Category Archives: News

Ground floor, mixed use vs commercial openly – Spijkenisse example

Spijkenisse city centre is half in zoned mix use ground floor and half zoned ground-business only with housing above.Scale of example: The city of Spijkenisse (pop 72,545, area 30km2, 2,418 people per km 2) is a metro suburb of Rotterdam and the largest centre in the South Holland Islands region and it want’s to be the lead centre of its neighbouring islands Voorn to the West and Hoeksche-Waard (pop 85,999) to the East, a total population of close to 245,700 people. Note: the only connection between Hoeksche-Waard and Spijkenisse is by ferry.



This is Spijkenisse
‘One country two systems” (OMA)
Spijkenisse does not belong to any major system

The Spijkenisse city centre: “there are some 250 shops, numerous cafes and restaurants, [a cool library], a cinema and theatre within walking distance, the centre is a tractor for the entire region, easily accessible via the Groene Kruisweg [road from Brielle through Spijkenisse to Rotterdam] and with an ample parking facilities housing about 3,000 cars at €9 per day. For example, if you go to a performance, you park your car in the garage right next to the theatre” (Hamilton’s Te Awa The Base has 183 Stores & 2,150 car parks. Zuidplein Rotterdam has 155 stores, parking cost €18 per day and has a local population of 66,684 people). In Spijkenisse the local council “strives for a ‘compact centre’; the ’round village’ of the past, they want to make it cosier”.

The round village
Zoning Map

The above image shows the ‘round village’- highlighted yellow in the first image, I have drawn as pastel pink circle on zoning map. Note: the round village is half in area living above ground functions (red Wonen boven beganegrondfuncties) and half in incidental residence (yellow Incidentele woning). Images above are from different angle, to help I have orange X at windmill, teal line for canal, magenta circle around church.

Nature of the challenge: A quarter of the shopping area in the city centre of Spijkenisse have to disappear. The council strives for a ‘compact centre’; the ’round village’ of the past has to come back, we want to move 25 percent of the total retail space to existing retail premises. That’s how we want to make it cosier.  The movement is possible because quite a few shop buildings in the city centre are empty. The vacancy … [are] mainly due to the fact that people are buying more and more over the internet. The ‘big city’ of Rotterdam also attracts a lot of purchasing power. … Recently, there were meetings to let shopkeepers and shop owners talk about what the centre should look like”.

Shopping map

Focus on the effect of mixed use ground level along Voorstraat and Noordeinde (blue dots above and left of canal), this is the old village zoned as ‘incidental residence’ (yellow area on zoning map).

Point 1. When demand for retail space reduces in area zoned ‘incidental residence’ the space is converted to other uses including residential, this zone does “allow maximum flexibility in land use so that buildings get renovated and economic activities take place to pay the taxes to maintain a high level of services” (ref 1)

Point 2. Seventeen ‘Horeca’s’ (Hotel/Restaurant/Café) are located within zone ‘incidental residence’ (blue dots), a smaller number 9+5 are in area zoned ‘living above ground functions’ (red + green dots), even less by the theatre and casino. The real world example from Spijkenissen shows when given the choice owners of Restaurants/Cafés will open ‘on the street where and how they want and decide and it is right and convenient for them’. (Ref 2) In Spijkenissen most choice where there is mixed use at ground level.

The question for Hamilton city leaders: what assumptions are used to justify ‘no residential at ground-floor level’ in business zones and ‘only retail activities and restaurants shall be located at the ground floor level of buildings within the Primary Frontages’ (ref 3)

Note: This post is about central Spijkenisse which became part of the municipality of Nissewaard in 2015

Ref 1 – Zoned in the USA, by Sonia Hirt. Chapter 3 – How others do it – France – page 71 Quote “from French colleague.” List Accent 1;

Ref 2 – In 1366, Duke Ernst I authorized the citizens of Göttingen “that they like to build, set and make their department store and town hall in Göttingen on the street … where and how they want and decide and it is right and convenient for them”.

Ref 3

The following is from the Hamilton city Operative District plan, (ODP) (my emphasis)

“Chapter 6 Business 1 to 7 Zones

6.4.7 Residential Development – no residential activities shall be undertaken at ground-floor level. (p23)

7 Central City Zone

7.5.3 Residential – i) Primary and Secondary Active Frontages. On primary and secondary frontages … ground floor pedestrian entrances to upper-floor residential units shall be a maximum width of 4m. Residential units shall not be located at ground floor level on primary frontages. (p29)

13 Rototuna Town Centre Zone

13.8 Rules – General Standards for All Permitted Activities in the Rototuna Town Centre Zone (p15)

13.8.2 Primary Frontages – Only retail activities and restaurants shall be located at the ground floor level of buildings within the Primary Frontages. (p15)

13.8.6 & 13.9.8 Residential Activities in Non-Residential Precincts

a) No residential units (including apartment buildings), residential centres, managed care facilities, rest homes, visitor accommodation or marae shall be located at ground floor level within the Retail, Employment or Community Precincts. (p17&22)”

Category: News

Mixed use ground floor – Middelharnis example

Scale of example: Middelharnis has a population of about 14,400 people (including Sommelsdijk), so it is larger than the local population in the Ouddorp example. Middelharnis has a relatively large range of shops, which attract shoppers from across the island of Goeree-Overflakkee, giving it a target clientele of close to 50,000 people. This is a little less than Charlois/Zuidplus South Rotterdam (pop 66,684), and larger than Zierikzee (pop 10,483), which attracts people from across the Zeeland island of Schouwen-Duiveland (pop 33,723).

Benchmarking and the nature of the challenge: Hamilton has a number of retail areas that attract shoppers from competing retail areas, much like the above-mentioned shopping areas in South Holland. Examples include Hamilton East, Rototuna and Dinsdale. The challenge is that ‘commercial survival of the centre requires a high level of attractiveness which can only be provided through the efforts of the local community itself’ (ref 1). If there is a reduction in the local shopping population, out-of-area people may feel this emptiness and retailers will ‘build and site their … store … on the street where they want and decide and where it suits and is convenient’ (ref 2. from 1366). Traders have known this for centuries; online trading is this century’s example.Image

The above photo, from the left, shows: Print shop (out of picture), bed shop, probable ground floor living (was Slaap comfort shop in 2009), ground floor living, home goods shop. These buildings are approximately midway along Middelharnis’ kilometre-long linear shopping street, and are thus on primary frontages on a retail street. The buildings are there for economic reasons. The central buildings’ ground and first floors are the same design, allowing new uses should a new tenant be needed, such as co-working spaces, pop-up shops, restaurants or cafés, and most of all, residential living on the ground floor. Due to online shopping, it is clear that we cannot solely rely on shops to create a good public realm (ref 3).

The above photos show the different frontages in the Middelharnis shopping centre. You can also take a Google street-view walk along this shopping street to form your own opinion on whether ‘Street level residential development would disrupt the commercial zone’ (ref 3) in a positive or negative way, or indeed would have any effect at all.

Ref 1 (my emphasis)

Hamilton City District Scheme (Section 1 & 2) first review – Supplementary Report on Commercial areas August 1975 – ref s 711 552 200 931 151 Ham 124+ pages (hard covered book)

Page 54 – Commercial 5F – Frankton … Because of the trading position of Frankton which is losing a considerable proportion of its immediate trade area through redevelopment of existing housing for industry, the commercial survival of the centre requires a high level of attractiveness which can only be provided through the efforts of the local community itself.

Ref 2

In 1366, Duke Ernst I authorized the citizens of Göttingen “that they like to build, set and make their department store and town hall in Göttingen on the street … where and how they want and decide and it is right and convenient for them”.

Ref 3 (my emphasis)

The Delft publication, The City at Eye Level, Lessons for Street Plinths (Second and extended version) (my emphasis) states:

17. Look at new upcoming functions in areas with vacancy, such as co-working spaces, temporary “meanwhile spaces”, restaurants and cafés, social functions such as elementary schools, and most of all residential living on the ground floor. Due to online shopping, it is clear that we cannot solely rely on shops to create a good public realm.

Ref 4

Hamilton City District Scheme (Section 1 & 2) first review – Supplementary Report on Commercial areas August 1975 – ref s 711 552 200 931 151 Ham 124+ pages (hard covered book)

Commercial 5H – Hamilton East – Page 51 … Street level residential development would disrupt the commercial zone

Category: News