In the district of Selwerd, city of Groningen, the municipality is working with the housing company Nijestee on an urban development plan. 250 houses will be demolished and approximately 440 new houses built. A significant increase in city centers. And this while the ambitions are not only high when it comes to increasing the number of dwellings. In the renewal of the district of ‘Sunny Selwerd‘ Ambitions such as greening, making it more sustainable, mixed housing (social, average rent and purchase) and inclusiveness (a place for everyone) are also of considerable importance. When redeveloping this area, they focus less on politics and more on the end user(s).
Quantity and quality in balance
Karlo Feunekes and Aafke Stadhouders (of Procap) are involved in the development of this area on behalf of the municipality of Groningen. When searching for a desirable interpretation of this space, they regularly discuss how to incorporate functions that claim the space. Together with the project team, they look for sound and viable solutions within a design. On the one hand, the pressure on space — increase in the number of dwellings — is increasing. On the other hand, the quality of housing and uses should improve in the future.
Karlo: “Since the neighborhood renewal program called ‘Sunny Selwerd’, as project manager I am responsible for leading this restructuring task from the municipality of Groningen and the municipal project team. We coordinate the content of the project with all parties. Themes such as mobility and parking, landscaping, housing program; energy (city heating), climate adaptation and connection to public space are part of this. In the planning phase, we start as early as possible with How? ‘Or’ What we can combine policy and customization within the municipality in the plan. Furthermore, from the Municipality of Groningen, I am responsible for the coordination of spatial procedures, the necessary (administrative) advice and decisions and the conclusion of private law agreements.
Aafke: “Within the project team I have the role of assistant project manager. I support the team and reflect on the process. The municipality and the company have a similar wish for the development of this area in Selwerd. The challenge is to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible now that the time for planning has arrived. How to give a (new) definition to the urban structure that characterizes Selwerd, while wanting to create a sustainable, accessible and livable space? In my opinion, to achieve the best result, mutual coordination is essential from the start!
The relationship with the theme of the healthy and livable city is clearly present in this project. Development of the area is underway in which a car-free public space has now been chosen, creating more space for green, healthy and safe living. Attention to more and greener spaces means that investments can be made in, among other things, water harvesting, attention to ecology, safe cycling and walking routes and places to meet. . Due to the urbanization task, the ambition of a diverse housing offer is also materializing.
A lot of things in this project don’t go the standard way. For example, the first collaboration between the municipality and the housing association is still relatively unique. gthe co-commissioning of an urban plan offers many opportunities and brings efficiency within a liaison project such as this. The degree of densification of this city center makes the project extremely difficult and complex. In all the considerations we make, the ambition to contribute positively to a healthy and livable Groningen is central.
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