This Project was a part of the minor Design Thinking & Doing in assignment for the client Gemeente Amsterdam.

For the full process portfolio for this minor click here.


The H-buurt is an area in the Bijlmer, Amsterdam. The neighborhood once had a relatively high crime rate, but this has decreased dramatically in recent years. Unfortunately the Bijlmer still has it bad image in the media. From all the areas in the Bijlmer, The H-buurt feels the most disconnected with the rest of Amsterdam.

Gemeente Amsterdam wanted to make the H-buurt more attractive and hopes more tourists will visit this area or more middle class citizen will move to this area. They tried to do this by putting art all over the area and buildings, and opened the Nelson Mandela Park.


Before starting the project Gemeente Amsterdam warned us that the people who live in the H-buurt are a hard targetgroup. They do not like to talk to people, especially not people from the Gemeente Amsterdam.

But eventually we did connect with these people. Because of the briefing of the Gemeente Amsterdam, we focused on making the Nelson Mandela Park more attractive. After talking to them, we discovered that making the neighboorhood or the park attractive was not solving any problems. Ofcourse It was nice to make it pretty but the people there didn’t feel a connection with the art that was already there, and the route to the Park was a little bit scary. We discovered they wanted to be more involved about what is happening in their neighborhood. Most of the people were immigrants and had interesting stories they wanted to share to show people the Bijlmer wasn’t as bad as the media portraits it. We connected with these people in a way, that they were open about what they wanted to see in their neighbourhood. They felt that the Gemeente Amsterdam didn't put any effort in connecting with them.

Our Target group was very interested in telling their story. So we came with the idea to make an colorfull ‘story-path’,from the centre through the H-buurt to the Nelson Mandela Park. This way people can follow the path to the H-buurt and read personal stories about the inhabitants, and see that the negative image that the Bijlmer has, isn’t true. We wanted to give them something they were proud of and envolve them into making their neighborhood better.


Because we were so involved with the targetgroup, they introduced us to the "H-Core."The H-Core is a group of people who have been living there for over 20 years. One of them told us when you want the H-buurt to embrace an initiative, you should make sure that the hardcore group is on your side.

Our discovery of the H-core also helped with gaining more empathy for the people there. Talking to them helped us understand how things worked in that neighborhood and this can help the urbanplanners understand how to approach the targetgroup.


Our final concept “Story Path” is a path from the Centre, through the H-Buurt to the Nelson Mandela Park. We decided to make the path very colorfull and use glow in the dark for a feeling of saftey. We wanted local artist to design the Path, based on the stories of the residents, so they would feel more involved. A part of the path would be colored by schoolchildren to involve the next generation.

Our advice for the Gemeente Amsterdam is to involve and talk to the H-core group, if they want to know what the residents there want.