The coming decades, the number of inhabitants in Utrecht will grow and the city will expand mainly within the existing city limits. The Merwedekanaalzone has been designated as one of the most important densification areas in Utrecht. In addition to this densification task, Utrecht aims to be a healthy city and wants to deal with climate change in a smart way. Especially the increase in the amount of rainfall and the warming of the city demand climate-proof solutions. In this context, OTO conducted a design study for a climate adaptive public space in Deelgebied 5 of the Merwedekanaalzone, commissioned by the Province of Utrecht.
Merwedekanaalzone has the potential to set an example for a healthy city with a high urban density. Based on an analysis of the area, a vision is formed for the area to become part of the city fabric. In the future, the area will consist of a permeable street network focused on cyclists and pedestrians. Furthermore, a mix of functions will create urban synergy and great public places will attract people from all over Utrecht.
By combining the ownership situation, the valuable places in the area and the ambition of a permeable street network, the basis for the urban structure is created. This consists of the main street network and the building plots. Inside these plots, different building typologies are possible, but the density increases towards the Europalaan. The design concept consists of green streets, water squares and a canal park. Together with the rooftops and the collective courtyards, these components collect a large part of the rain water. The water flows through the different elements of the plan like a cascade: from private to public and from high to low. The water squares are attractive, green spots with a high public quality. They differ in character depending on their location. The canal park along the Merwedekanaal is part of the park route around Stadseiland and gives added value to the Merwedekanaalzone.