If the term "DIY" hasn't been applied to every conceivable human endeavor yet, give it a few months. Thanks to technologies like 3D printers and nearly-ubiquitous connectivity, enterprises that were once the province of large corporations can now be realized by an individual, ensuring use of the term in ever-more-unlikely contexts. But can a process so diffuse and complicated as urban planning go DIY? Dutch architecture company MVRDV is betting that it can with its proposal for Almere Oosterwold, a development built on the principle of "do-it-yourself urbanism."
MVRDV aims to serve the needs of the individual and the community equally with the plan, which calls for bottom-up collaboration among residents, who will literally draw the map towards a shared future. Like many urban development projects, Oosterwold has no clear completion date. The difference is that in this case, that's by design. The open-ended plan establishes only a handful of guiding principles, such as the proportions of total land use — 59% urban agriculture, 18% construction, 13% public green space, 8% roads, 2% water. Beyond that, residents will collaborate in person and on the web to plan development and reach consensus, with government serving as a facilitator rather than an entity making decisions from the top-down. As Adam Nowek at Pop-Up City notes, "Oosterwold is less of a design proposal and more of a strategic development proposal."
Located in the city of Almere, Oosterwold will be located on a 43 square kilometer site, providing space for a proposed 15,000 homes and 200,000 square meters of office space. MVRDV projects that Oosterwold will be the home to 26,000 new jobs in the area. Built upon reclaimed land, reserving and utilizing green space will be prioritized, with urban farming and public green space taking up 72% of the land. On the individual level, residents are responsible for all aspects of managing their personal plots of land, including the road, sanitation, and energy production.