In the 1920s, experts estimated Amsterdam would grow to 960.000 people 80 years from then. They were wrong by a big margin (2000: 740.000 people). In October, experts again calculated Amsterdam (the Randstad) will continue to grow rapidly while the rest of the country faces a population decline (Volkskrant, October 2011). I believe experts are wrong again. Here’s why.
In the digital age we currently live in, everyone has a laptop and smartphone. Most people are connected via Twitter and Facebook and information gets stored in the Cloud. All these innovations make it possible to work anywhere and anytime we want.
These developments depart from the current urban model which is used by most experts. Put simply, employees wanted to live as close to work as possible while still retaining as much space and luxury as possible. For example, the Dutch city of Almere continues to grow because of its proximity to Amsterdam in combination with more affordable housing (more bang for their buck). But what if people could live even further away from Amsterdam without sacrificing their jobs?
In recent years people started to work from their houses more often. Distance becomes less relevant, since house equals workplace. Within years, current cities and the current urban model no longer suffices, thus suggesting a new urban model. How do we get the Netherlands future proof?
Later this week I’ll post three of my solutions. Stay tuned.