Trekvliet zone Waterfront park

The city of The Hague wants to combine a substantial growth in population with high ambitions on climate adaptation. The industrial area of ‘Binckhorst’ will play a main role in accommodating these ambitions. Binckhorst now is a fully paved over, mainly industrial area of about 130 hectares that will transform into a high density, mixed use urban area. The municipality envisions a large number of new houses here in combination with a new mayor artery road which is currently under construction. This combination puts a high pressure on public space and demands for an investment in its future quality.

The cities transformation strategy here doesn’t follow a fixed masterplan, but allows organic urban development facilitating private initiatives. This asks for a clear vision on how to reach climate adaptation goals concerning storm water management and urban heat stress, since there is no masterplan to guide these ambitions. We propose to develop a robust green-blue framework that integrates climate adaptive solutions and defines a high quality of public space for the area.

We focussed on the canal zone of ‘Trekvliet’ which will be the first part of the Binckhorst to transform into a high density, mixed use urban area. This canal carries a historical significance to the city as an ancient transport infrastructure, a water management backbone and a public space of recreational value. To revitalize these valuable characteristics, we propose to redefine the canal zone as a blue-green backbone for bikes and pedestrians, that organizes a rich series of different public spaces that are oriented perpendicular towards the water. These perpendicular green-blue spaces follow the original polder structure and frame plots for urban development oriented on the water of the Trekvliet. A rhythm of green-blue public spaces structure the future urban fabric and they also collect, store and infiltrate storm water, covering the entire surface of the catchment area.

Taking into account property lines, existing infrastructure, phasing flexibility and a fine mesh of pedestrian and bike routes, we developed a set of catchment entities that collect and hold their own water in their own green-blue public spaces. In a cyclical process of calculating, designing and client feedback, together we came to define a set of 12 different green-blue spaces to structure all future development along the Trekvliet zone. These spaces enhance the importance of the historical Trekvliet line by offering a coherent public space materialization and a contextual planting scheme. Yet they also offer a rich variety in local identities for small scale neighbourhood developments in which climate adaptation is accommodated naturally.