“First comes the community, second comes the planner”
Eva de Klerk is a bottom-up city developer. She is driven by a relentless passion, commitment and devotion for the community and the utilization of urban areas. Eva relishes the areas that are deserted no-go zones – which cities have all over the globe. Areas that are negatively encapsulated by their identities as neglected residential or industrial areas. Branded by their past they seem inaccessible and difficult urban cases to crack. Yet, Eva manages to surpass their abandoned destiny and offers new functions. A challenge she tackles by breaking the presumptions through mobilising the surrounding community and introducing other people and disciplines that enhance the creation of ideas and solutions.
Eva de Klerk is known as the initiator of the redevelopment of the gigantic shipbuilding yard NDSM in the north of Amsterdam, separated from the rest of the city by the waters of Het IJ. She is also known as a leading advocate of The City as a Shell method. Eva is a frequently asked speaker in The Netherlands and abroad on the topic of sustainable bottom-up urban development. Eva is currently the chairwoman of The Guild of Industrial Buildings upon Het IJ, that represents the interests of 24 industrial and monumental artist’s buildings in Amsterdam. The NDSM wharf in Amsterdam is the largest creative and self-sufficient artist’s workspace ever. A city was built in and around a giant warehouse on an old shipbuilding yard. The New York Times called the NDSM yard one of the coolest places in the world.
After Eva’s work with the NDSM wharf, the city of Berlin consulted her on the redevelopment of the Berlin Tempelhof Airport that had been closed down in 2008. The result was „Tempelhofer Feld“, developed by local inhabitants and creative entrepreneurs. In 2015 the people of Berlin massively voted by referendum in favour of preserving this now beloved city-park and against high-tech new buildings designed by star architects.
Since 2009 Eva has been working on ideas for the redevelopment of the Namura Wharf in Osaka. Since 2011 she has organized a cultural exchange between the Namura and the NDSM wharves. In 2014, 2015 and 2016 Eva visited Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Belgrade and Novi Sad to study the development of the harbours and riverfronts there. She also visited Moscow, Mumbai, Tbilisi and Seoul. What is the role of the artist and the city dweller in re-shaping the city?