Experiment garden for healthy urbanization in Utrecht
In the coming years, urbanization in the Netherlands will continue considerably. A metropolitan landscape is created in which four large cities increasingly function as one connected region. Utrecht is the fastest growing city in the Netherlands: The city is high in the top 10 knowledge regions, has a very central location and is surrounded by attractive, culturally and historically rich landscapes. Due to these excellent business conditions, the end of the growth is not yet in sight.
Within the connected region, Utrecht distinguishes itself through the focus on Urban Healthy Living. One of the places where Urban Healthy Living takes shape is the Merwedekanaalzone, an old industrial area of 70 hectares on the west side of the historic center. In 2030 the area will be transformed into a lively new district with approximately 10,000 new houses. The former Defense area is the first area that is being developed. Owner and developer BPD took the initiative to shape the ambitions of the Healthy City for this area.
The Healthy City idea has been translated into core values that form the conditions for a happy and healthy life. This means that integral consideration has been given to green, sustainability, mobility, energy, climate and circularity. Together with engineers from Arup and landscape architect OKRA, concepts have been developed on all of these themes. For an optimal microclimate, the buildings have been modelled in such a way that almost all homes have a minimum of two hours of sun, even in winter. The green is situated so that all houses have at least one large tree, a collective garden or green roof. There is also integral thinking about the play values. The idea behind this is that if an environment is safe and attractive for children, this also applies to everyone between the ages of 8 and 88.
In the neighbourhood, movement is stimulated on all fronts. The plan is an important link in the round ‘city island’, a 6 kilometer new green park route along the canals of Utrecht.
An elevated boardwalk switches the neighbourhood to the park. This car-free promenade is the carrier for the most important facilities and connects the district with the other new neighbourhoods of the Merwedekanaalzone.
Because 75% of the roof surface is required for solar panels, it has been decided to make good use of the remaining roof surface. A collective roof park of 360 meters long in the heart of the district forms a special street at height. The ‘Skywalk’ offers residents and visitors a unique experience and a beautiful view of the whole city. ‘Show movement’ is a starting point for the Skywalk. Taking the stairs to the 5th floor is not only healthy but also really fun when you see on an digital counter how fast your predecessor was, according to one of the architects
Urban master plan city district 600 houses
Former defense park on the Overste den Oudenlaan in Utrecht
OKRA and ARUP