Almere, now a city of over 100,000 inhabitants, has existed less than two decades. In that short time the city has demonstrated enormous potential and vitality. It has shown a commitment to architectural innovation and experimentation. Almere will soon reach the critical mass that will enable it to redefine its ambitions; 10 years from today, the population will approach that of a medium-sized city. Then it will be possible to make the quantum leap from an agglomeration of distinct "equal" centres, each with its own concentration of facilities, to a city with a recognizable hierarchy in the programmatic development. This growth will provide the city center with the basis for a number of essential facilities, such as a cultural nucleus (museum, library, theatre) and large scale retail facilities.