Global Street Design Guide

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Table of Contents

Global Street Design Guide

Case Study: A8erna; Zaanstad, The Netherlands

Location: Koog aan de Zaan, Zaanstad, Amsterdam metropolitan area
Population: 0.2 million
Metro: 1.5 million
Extent: 370 m (Length) 22,500 m(Area)
Right-of-way: Elevated 27 m
Context: Mixed Use (Residential/Commercial/Institutional)
Cost: 2.1 million EUR (2.3 million USD)
Funding: Zaanstad Municipality
Max. Speed: 30 km/h


Koog aan de Zaan is a town in the Amsterdam metropolitan area, located 10 km northwest of the city. In the 1970s, a new freeway was built, brutally dividing the town’s urban fabric.

For many years, the area had been neglected and was mostly used for surface parking.

The project aimed to restore the connection between the two sides of town and to activate the space under the elevated freeway.

A participatory process that involved residents, business owners, and the local government led to a proposal to redesign space underneath the structure to include a supermarket, a flower store, a fish shop, and recreational facilities including a park, a skate park, and a watersport marina that would reconnect the two sides of the city and link them to the nearby river.


Key Elements

Transformation of the space underneath an elevated structure from a surface parking lot into an active mixed-use space.

Sidewalk widening and new paving materials.

Container shops and recreational spaces that can change over time.


  • Reconnect the two sides of Koog aan de Zaan.
  • Reactivate the space underneath the elevated structure.
  • Provide residents with recreational spaces and local amenities.

Lessons Learned

Political will and the collaboration between local government and the community made possible the transformation of a space that had been neglected for more than 30 years.

Keys to Success

The involvement of residents and business owners in the design process informed the municipality and the designers about the community’s needs and helped create a successful civic space.


Public Agencies
Zaanstad Municipality

Citizen Associations and Nonprofits
Residents and business owners

Designers and Engineers
NL Architects, Carve

Section AA’
Section BB’

Project Timeline

Adapted by Global Street Design Guide published by Island Press.