"We differ from average business owners, as city makers by implementing idea of love into the different projects and further into the city through turning and reactivating unwanted/ unused spaces"
Students from the University of Amsterdam explored the city and interviewed local City Makers. This summer we will publish these interviews weekly. Niels Leijten and Yi Zhou interviewed Pim Evers, founder of Arrival Place.
Pim Evers is cofounder of numerous city-making projects and businesses in Amsterdam. Together with his colleagues he started the construction of the new “Arrival Place” project next to Lelylaan station in Amsterdam. Pim and his partners want to create a small village platform, a future hub of Amsterdam entrepreneurs, to be enjoyed by citizens and visitors alike.
As a city maker, what projects have you contributed and helped to build?
I started with the restaurant Hannekes Boom in 2011. Hannekes Boom is the first successful placemaking project in Amsterdam which I was involved with. Along with my colleagues we turned it from an unwanted land full of petty crime into an attractive brasserie attached to the harbor, a unique project never seen before in Amsterdam. It gained global notoriety through the internet as one the city’s main attractions. Furthermore, I collaborated in the realization of the Bloemenbar, Disco Dolly and Cannibale Royale. We differ from average business owners by how we implement the idea of love into the different projects and further into the city. Additionaly, we offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop their creative ideas as we are their open resource to learn and grow themselves.
Which project are you working now?
With Urban Space Agency, my colleagues and I work on a new project called “Arrival Place”. With this project we try to become a little “village” located next to Lelylaan station, the stop on the way from Schiphol to Amsterdam. The concept envisions making this area more attractive by reorganizating the existing space. We find empty buildings and space, and give them a new creative function. Through placemaking research we know exactly what the neighborhood needs. We try to build a sustainable business model with a human approach both in the short run and in the long run. For eaxample, our current “Arrival Place” project is for local entrepreneurs to gather and grow their companies, and for citzens and visitors to enjoy .
How are these projects financed?
Funding has always been challenging, but not impossible. We first finance the pioneer projects out of our own savings. Eventually there is a community around a project of parties interested in their company branding. With the “Arrival Place” project we try to get the financing through advertising revenues and grow on our previous project as well. We are a fully transparent open-source project.
How did you end up in the world of city-making?
I started with Hannekes Boom. The municipality enabled us to develop the land, by drawing a competition for creative ideas to develop this area. Along with 17 other parties, I entered the contest and won. In July 2011 Hannekes Boom opened its doors and this proved to be a great success. This success is mainly due to the programming and its close connection to the water front. We are trying to duplicate and advance the creative programming game into our upcoming Arrival Place project. Hannekes Boom is a temporary project for 5.5 years but we recently received a contract extension for 1.5 years.
What obstructions do you encounter with ”Arrival Place “?
Mainly in the necessity for the city hall to adjust their current policy regarding the unique nature of creative place making. “Arrival Place” has been given a temporary contract for 5 years. The municipality does not understand why such a big project like this would need 10 years to come to fruition. 5 years is really too short for such a project. I would like say the obstacles lie with the issuance of permits, as well as advertising and making our projects known to the public.
Where do you get your inspirations and motivations?
My inspiration is my own imagination, I have around 20 plans I want to achieve. However, I am also inspired by others and the different places I have visited as well, in Amsterdam and elsewhere. Sometimes something very small can be enough. It begins with a crazy idea we try to translate into a business model. Lots of people have fantastic ideas, yet they to achieve it. You can start small, work one day a week on your project, and build the project you truly believe in with small steps. With a ‘just-do-it’ mentality, a positive mind and a curious mentality for fields you are unfamiliar with, you can start something on your own.
Who should we interview next?
Peter Groenendaal. Besides the fact that he is a colleague of mine at Urban Space Agency, he really is a good and professional place-maker so he can say a lot, without a doubt. He is involved in different projects on the Museumplein here in Amsterdam and the international village in The Hague, for example. Another person I would recommend is Hans Karssenberg, he is also into place making.