Nothing for me
Social design for the Flevo district in Kampen 358
“Excellent, such a community center, but it’s nothing for me.” We heard it said more than once in the Flevo district in Kampen. The municipality wants to use the community center ‘t Middelpunt to create more social cohesion in the neighborhood, which according to the statistics suffers from metropolitan concerns. At a time when care dependent citizens more and more need the support of their environment, it is important to strengthen their network in the area. But even when a research agency classified the community center as a power building, until recently it was very quiet in the building. With a multidisciplinary team we started with the following question: What does it take to turn the community center ‘t Middelpunt in Kampen into a collective, inviting place where different interests can be linked to make the Flevowijk more social and heathier?
Perhaps the biggest success of the project is the fact that people are now able to find the community center. During the festive afternoon 80 local residents attended the open day when ‘t Middelpunt was symbolically renamed ‘the Radiant Center’. The sign posts placed in strategic places in the district stating texts such as ‘Neighborhood Café in formation’ and ‘You really don’t have to ‘klaverjassen’ (popular Dutch game of cards) were not only followed by the residents, but even repaired.
With this kind of ‘unfinished’ moves and ideas, the team managed to move residents into action, interaction and into taking more care of each other and the neighborhood. For example, part of the fence around the center was removed before the open day and on the spot turned into neighborhood sofa, to show that it can all be much more welcoming. And the transformation of the square on the doorstep may just be a proposal, but a red carpet and a ‘star entrance’ made entering the building during the festive afternoon a lot more attractive. In the hall, prototypes of architectural interventions were enthusiastically received. And the provisional neighborhood café with its outdoor terrace was immediately so successful that volunteers definitely want to continue working with it.