10, 9, 8… DEBATEApril 16, 2021
Shifting from the outdated idea of a library being a book-lending building, Leidschendam is exploring different locations to introduce a contemporary library for time well spent. What should the city council take into consideration for ten potential locations? We provided transparent evaluations of sites and context.
The city of Leidschendam-Voorburg, a commuter town in the west of the Netherlands not far from The Hague, is aiming to upgrade its libraries from traditional ‘book lending services’ into social hotspots where one can experience ‘time well spent’. Therefore, the council is rethinking various physical locations. To weigh the pros and cons, well-founded arguments should fuel the political debate. Therefore, we took a closer look at ten different local locations. Besides the contextual aspects of each spot, the volume of the plot had to be taken into consideration as well, as the city uses this to differentiate between medium and large-scale facilities.
The feasibility study aimed to investigate, rate and evaluate the ten different sites on relevant physical characteristics to make a considered judgment about the suitability of the various options for the new-thought library. The study should be used for shaping opinions to feed the political debate in Leidschendam-Voorburg, and ultimately help determine the best possible locations for the future library.
To make sure the best third place is found, we have developed a set of lenses to take a closer look at the different sites.
Covering all bases
To make sure the best third place is found, we have developed a set of lenses to take a closer look at the different sites. These lenses are shaped by the theories of our heroes, among them William H. Whyte (urbanist, sociologist, organizational analyst, journalist and people-watcher), Paco Underhill (environmental psychologist), Kevin Lynch (urban planner), Ray Oldenburg (sociologist) and B. Joe Pine II (the author who coined the term ‘experience economy’). The lenses combine various insights into the physical aspects of successful third places. Categorized by Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we can prioritize the psychological importance of social places’ physical characteristics.
Based upon these insights, we analyze, rate and evaluate the site and context’s demographic, social, geographic, economic, traffic and public transport issues. Urban factors are also taken into account, such as the year of construction, how old a neighborhood is, destination plans, the ratio of rental to owner-occupied housing, etc. And last but not least, the Dutch Library Law is taken into account as far as the physical matters that enable healthy library operation. Quite a laundry list indeed!
Clarity for council
But in the end, things are made simple through our transparent rating system that summarizes everything in a couple of numbers for each plot – ready for discussion to take off. The members of the city council received a solid foundation for their political debate.
Leidschendam – Voorburg Library Feasibility Study
Client: Gemeente Leidschendam-Voorburg
Team includi: Eunice Ma, Tessa Wennink, Kirstin Hanssen, Aat Vos