennep

Commissioner : Arcam

Additional info

Image credits

Header image: Integrale Ontwerpmethode Openbare Ruimte - banner

Icon image: berichten aan het stadsbestuur