The coming decades, the number of inhabitants in Utrecht will grow. In the assignment Think Big!/Shared Space of Aorta Centre of Architecture, the team of OTO/marco.broekman/HIK proposes to solve the majority of this densification task within Stadseiland. Within the transformation towards a high-quality urban area, the main objective is to strengthen the identity of the area as an urban island. The scale of Stadseiland offers great opportunities to properly organize important themes. Stadseiland will be an example for sustainable urbanization with smart mobility systems, climate adaptive and attractive public spaces, new forms of housing in line with a range of target groups and innovative energy concepts.
An important part of the plan is Rondje Stadseiland, a park route along the Merwedekanaal and the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal. This will be the new park route of Utrecht West. The new park improves the quality of life of the surrounding neighbourhoods. Urban development and park development should happen parallel to each other. Hence, revenues from housing developments can be used for the development of the park and vice versa. The project will therefore be implemented in several phases. Creating a continuous route is the first phase. After this, the development of the park can be linked to densification tasks in the Beurskwartier, Merwedekanaalzone and Kanaleneiland.
In the current situation, the route is not usable at a few locations and it varies a lot in quality. In the proposal, Rondje Stadseiland will get a park-like quality with different tracks, that match the current character of the surroundings and the urban fabric of the adjacent neighbourhoods: Muntpark Oog in Al, Merwedepark, Voedselpark Halve Maan, Stadsboulevard Kanaleneiland and Natuurpark Zuidpunt. The tracks show different atmospheres and facilitate different usage, but together they form a recognizable city park. It is essential to properly connect the park with existing and future bridges, and to make good cross-links, creating sub-routes. Rondje Stadseiland will be part of larger cycling and running networks, and facilitates a great number of usages at different scales and speeds.