The Waaldijk near Nijmegen has to be reinforced in the near future. Besides elevating the dike in 2050 (and with 2 meters in 2120), there are problems with seepage and the risk of piping and instability. When the Waaldike is elevated, it will be necessary, from a technical point of view, to keep a certain distance between the dike and the houses. Waterschap Rivierenland and the municipality of Nijmegen have the ambition to connect the city and dike, mainly because of the possible revenues from the land behind the dike.
What is the spatial relationship between Nijmegen and the Waaldijk and how could the elevation of the dike be solved in this context?
OTO has analyzed the Waaldijk and the way different villages, neighborhoods and cities are located in relation to the dike. Conclusion: in the most urbanized areas, the dike isn’t visible as a spatial element anymore, while in rural areas along the Waal, the dike is recognizable as a separate element which forms an important linear structure in the landscape.
OTO proposes to transform the area directly behind the Waaldijk into a dike park. The park ensures that the dike can be experienced as a separate spatial element and that the landscape is optimally intertwined with the city of Nijmegen. Seepage can be used in a smart way to create wetland nature and from the surrounding neighborhoods there are routes through the park directly to the dike. The transformation of the area into a park makes the installation of a sheet piling wall unnecessary, which saves a lot of money. Hence, there is less need for revenues from housing development in the area and more room for the development of a park with low urban density. The park has an informal character and consists of a multitude of functions with public and productive qualities such as orchards, energy crops, open park places, wetland nature and vegetable gardens. At some locations, there is space for innovative housing development. OTO proposes a strategy in which the park can be developed in different phases and in which choices for further urbanization can be made in the future.