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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I’ll show you a few google-screenshots of new suburbs in the Netherlands.

Though it looks spectacular from above, the architecture is quite often very dull and boring (imho ;)) I’ve got mixed feelings with this type of cityplanning. On one hand the shapes of these new suburbs are very remarkable, the use of water between circles and squares makes a residential area look like a piece of art by itself. On the other hand, the new suburbs have nothing to do with the history of the local rural area, they are superimposed like if nothing was there before.

What do you think of it?

1. A new palm in Rotterdam (Carnisselande)


2. Squares in The Hague (Leidschenveen)


3. More squares in The Hague (Ypenburg). As you can see, they hired different developers for different plots.


4. Huge square near Alkmaar (HAL)


5. Huge circle in Purmerend (Weidefenne)


6. A different new way of reshaping the countryside north of ‘s Hertogenbosch, residential areas like castles in the open fields. (Haverleij)
 

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It is exactly like you said, they may look nice from above but being at street level the repetitive architecture and the lack of facilities results in an unheimisch feeling.
 

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Every mass housing project becomes dull. Our 70's and 80's neighborhoods aren't that much better, although they have more greenery, but you can't expect a treeless polder that becomes a neighborhood to have tall trees within 5 years.
 

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Very interesting. Can the average Dutch family afford to live in such a development? I understand tax rates are very high there.

Also, do residents of such suburbs tend to only drive to work, or do a lot bike like they do in large cities?

There are similar developments in the U.S. I think there's one in Sugar Land, TX like that, though probably with larger detached single-family houses.
 

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Also, do residents of such suburbs tend to only drive to work, or do a lot bike like they do in large cities?
It's a mix.

These new developments are usually somewhat further away from working locations and the historic city center. (European cities often lack a huge business downtown, jobs are spread over industrial or office parks in the city).

A lot of these jobs are further away than the average distance people tend to take their bike to work, so these developments usually generates more car traffic than the older neighborhoods.

The main problem is they build a lot of these neighborhoods, though they don't adjust the infrastructure to these spatial developments, so traffic jams are common on the entrance routes from and to these urban areas.

Another issue is, that a lot households here have 2 incomes, and they often have 2 cars, which needs different parking-standards than the older neighborhoods. Unlike American suburbs, which usually include a private parking garage, Dutch new urban area's are usually full with cars, because you have to use the (limited) public parking lots along the streets. The street image is therefore not very scenic.

Though this kind of spatial planning was created in order to reduce commutings from further-away-towns, by building new urban areas in the main regional city, so people tend to live closer to their jobs, but often not on biking-distance (however that differs from person to person, some don't take their bike over 4km, some still use their bike on 15km commutes).

The usually only mode of public transportation are buses, which are usually slow, and only focused on the city center and main trainstation, rather than the job locations, so moving around with the bus is slow, and often the bike is faster.
 

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that first one you show isn't Nesselande --> it looks like a part of Carnisselande, that area is on the southside of Rotterdam instead of Northeast (which is Nesselande)
:) On that "Palm Island" lives a friend of mine...that how I recognised it..

These suburbs are most of the time not so nice, but every now or then there actually very nice residential developments but most of the time everything looks the same anyway! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the note Patrick.

Can the average Dutch family afford to live in such a development?
These housing projects are especially for the middle and higher incomes. The middle class can buy a house in the dense middle of the suburb and the people who can afford a little bit more live on the edges (often with water) of the suburbs. People with low incomes cannot afford to live here, they stay in the cities of course.
 

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Thanks for the note Patrick.

These housing projects are especially for the middle and higher incomes. The middle class can buy a house in the dense middle of the suburb and the people who can afford a little bit more live on the edges (often with water) of the suburbs. People with low incomes cannot afford to live here, they stay in the cities of course.
I don't fuly agree on that one. Devellopers are forced by local governments to build at least 30% social housing in most suburbs.
 

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^^ Yes, but those are usually apartments. I live in such a suburb, and the cheapest houses are around 180.000 - 200.000 euro's, which is still some 290.000 dollars.

200.000 - 250.000 euros is a typical "starters house", who those who just started on the housing market. For this budget, you usually have a small row-house with 3 bedrooms, and a yard.

Larger family homes are usually over 300.000 euro's. (450.000 dollars).

These red-roofed row-houses on the upper right costs about 250.000 - 350.00 euros
 

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^^
200-250 K euros is the typical house for a starter on the market?
The modal income in the Netherlands is about 31.000 euros (gross). In that case, a man can finance his house with a mortgage loan of (4 * 31.000 =) 124.000 euros.
So, houses of 200 K euros are only for the starter who has a partner who is also working fulltime. It's very poor. It means no time for the kids and a lot of stressful feelings. The divorce rate in such neighbourhoods is really high (some people say even 80%!). Financial distress (see the high prices of the houses), which causes the stressful feelings, is the main factor of this high rate.
(source (in Dutch): http://www.ad.nl/binnenland/article257668.ece)
 

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^^

That's why at least 30% of housing in the suburbs is social development, usually for rent for about €500,- / €700,- a month. These houses are equal to the typical starters house; +/- 3 bedroom, 180m² living space and a 60m² garden.

There's also something called "koopsubsidie", which means people with a low income receive a small monthly payment from the government. Some local governments even provide low interest starters mortgages. These cost less than a normal mortgage at start, but as your income rises, so does your monthly mortgage payment.

In a typical Dutch family men work fulltime and women part-time. Day-care centres are very expensive. Therefore it's cheaper for mothers to work part-time and take care of the children.

It's a fact the Dutch housing market is overheated, there are simply not enough houses for everyone. Even at a construction rate of 100.000 new homes a year the market can't keep up. In most cities thousands of small, low quality houses build in the 50's and 60's, just after WWII, are being demolished. These are replaced by larger houses, meaning a lower building density. To compromise this effect large suburbs are being build at the outskirts of these cities. Holland is also the third most densely populated country in the world. Nearly every square km is populated, meaning open space is hard to come by and expensive.
 

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I would like to add that population density-comparison with other countries like South Korea or Taiwan can't be done properly, because their main average density comes from very dense cities, but Dutch cities are not very dense. The Delta metropolis or Randstad might be one of the least dense multi-million agglomerations in the world. Unlike many countries, our countryside relies completely on the nearby regional city. That creates many transportation problems, because of the low density of the Delta Metropolis, and the large commute from the spread-out low density semi-rural area's, public transportation is not very effecient as you might expect from a multi-million metropolitan area. Though trains are usually busy, but largely filled with students who don't have other transportation options. Therefore, our roads are the busiest in Europe with a lot of traffic jams.

If you look at a map, and see there are a lot of motorways, that's very true, the problem is not the number of motorways, but their capacity, most motorways are only 2x2 lanes, as you might see in the countryside, but also within urban area's or on commuter routes.
 

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This is so fascinating. Thank you, contributors.

So, aside from bus routes, there are no viable public transportation options? Also, are there height limitations, that is, are mid-rise condominiums frowned upon (or just not desirable)?

I fully understand the complaints, but I would take this in the U.S. any day over our new subdivisions and exurban developments! It's unfortunate to hear about the banal streetscape, however, I'm sure ample amounts of mature foliage will go a long way in humanizing it.
 

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Most cities only have bus lines. Though some larger cities have trams, a trolley bus and metro lines in Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

To your point of height limitations, a lot of cities have them. In my city of Zwolle, it used to be 90m. There are always a lot of comments when plans arrive for somewhat higher buildings (like the ones that are higher than trees).

I remember a recent issue in my city where there was a plan for a "high building". It turned out to be a 4 floor apartment building. That shows us some about the attitude of the media towards highrises. A 40m building can often be described as "the colossal building at the shopping center" for instance.
 
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