testing ground for healthy for healthy urbanisation in Utrecht
The coming years the urbanisation of The Netherlands will progress rapidly. A metropolitan landscape will develop in which the four large cities will more and more function like one connected region. Utrecht is the quickest growing city in The Netherlands. This city ranks highly in the top 10 knowledge regions. It is located very centrally and is surrounded by attractive and cultural-historically rich landscapes. Due to these favourable conditions this period of growth is not going to end any time soon.
Within the connected region Utrecht set itself apart with its focus Urban Healthy Living. One of the places where Urban Healthy Living takes shape is the Merwedekanaalzone, a 70ha old industrial area to the west of the historic centre. In 2030 the area will have been transformed into a lively new city district with approximately 10.000 new homes. The Voormalig Defensieterrein is the area that will be developed first. Owner and developed BPD took the initiative to realise the ambitions for the healthy city in this area.
The idea of the healthy city has been translated into core values which define the conditions for a happy healthy life. This means that there has been a holistic consideration of green, sustainability, mobility, energy, climate and circularity. Together with the engineers of Arup and OKRA landscape architects concepts were developed following these themes. As an example the microclimate of the buildings was developed to ensure that almost all dwellings receive at least two hours of sunshine, also in the winter. Also the green has been designed to make sure that all dwellings have a view of at least one large tree, a collective garden or a green roof. There has also been an integral consideration of play. The though behind this has been that if an area is safe and attractive for children, it will be so for anyone between an age of 8 to 88.
In the neighbourhood movement is stimulated on all fronts. The plan is an important link in the ‘Stadseiland’ (city island) circular walk, a 6km new park route along the canals of Utrecht. A raised boardwalk connects the neighbourhood to the park. The most important services are situated along this car-free promenade and it links the area with other new neighbourhoods in the Merwedekanaalzone.
Because 75% of the roof area is needed for solar panels, it has been decided to use the remaining roof area well. A collective roof park of 360m is the heart of the neighbourhood and creates a special street in the sky. The skywalk offers inhabitants and visitors a wonderful view of the city. Showing movement is the starting point of the skywalk. Going up to the 5th floor using the stairs is healthy and when you can see how quick the person in front of you was, it also becomes a fun experience.
Urban master plan city district 600 houses
Former defense park on the Overste den Oudenlaan in Utrecht
OKRA and ARUP