Flyover PAPA summer 2010

How four artists research the DNA of the fly-over in the Netherlands and photographers in Bangladesh, Nigeria and Brazil supply alternative 'business concepts' for what can be done in the spaces beneath fly-overs.

Lino Hellings was commissioned by the Department of Urban Development of the city of The Hague to map the DNA of the Vlietzone, the area under and around the Prins Claus flyovers. Summer 2010.

© PAPA/Lino Hellings, concept.
Marjolijn Boterenbrood, visual artist, drew maps of the area. Cilia Erens, soundartist composed two soundscapes. Rob van Maanen, cultural psychologist wrote a series of short essays. Photographers Shahidul Alam (Dhaka Bangladesh) and Toye Gbade (Lagos Nigeria) pictured the activities under the flyover in their respective cities.
Photography The Hague by Lino Hellings and Rob van Maanen. Photography Sao Paulo Lino Hellings

On bicycles, three urban planners and I explore the Vlietzone, the area around the Prins Clausplein traffic intersection near The Hague.

They tell me that there are thirty-six pressure groups lobbying over how this few square hectares of land should be used. 'Can you describe the area in a way that allows us to talk to the pressure groups?' ask the urban planners. 'In order to have a new vocabulary with which we can look together at what is bad and what is good.' Because at the moment the consultation process is failing. The pressure groups argue against the Department of Urban Development's proposals in a similar kind of official language to that used by the city council it self. That is understandable where the council wants to lay a new motorway through the area. That is a fact, which you are simply for or against. But things are more complex with regard to the council's interventions to reconcile the large scale of the motorways with the activities of those who use the area. A few good examples have already been realised, such as the 'sound dike', which not only protects houses from traffic noise but also contains hiking routes, cycle paths, a few club houses and artists studios.

The other side of the story is that the Dutch government is constantly raking over everything. The fringes that cities need in order to test the viability of alternative forms of living have all but disappeared. Everything in the Netherlands is regulated with signs prescribing or proscribing this and that, both within the city and beyond. A more informal relationship to a particular site seems out of the question.
I decide to take on the commission to describe the area in photographic observations, and to share the commission with my friends-artists in the Netherlands

Soundscapes Cilia Erens

And with the PAPA correspondents elsewhere in the world: to get them to describe what is happening under their flyovers. What sort of ideas can be generated for the use of this site if you look at similar situations in cultures where there is a much more informal relationship to public spaces? What can we learn from them?

The result of this project, a description of the area and of similar areas in Bangladesh, Nigeria and Brazil, now forms the basis of an official discussion document for the development of the Vlietzone. The urban planners who previously saw only impossibilities' can now see the qualities of the area again. This fresh perspective offers them the opportunity to enter into a new kind of conversation with the pressure groups.

Maps Marjolijn Boterenbrood

The results of the project is transformed into an interactive CD to be used by professionals involved in the development of this area.

Vacant land
In the Netherlands we tend to build flyovers outside the city. Slowly the city moves towards the flyover. What can we do with this vacant land? PAPA sends its correspondents to other parts of the world have a look under their flyovers for alternative 'business concepts'.
Published 06 October 2010 by Lino Hellings
Filed under Flyoverpapa
The Hague The Netherlands

Flyover mosque
Before the government could take a stand, the spaces have been occupied according to the squatters' principles by public bus operators, thugs and the homeless. It was kind of a battle to clean the place up. It is the month of Ramadan, the fasting month for Muslims. The picture shows devout Muslims, practically living in this space to be able to perform religious rights of worship and also to listen to the teachings of the Alfa – Leader. They maintain the space, painting it; there's electricity powered by a generator, a public address system, a cooling fan etc. Obviously the government would rather have this, even though it is run according to the squatters' principle.
Published on 06 Oct 2010 by Toye Gbade
Filed under Flyoverpapa
Lagos Nigeria

Undercover gym
Next to the Catadores (the informal rubbish collectors' coop) men from the (neighbour)hood have created their own open-air gym. Directly under the traffic viaducts, it is a good initiative, although they did send some people away who lived under this bridge. They love to be photographed. Nothing to hide?
Published on 05 Dec 2009 by Lino Hellings
Filed under Sao Paulo Lab
São Paulo Brazil

Lovers' lane
Mohakhali Flyover. There are very few places for couples to meet in the crowded city of Dhaka. This is especially so for people with a low income who cannot afford the seclusion that more well-to-do couples have access to. Lakeside paths becomes 'lovers lane' during the day. Those who work all day have to be inventive to find quiet places to be on their own. The flyover in Mohakhali, while busy with traffic, has few people. A couple finds a secluded moment for themselves as cars whiz by.
Published on 06 Oct 2010 by Shahidul Alam
Filed under Flyoverpapa
Dhaka Bangladesh

The sorting begins on the street. Notice all the rope, string and sacks on the side of the cart, which can weigh up to 300 kilos.