The square in front of Groningen’s main train station – also known as the “Balcony of the city” – needs to be tackled drastically. This could mean a complete demolition of the Stadsbalkon, or a smaller intervention. But in any case, the quality of the stay will have to be radically improved. This is the opinion of the alderman of Groningen Roeland van der Schaaf (PvdA).
According to the alderman, the Stationsplein currently has mainly a traffic engineering function. The place is used to get from A to B, to park your bike and to leave as quickly as possible. But not like a square for a good stay. And it must be, wrote the alderman in a letter opinion on the RTV Noord website.
The municipality of Groningen recently adopted a new vision of public space, “New Space”. In it, this space not only has a circulation function, but the place is also there to do other things. In the new vision of the municipality, public space is not only functional. The municipality believes that there should also be room for playing, walking, for chance encounters, for trees, for sitting on benches, and that the design should take into account climate adaptation and of biodiversity.
And these new principles should also apply to the main station. “That is why we, as the municipality of Groningen, now want to think about a different interpretation of the space in front of the main station. This could mean the complete demolition of the Stadsbalkon. It can also become a smaller intervention, although it is clear to me that the quality of accommodation needs to be radically improved, “said the alderman.
The Stadsbalkon as it is today was once an innovative answer to the conflicting questions of the times. But the present tense has different demands. “This is why we are creating a new space on this historic site: a design that radiates love for our beautiful city,” said the alderman in his opinion piece.
(Illustrations: Municipality of Groningen).
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