Since Dutch TV presentator Mies Bouwman’s crowd funding action in 1962, Het Dorp represents the emancipation of people with disabilities. To stay true to that ideal, WeLoveTheCity advised Siza to demolish it. That sounds contradictory but it is not. The contemporary desire for autonomy and self-organisation of people with disabilities inevitably results in a new concept: Smart & Slow.
SMART demands space for organisational and technological innovations in the field of Your Body, Your Home, Your Skills, Your Neighbours and Your City. These can be tried out on a small scale in the New Village. If these innovations prove successful, they can be applied on a larger scale. Not only in Arnhem, but also elsewhere in the Netherlands and the world.
“Trying first, then scaling up’ requires a different pace of development. WeLoveTheCity therefore opted for SLOW, a gradual transformation of the area. In its present form, this is a composition in which interlinked buildings determine the structure, what remains is greenery. We reverse that order, based on the principles of Nature, Connecting and Home. A landscape framework forms the basis for a healthy living environment. The new network opens up the area to the surroundings. Together, the landscape framework and the network define the small-scale building clusters where people with and without disabilities can live, work and care for each other.
“In Het Dorp, I completely flourished. In the Training House they challenge me to be more autonomous. I’m at 90 per cent now, I want to reach 100.”Resident Gijs van den Brink, De Gelderlander (2020)