In the coming years, the city centre of Heerlen will be thoroughly renovated as part of the bidbook ‘Urban Heerlen’. The start of this transformation process was led by Dear Hunter, making use of the building of the former Rabobank on the Promenade: an open, transparent and iconic building that will also be incorporated in the future design of the area.
With minimal resources, the ground floor of this building has been converted into a ‘base camp’ for exchange and debate, called ‘Kantoor Contour’.
Kantoor Contour was developed by Dear Hunter on behalf of the Municipality of Heerlen and IBA Parkstad. Dear Hunter has developed a method for Kantoor Contour which focussed on gathering the knowledge and expertise about the city centre that is present among its residents and users, rather than presenting the urban plan that was developed by IBA Parkstad.
Through a cooperative project, IBA Parkstad developed a plan for Schinkel noord, Schinkel zuid, the Burgemeester van Grunsvenplein and the adjacent streets. This plan was called ‘Central Park’. A lot of decisions had still to be made and because the expertise and involvement of the inhabitants of this area is essential for a sound planning, Dear Hunter was asked to bridge the gap between the planners, the residents and external experts.
For three months, residents, entrepreneurs, experts and critics have spoken and discussed in- and outside Kantoor Contour about Heerlen of the past, present and future. This was done according to an organized set-up: opening hours gave the opportunity to ‘participate’, but moreover, lectures, guided tours and other meetings made a diverse audience (re)discover the to-be-transformed Schinkelkwartier.
Always thematically organized, these activities brought people together. The ambitions regarding the future could already be tested: by trying out what it is like to work here, to work out, what ‘green’ in the city really means, how ‘re-use’ in theory relates to the concrete situation in the area. The specific themes were chosen according to the ambitions mentioned in the bidbook ‘Urban Heerlen’, but also in the design ‘Central Park’ made by IBA Parkstad.
All insights and conclusions from the activities have been mapped and described, in order to end up – literally – on top of the design Central Park. As a reality check, to enable a qualitative leap forward but also to familiarize the reality with the ambitions that are present in the design.
Together with various experts like urban planners from the municipality, Dear Hunter translated the insights Kantoor Contour delivered. The result? A plan by and for architects and residents, urban planners and entrepreneurs. Each was able to bring in on specific expertise, passion and interest.