Amsterdam as a case study; 1: Canal district Amsterdam world heritage
: "a functional analysis of the seventeenth-century canal ring area"

  • D.L. van den Berg
  • J.A.C. Bruin

Student thesis: Master


World Heritage Cities, like other cities, need to keep evolving in order to meet the needs of their current and future communities. This evolution often requires urban (re)development. The challenge lies in finding development solutions that comply both with the sites community as well as with protection needs for current and future generations, including the safeguarding of the properties cultural significance of Outstanding Universal Value. Attributes of cultural significance can be tangible and intangible. The aim of this paper is to identify and discuss the protection of the intangible attribute 'functional mix', through the analysis of the evolution of functions. The trend towards mono-functionality in protected urban areas is further discussed. The canal district of Amsterdam, inscribed on the World Heritage List since 2010, is taken as case study as it has 'functional mix' as one of its intangible attributes of Outstanding Universal Value. The analysis considers a timespan of fifty years and focuses on one building block located inside the protected urban area. The changes in this building block are assessed, quantitatively, both in terms of area size distribution and unit size, as well as, geographically. The impact of these changes on the integrity of the building block is assessed. Results focus on two types of mono-functional trends, considering housing and office functions. The research indicates that the current functional developments have a negative impact on the integrity of the functional mix; also, there is reason to believe that the functional changes negatively impact more tangible attributes such as typology and morphology.
Date of Award31 Aug 2013
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorBernard J.F. Colenbrander (Supervisor 1), A.R. Roders (Supervisor 2) & L. Veldpaus (Supervisor 2)

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