“Me and Tilburg North, we listen and go forth.” This is what Hind Hakki sang at the Tilburg Revue in 2019. We also live in this city and feel connected to it. After half a year of getting to know each other and collaborating, we feel just as Hind, more committed to Tilburg North, which is the area North of the canal. In short, TiBoKa (an acronym for Tilburg Boven het Kanaal). This term of endearment refers to a world of ideas. Small and larger plans such as Tuk-tuk, micro village, market hall and doorman, which we often developed with pioneers.

Our Tilburg team participated in the competition entitled ‘Panorama Lokaal Tilburg Noord.’ This is a coalition between the Tilburg municipality, Van Wanrooij Bouw en Ontwikkeling, housing association WonenBreburg, Water Authority De Dommel and the citizens involved in PACT (People Acting in Community Together). Alderman Mario Jacobs summarized the tender as follows: “Design the banner we want to follow for a decade because it is challenging and alluring. Present a challenging future perspective which may be controversial.”

In more classier words this project is about social issues such as energy transition, climate change and a better alignment with housing needs and wishes of the local community. How to tackle problems concerning poverty and a sense of insecurity? This should all be included in a business case, that connects parties and residents in the long term and forms a starting point for rolling up the sleeves tomorrow morning.

It is our ambition to make interesting plans with the people of this city district, together with its present inhabitants and pioneers. We did not opt for the statistical route but chose the most innovative option. We could surely demolish houses and replace them by expensive ones. Of course, statistically the problems may then decrease somewhat. But cold numbers will not provide answers to weighty and urgent issues that take place behind many front doors.

We spoke with the people of Tilburg North. Pioneers who want to achieve their own specific goals step forward. They already have the power to bring about change. Enthusiastic laymen and committed professionals. People who want to stand up for themes that fit the neighborhood like a glove, such as food production and youth. The spatial domain has also been thoroughly inventoried. There are a lot of urgent issues that justify direct intervention.

By means of joint research, preliminary sketches and joint entrepreneurship, a practical vision was established which challenged the coalition and furthermore helped them in formulating their ambitions. The ideas of PACT had already given the energy to produce something new. Our vision mainly focused on a preventive approach: instead of sticking plasters we decided to provide a vitamin boost. This process doesn’t stop by handing in this tender. We suggest empowering the people of Tilburg North. TiBoKa’s pride will take the project further.

In our view we rather focus on details than on destroying buildings with a sledgehammer. Creating transition zones in which public spaces get more significance. Streets and junctions in which new icons could arise. Fluid city boundaries that allow the TiBoKa area to become more accessible. How will this be achieved by our more than hundred concrete measures and projects? Moving between small to extra-large projects, implemented in the course of a timeline. We will highlight just a few.

In the Kouwenberg Gardens, situated between Tilburg North and the Burgemeester Bechtweg, different types of community housing in so-called hamlets will arise. Small villages, with a variety of housing where the focus will be on community living. We will combine this with small-scale food production, which will contribute to a community garden nursery. And also the pioneers’ dream to have a market hall in Tilburg North. In the Kouwenberg Gardens recreation and day-time activities will be possible and a new short-cut will be created to the Pauwels Park. This park will function as water storage and a garden. Its fields will have biological products, in co-operation with the farmers situated north of the Bechtweg.

Another prominent project is the TiBoKa Tuk-tuk, which provides an accessible and safe means of transport for elderly people to go to Peerke Donders. Together with the local transport function it will also provide a tourist attraction for the entire city of Tilburg. Young people who work as bus drivers will receive “Bokatie”, a new local currency. One of the Tuk-tuk stations will be placed on the Wagnerplein where the self-designed cars will be serviced. This workstation will be adjacent to a VMBO school (vocational school) so that learning and working will be intertwined.

In the Northern part of the city, called Stokhasselt, we will design central places which will be given social functions and medical care, accessible meeting points and new housing for elderly people who do not want to be re-allocated. A form of housing that combines independent living with a nursing home. It will be about care and daytime activities within reach. Tilburg politics recently discussed this issue and referred to it as “a care community centre”. We call it a “Power Pit”. For every 1,000 inhabitants there will be a GP (general practitioner), who will be assisted by district nursing, GGD, social and youth work. Day and night a doorman will provide an extra pair of eyes elsewhere in the Kapelmeesterlaan.

The Stokhasseltlaan will be closed off at the junction with Ypelaerpark. This is how we will provide more green spaces and that is how the borders with the Heikant will become more fluid. The pond will be enlarged and will contain more water. There will be an island with special playground furniture including a miniature boat. Surveyance will be provided in order to make it attractive for parents and children. Parkzicht will also have an ArtVillage which will house Corpo Máquina, Het Zuidelijke Toneel and Fashion Clash. These three stakeholders will be part of Forwart, an art and culture project that recently received European subsidy. We also suggest including a boxing school as this will empower young people to show will-power, perseverance and trust.

In the ideal social business case, we should try to combine healthcare, education and enforcement budgets for the most profitable outcome. We do not believe in creating long-term-combined budgets  with unintelligible contracts. We recommend a solid personality that adds more value to these types of neighborhoods than a unfathomable business case. A kind of Riek Bakker but aimed at euros, a kind of Cees de Sloper but then as demolisher of budgeting fences. Fearless, not afraid of anyone!

View the documentation (sorry, only in Dutch):

project plan