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Area Development Game ArenAPoort

City of Amsterdam

Create a shared agenda for higher spatial quality among public and private stakeholders concerning housing, retail and public space


Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Partners: Municipality of Amsterdam Project Management Office -PMB- and Planning and Sustainability [R&D]

3 Sessions with 60 Participants

Municipality of Amsterdam and Play the City of Amsterdam join forces to design the area development game “ArenAPoort”. The game offers a space where public and private parties can jointly consult guidelines for a sustainable and inclusive future of ArenAPoort. ArenAPoort is the center of Amsterdam Zuidoost and covers the area from the Ziggo Dome to the Anton de Komplein, roughly bordered by the Burgermaster Stramanweg, Holterbergweg, Bijlmerdreef and Hoogoorddreef. The demand for an area development game stems from the change of ArenApoort from a (mainly) recreational area to a versatile, highly urbanized and, above all, multifunctional center, in which new housing is being introduced by 6,000 (or office-transformed) units. Due to the rapid pace of developments and large-scale investments, the ultimate form of this central area is of great importance to Amsterdam. From the AMC to the Amstelkwartier, the urban landscape will be faced with a huge quantity and quality boost over the next 10 years, with ArenAPoort as the beating heart.

Beyond stimulating necessary conversions, the game is designed to provide a detailed 3D simulation of the development area with building units and cards. These building units and cards mark decisions that will influence spatial composition with respect to building envelope, public space, accessibility, sustainable strategies and more.


During the second test session, a team of players [among which also designers] could visualize the program set as max newly built 170.000 sqm. We observed that the team had difficulty in agreeing to place all volumes to the quarter. Concerns on the lack of public spaces and require water and green surfaces left more than 30.000 sqm outside the final block composition.

Villa Arena

While Stationskwartier has detailed design parameters, the game approached Villa Arena in Entreekwartier as a tabula rasa where teams can think freely but in context of the surrounding development. after a pressure cooker session using game units 5 teams could come up with five distinct concepts for the redevelopment of the shopping mall.

1. Ultimate mix:

Transformation of the existing building through a cooperative approach. A mixed program is added with limited retail. Roofs intensively used for urban farming and major voids to allow natural light.

2. International gaming center:

Villa ArenA transforms into a 24h international gaming and knowledge center, which will take over around 30000m2 of the existing vacant retail. A place to entertain but also to learn, discuss and create city through gaming. Solar panels on the roof will supply enough energy to the gaming center, closing the circle.

3. A cosy urban neighbourhood:

A new living area, mainly apartments around quiet courtyards with space for work and recreate. The Lifeline connects to an urban square in the midst of the redevelopment. Burgemeester Stramanweg corner gets marked with museum, a cultural landmark.

4. Green and quiet:

In contrast with the high density city fabric of ArenAPoort, this new area remains low density residential neighborhood with generous public green spaces for recreation.

5. Urban jungle:

An urban high density mid rise program redevelopment plan with ambitious public green and water utilizing roofscape. Living, working and recreation coexist in contact with nature. A green inner street network connects itself through multiple green paths on various levels.

The winning team has been the third proposal treating the site as a cosy mixed program neighborhood with culture and working units as a contrast to larger scale leisure program surrounding it. this proposal also contained a clear reference to developing Life Line ending in a generous but relatively quiet urban square.

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