Archive for July, 2009


July 30, 2009


A long time fantasy: cad drawing in a game arcade: drafting with a joy stick. Now  finally Master Gen seems to have succeeded in hooking up  a game console to drafting software…

Tour de .FR

July 25, 2009

.NL in the TOUR

Geriatric City

July 23, 2009

A freak accident happened a few days ago. While driving her so-called Scootmobiel an elderly lady bumped into the doors of the elevator. The doors opened after the impact and she fell into the shaft. She died. It was the fourth accident of this nature in but the first with such dramatic effect. Apparently elevator doors are not designed to take such forces.

Scootmobiels are a novelty: they are hybrid of car and wheelchair. The small, electric vehicles allow people with ‘limited mobility’, (elderly and the disabled) to live their life independently and to break out of the confinement that comes with their condition. The world is within reach again.

The number of cars increase enormously. Partly because of technological advancements and cost reduction and partly because of new legislation that allows local governments (that are responsible for the distribution) and insurance companies to give out more and more vehicles. On a population of 16 million there are now about 120.000 Scootmobiels. According to it is likely that in a few years the number will explode to 600.000: a density of 26 Scootmobiels per 1000 inhabitants.

We don’t have the figures yet, but it could very well be that the Netherlands are front runner in the number of Scootmobiels per capita: the flatness of the country combined with compactness and relative wealth create the right biotope…

The sizes of the cars force us to reconsider dimensions of the build environment.

There are many different types available, either with three wheels or four. The dimensions of the Booster Tetra with an extra large luggage carrier:

Length: 1315 mm
Width:  640 mm
Turning circle: 2640 mm
Required space for turning: 1650 mm
Weight with batteries: 117,6 kg
Reach: 35 km
Speed max: 12 km/h

Scootmobiel Alvaro Dietz

wheelchair vs Scootmobiel

Governmental Vandalism

July 21, 2009


We just returned from a visit to the Beetsplein in Dordrecht. We are in shock. Apparently the government considered it necessary to introduce additional toys to the square. ‘They’ installed a playground with a slide from a catalogue without consulting us. Or our partners DS. Or the CBK that partly commisionned the project.  They took the effort to find ‘matching’ colors. Which made it worse. The green ‘bouncy ground’ destroys the integrity of the design. The banal gadgets are exactly what we tried to avoid with our effort to create a real public square freed from debilitating standard furniture. Why invite us in the first place?

Paradise Parking

July 16, 2009

paradise parking

City Cargo

July 14, 2009

City Cargo_Delivery Tram

City Cargo is dead. After a long struggle the experiment to deliver goods by streetcar was terminated this week by the local government in Amsterdam.

The wonderfully counter-intuitive idea of City Cargo is to use the existing infrastructure for streetcars in a new way: to replace Trucks with Trams. Clean and safe.

According to the City Cargo website presently, more than half of the particulate matter in emissions in the city are caused by diesel traffic. More than 35% of emissions derive from goods transport.

City Cargo aims to take out half the number of trucks that enter the city. In Amsterdam it would mean cutting the number from 5000 to 2500 a day. In Europe alone over 240 cities have tram systems.

Form delivery points outside the city center the trams will take the goods to several hubs throughout the center from where the delivery to the final destinations will be handled by small electric vehicles, the so-called e-cars. Exactly this might be the bug in the system. Considering the size of Amsterdam (and many other cities with tram lines) the hubs can be located strategically just outside the center and the cargo trams in principle can be taken out of the loop…

In Saint Malo we just came across a similar initiative. The ‘petit train’ normally serves as a tourist trap but also picks up recyclable trash from the city center… le ‘petit train’ is deployed as garbage truck!

Le Petit Train as Garbage Truck

le Petit Train Saint Malo