Home sweet Home_under construction

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May 31, 2012

Het is opvallend aan Amsterdam-Noord dat vrouwen ondervertegenwoordigd zijn in het straatbeeld. Moeders brengen wel tijd door bij speelplaatsen, maar de invulling van die openbare ruimte zelf is met name op mannen en jonge kinderen gericht. Joyce gaat onderzoek te doen naar de sociale trajecten die vrouwen in de wijk afleggen en de rol van publieke ruimte hierin.
Kom hier terug, want Joyce zal deze pagina regelmatig updaten!
Voor meer informatie over Joyce, klik hier.
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It is striking about Amsterdam-North that women are underrepresented in the streetscape. Mothers spend time at the playgrounds, but the design of public space itself is mostly aimed towards men and younger children. Joyce will be investigating the social routes that women follow in this neighbourhood and the role public areas play in it.
Stay tuned, Joyce will be updating this page regularly!
For more information about Joyce, click here.
My first night at the Kijkruimte. Kijkruimte is a art project and public space set on the other side of the river as you leave Amsterdam Central station. This is Amsterdam North/Noord. I am staying in Kijkruimte  guest room for the next 4 days. During this period
I will be spending time speaking with local women to find out what they know and how they feel about the changes being made. The next couple of days I will familiarize myself with the landscape. Opposite Kijkruimte is a mother and children’s drop in centre that has recently be shut down. My question is … If women here in Amsterdam North have there community hub or social space removed where will they go?
This house on Hagedoornweg caught my attention. The person living here clearly loves their home.
Near by I found the local Mosveld Market that will be effected by the new development plans created and managed by Ymere. I asked a trader what were his thoughts about the plans to relocate the market he told me, ” I get up I come to work. This is all I do. As long as I can continue to do this and trade, I do not mind”
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I spoke to some women that were here with kindergarden children who visit the market every Friday. They told me they come here for the space that the market area gives them, as their Kindergarden centre based on the other side of the river is in a busy area. They said that they knew of the plans to relocate the market. They had heard that the market would be moved to Van Der Prekstraat to make room for a new shopping mall. Whilst they were happy for the regeneration plans to go ahead they were also apprehensive, as they did not know how the new build would effect them.
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This is the market space outside trading hours
And also during trading hours
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This is Van Der Pekstraat, the main run in from Amsterdam Central and one of the focal points  for future development work managed by Ymere. Van Der Pekstraat was one of the earliest social housing initiatives to be built in Amsterdam. The date of the buildings can be identified by the cool double yellow brick laid into the walls which indicates that these particular houses were first built in the 1920’s. Buildings with a single yellow brick indicate that they were built after World War II to replace the damaged caused during the war.
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The original plans to demolish the buildings were strongly apposed by the local people, so Ymere and local council have been forced to rethink how best to regenerate the area. But after having spent a couple of days here I am getting the feeling that very few local people fully understand what is happening.
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Some of the families that use to live here have already gone. In their place are cardboard cut outs fixed into the windows to give the sense that there are people still living here. So where have these people gone to? And does this mean that they will not benefit from what is looking to be an up and coming area?
 There’s no one home
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A number of families have lived here all their lives. Others have been here twenty odd years, whilst a few are new to the neighborhood.  Together they have helped to shape the landscape. I found a vibrant cultural mix and active community, but this is being challenged by recent closures to many social hubs, especially those that women rely on; the moedercentrum being the most recent. This is where women with young children could socialize with other mothers. For the women it was an opportunity to get their young children out of the house into a space where there was more room to play with other children. It also meant they could exchange and share ideas, and most importantly, connect.
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Whilst I was there I met Nadia, a women central to the moedercentrum. She has now lost her job managing the space. I wanted to ask her how she felt and if she was willing to help me investigate the area. It was difficult for her to have any faith with outside involvement and I can hardly blame her. She said that the women here had been involved in art projects through Ymere before. But they just come, run a project and go. The locals are not heard. So far there have been development plans to demolish historic and sound building, their homes, and inject investment grants into new businesses that bring in fresh ideas, whilst the existing ones fails to reap from the new scheme.
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Evidence of such schemes can be seen on Van Der Pekstraat. Outside the new shops that have benefited from such incentives are flexed metal arms with famous dutch affirmations written onto metal shopping bags. These businesses have received large cash injections from Ymere. The older traditional shops have no acknowledgement, there are no flexed arms outside their shops. They clearly do not make the grade, I am not clear why as yet.  but I hope to find out.
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It must be painful for the mothers here to see on one hand their social hubs being taken away because of the cuts, yet on the other hand they literally see metal bags carrying positive affirmation. Nadia also told me that the local park, another place where the women would go to meet, is now redundant, because the pool that the toddlers could paddle in has no water!! This alongside the closure of their local swimming pool, means there is no place where their children can learn to swim and play. I wanted to take a look for myself, so headed off to Noorderpark to check out the water-less pool situation.
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I am here and the pool is dry!!
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What is sad about this site is that the area is oozing with development. Surrounding the pool is a metal trellis construction made from concrete and steel. This architectural build has cost a great deal of money to design, build and fit. The juxdoposition between this and the lifeless pool is shocking. This is a sunny afternoon. The pool should be busy, but instead it is COMPLETELY empty!!
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As I leave I pass a sign publicising the amazing development taking place here. From the outside this must look like a super inclusive initiative. But when you know that behind the huge hoarding and flexed arms sits an empty pool and closed-down centres, the publicity no longer smells of team spirit. In  fact it makes no sense. Whilst there is money to plough into the new, there is not enough money to simply maintain and fill a shallow toddlers pool with water!!
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The landscape near the park is beautiful and clearly has room for great potential. Amsterdam central is 10-minutes away. With the place spruced up this area could attract big business. But at what price? And does spruced up mean, cleared out!?
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It is time for me to leave now. I’m keen to speak with other women and mothers to explore ways for them to show that they exist! But with all the social hubs  where they meet being closed, how will I get to speak with them? The plan is to return here again and further investigate. I have met some key figures and I hope I have gained enough trust for us to work together and explore ways to show to everyone that they exist and belong here too…  It is their home after all.
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Tuesday, 16th October, I returned to Amsterdam Noord where I met a group of people who are attending an integration course here in the Noord. The group have agreed to take part in the Home Sweet Home; under construction project. And yesterday I filmed one of the final workshops. The first two weeks the group worked on posters. On the posters the participants, through pictures and text, demonstrated where they were from, what objects made them feel at home and key words relating to their connection to the Netherlands.
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The participants were asked to show what objects best represents their expression of home. Some said table, others said chair, candles, clothesline, plants, books, a bed, cutlery, etc… To personalise these object the group applied decorations and also told us why they chose them. What does this mean to them?

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Now we have many objects… all decorated with a personal touch; each with a story. What will we do now? Keep an eye on this space: Amsterdam Noord

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We are grateful to all the participants for their creativity and participation.

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21.10.12   Last night we were at Moedercentrum on Van Der Pekstraat. CLOSED DOWN
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23.10.12 More objects have been added
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24.10.12 Today, I returned to see if they were still there.
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25.10.12 More objects added
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26.10.12
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21.10.12    Last night we were at Morsveld Market. UNDER THREAT of being moved.
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23.10.12 When we returned to the market some of the objects had been removed from the bench. They had to be repositioned in a new spot… at night.
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24.10.12 Today, I returned to see if they were still there.
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25.10.12 More objects added
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27.10.12
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21.10.12    We were also at Buurthuis. CLOSED DOWN
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23.10.12 More objects have been added
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24.10.12 Today, I returned to see if they were still there.
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25.10.12 More objects added
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27.10.12
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Some of the objects have been taken and some are still there.
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21.10.12    And at Speeltuin Volenwijk; a well-used children’s park. UNDER THREAT of being closed
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23.10.12 More objects have been added
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24.10.12 Today, I returned to see if they were still there. All the objects left at the cildren’s park have been removed.
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The process has been documented through photography, text, film and audio. This will be presented as a film at Kijkruimte on the 17th November, together with other materials collected during workshops.

 

 

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