Sunday, 30 November 2008

Paul de Ley - Rebel Architect and Social Regenerist - we need you!

Girl barricades herself against community building when the metro was being built in Amsterdam in 1975

Riot police come in to protect the demolitioners from the community in Nuiwemarkt, Amsterdam, 1975

In the 70s the heart of Amsterdam faced demolitions and developments however members of the community rebelled. They could not save all their homes and much loved buildings but in the rebellion there became a community buy in into planning what they wanted their local community to look like, it did mean though that there were clashes with the authorities as the resisted the wrecking balls and they were not fully sucessful.

Paul de Ley was an architect who became involved in the rebellion and protests and with the community were able to put forward a vibrant living city centre plan with homes and facilities that suited the canal sides of Amsterdam, read more here. The result was social housing and a new generation of urban planning (which sadly has faded away).

Social housing designed by the community and Paul de Ley in the 1970s

Paul de Ley meets Amsterdam councillors with his community plan in the 1970s (Paul's the one without the suit and curly hair).

Lets hope there will be no clashes with the police at Caltongate but that there is some light reflected onto the whole subject of Caltongate. The community would love to be involved in redesigning the Waverley valley and the north back of the Canongate - there are plenty architects and urban planners with the spirit of Paul de Ley in Edinburgh -if only there were given the chance..