From pollution to revitalization (VVnV)

From pollution to revitalization (VVnV)
Collage with original photograph by Stadsarchief Amsterdam. Dienst Publieke Werken; Afdeling Stadsontwikkeling, Archief van de Dienst Riolering en Waterhuishouding Amsterdam
A vibrant park narrates the community tale of its driven creative community and engaged local residents amidst urban growth and spatial scarcity.

Jana Vukšić
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Team members
Jana Vukšić
Field of work
Architecture, Design, Urban planning, Ecology, Research
Project category
Public space
Project submitted

I’m an interdisciplinary spatial designer based in Amsterdam. My design practice derives from my keen interest in the concept of liminality in our daily lives within the built environment. I find beauty and significance in these moments of transition, where uncertainty and potential coexist. Hence in my projects I invite people to join in my creative process.

My work spans across various areas, including social, product, and spatial design, with a focus on circular principles and advocating for multispecies urbanism. I hold a BA in Architectural Design (Gerrit Rietveld academie, Amsterdam NL, 2015) and am currently pursuing my Graduate degree in interior architecture, where I specialize in the urban interior.

Currently, I am working together with the municipality of Amsterdam on shaping a unique policy, "Expedition Free Space", which explores how spatial design in public space can improve relationships among diverse inhabitants by giving them ownership over city areas. I will present this project in the designated section of this form.

Prior I worked on the collaborative proposal “Strategies of Evacuation” in answer to the invite for the project “Feral Palace” by Krater Collective in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The proposal explores the theme of multispecies urbanism. The results have been presented at the Slovenian biennale 2022, Super Vernaculars: Design for a regenerative future. Furthermore I exhibited work on the topic of circular design among others, at the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven and Mikser festival in Belgrade, Serbia, with the support of Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie (NL).

My passion lies in exploring the impact of creativity on society and finding ways to make the world more sustainable and inviting. Through design, I hope to understand the connections between humans and our environment and contribute to a better future for everyone. I aspire to deepen this practice as a LINA fellow.

Van Vervuiling naar Verademing, VVnV

VVnV presents a design strategy for a burgeoning public space at the site of a former sewage treatment plant in Amsterdam. The proposal has been crafted in collaboration with local communities who have gained municipal approval to manage the area. This community-driven public space is a response to the pressures faced by existing residents in Amsterdam due to rapid urban growth, seeking respite and common meeting grounds amid change.

Over the past two years, these grassroots initiatives have unlocked the once secluded site, transforming it into a vibrant cultural park. Existing structures have been revitalized into studios and workshops for artists, fostering creativity. Additionally a non-commercial restaurant, a music venue, community gardens, and outdoor play areas have been established, enriching the space for all.

In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of this public space, I conducted thorough research, workshops, and an on-site research residency. The resulting proposal prioritizes adaptability to meet the needs of diverse community members. By creating a new central clubhouse, I fostered connectivity among the involved communities. Thoughtful spatial considerations, like a new entrance guiding arrivals and encouraging exploration, along with celebrating the area's hidden industrial heritage and its feral biodiversity, have been incorporated to create an inviting environment for visitors.

The project strives to meet the changing needs of the community, fostering a sense of belonging and ownership. Through collaboration and co-creation, VVnV aims to create a vibrant public space that provides solace and shared experiences in Amsterdam's dynamic urban landscape. Moreover, it serves as a pilot project for the municipality to shape city-wide policy into a practical protocol. This community-driven initiative stands as a testament to its transformative power in improving our cities.