Neighborhood Ecology

With and within community

The Beach is located in the Garage Notweg in the Wildeman neighborhood in Amsterdam New West, and works on a variety of projects in this area. It became time for a next, connecting step paving the way to sustainable neighborhood ecology. When talking about ‘neighborhood ecology’ we mean a living environment in which social, spatial, economic and ecological ingredients are linked in reciprocity. Supported by the government, as part of the AARO agenda, an investigation began at the beginning of 2015.

We investigate & design

We investigate and design together with residents and various partners

  • How qualities like location, sharing & connectivity, sustainability and spatial quality relate to each other in design of connections and relationships;
  • Connecting innovative technology with social processes;
  • Shaping shared places in and near the neighborhood
  • 'Collaborative commons'. 

We learn

About design with people and in society. About recognizing, imagining and connecting relationships and patterns that contribute to a resilient, self-reliant, sustainable, learning environment. With proximity as a starting point.

What we learn, we represent to share and to initiate a movement. 

We know

Important topics that live among residents are urgent:

Poverty fighting and everything that is connected to this (jobs/ self-reliance/ self-confidence/ isolation/ loneliness/ health), a good learning and living environment for children, to take advantage of all the opportunities and safety.

Big issues are sometimes too big and comprehensive to tackle. That’s why we start small and accessible, with the focus on food and learning, but always with the broader perspective in mind. 

With and within community

As a fruitful beginning to bring questions around food come together, bread became a big part of our daily life. It’s not only something we eat together, it is also something people bake, buy or sell together. The step from making bread to making an oven came up quickly. As discussed during our meetings, the oven functioned also as communal meeting place: a network of users and a place that physically connects this network came true.

By actually connecting this network of users to the space, it becomes clear which routes and meeting places can facilitate this journey. Crossbreeding, relationships and reciprocity crystallize around three themes: food, energy and learning.

The next research phase emphasizes ownership and management. We look for the right scale, composition, organizational form and especially how you design it together and with whom. We always do this with ultimate self-reliance as a goal in mind.

Together with the neighborhood we create a ‘do-market’, a flexible, moveable place for trade and business, is being worked out as a logical addition to all work opportunity projects that take place around Neighboorhood Garden Lucas. They offer space to many small initiatives to share knowledge or to sell merchandise or services. The first sketches for a market stall are in the making.

In addition to this market, there is the "think tent", a meeting place where discussion about ownership, organization, maintenance, management and new economic models is being developed. But also about news, impotence, influence on policy and governance.


The neighborhood community is gaining self-confidence through all activities / initiatives. For a successful, sustainable neighborhood community, space is needed first and foremost. Space in a literal sense, to continue and to facilitate the initiative. But also space in a transcendental sense, in the minds of people and their organizations, to join these new forms of togetherness.

At first sight, the great plus of the Wildeman neighborhood seems to be the abundance of space, but in practice it turns out that:

  • The property is fragmented and unclear;
  • That regretted regulation and (re-) organizations have led to the inaccessibility of much unused space.
  • That the use and the actual owning property are so far apart, that sometimes they don’t even know of the each others existence.

Wijkecologie is een initiatief van The Beach (Diana Krabbendam), Ponec De Winter (Dana Ponec, Katja de Winter), Sustainism Lab (Michiel Schwarz).

Partners zijn buurtbewoners Wildemanbuurt Amsterdam Nieuw-West, Amsterdam Smart City, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, Alliander, Ymere, Stadgenoot, dr. Prof. Kraemerschool, Lukas Community, De Kandidatenmarkt, Urbaniahoeve, Stadsdeel Nieuw-West, Pakhuis de Zwijger.

Wijkecologie Wildeman wordt mede mogelijk gemaakt door het Stimuleringsfonds voor de Creatieve Industrie, Ymere, Stadgenoot, gemeente Amsterdam, Rabobank.