On behalf of the Project Hart van Zuid, Field Academy has drawn recommendations and preconditions for the consortium that will redevelop Zuidplein and surroundings. Over 400 visitors have been asked about their use and appreciation of the outdoor space. A longer stay in the new Hart van Zuid and therefore a better connection of the area with adjacent residential areas is the main objective.
Weekly, the area around shopping centre Zuidplein is visited by over 183.000 people. The field study is designed and performed by five students of the Faculty of Architecture of TU Delft. Together with 400 visitors of the area, they completed questionnaires and recorded pedestrian routes. Strikingly, respondents could rarely explain what they mean by outdoor space. Zuidplein was not seen as one area and was often confused with the inner space of the mall.
Machiel van Dorst, expert in the field of environmental psychology at the Delft University of Technology, concludes that public space is assessed as relatively good, because people view the space purely functional. This is confirmed by the average short time spent in outdoor space. The assumption that the area is very negatively valued, partly due to the unattractive night situation, appears partly correct. Since people do not visit the area at all in the evening, they don’t share this experience!
The outdoor space functions well for waiting for the bus, to go shopping or to go to work. But nobody would ever venture to stay there for a longer period of time, let alone after closing time. Ensuring that passers-by become visitors, the outdoor space will have to transform to an outdoor lounge area with ditto design.
The respondents believe that there is still plenty of room for improvement in Hart van Zuid. A man, walking around the area with his four children, says that, as a Muslim, he feels he needs alcohol-free venues for his family. There are also ideas for the mall itself: ‘The roof has to go! Shopping outside is much more natural’, says a 57 year old shopping man.