Merwedekanaal, zone 5

Utrecht Netherlands

Merwedekanaal zone development

Utrecht appears to be the fastest-growing city in the Netherlands. A large part of the extra housing will be built over the coming years on the City Island. OKRA, together with the municipality, urban planners, owners, developers and users, is developing an attractive, high-density housing neighbourhood, accommodating app. 6.000 new dwellings, within the island. The current phase includes the sub-area 5, a 24 hectares area, located between the Balijebrug and Socratesbrug.

Healthy urban living

The design process has been strongly led by the principles of the healthy city. Thanks to a favourable location in relation to the new centre of Utrecht, the sub-area 5 proved to be an ideal testing ground for innovative mobility concepts. An integrated water system, combined with a parallel green and climate adaptive strategy, has been defined for the area. The goal has been translating these aspirations into design, by creating an inclusive and high-quality public realm.

Green and Blue Framework

The new green structure, including the Merwedekanaal park and the Transwijk park, will be linked and anchored to the surrounding green areas. The main infrastructure, boarding the west side of the area (Europalaan) is being transformed into a green city boulevard, accommodating cycle facilities and new public transport lines, including a tram connection to the city centre. The heart of the district will be expressed by a green spine, the so-called ‘backbone’, functioning, at the same time, as a resilient element and as a social connector of public spaces. Additional infiltration zones have been provided to contribute to the climate-proofing ambitions of the neighbourhood. These nature-inclusive and climate-adaptive design principles are key to OKRA’s designs for healthy liveable cities.