Photo: 100-meter track, painted on asphalt
The western entrance to Haarlem has always been an important entrance for automobile traffic to Haarlem. The municipality of Haarlem wishes to use the space that became available after the construction of an overflight in the future for the construction of a canal. Because it will take a long time, a space will be created to transform the alleys that have become available into a temporary green esplanade. A plan was developed for a temporary low budget design in close collaboration with local residents.
By landscape architect Martijn Al and town planner René Kuiken. This article appeared in more detail in Groen magazine.
The Municipality of Haarlem has been working on improving the western entrance to the city for a long time. In 2011, for example, the construction of an overflight diverted one of the most important approaches to Haarlem. Car traffic to the city is thus diverted via the Waarderpolder business park and avoids Amsterdamsevaart street. In 2010, a team led by the Municipality of Haarlem developed the vision for the Oostradiaal area, in which the opportunities arising from changes in the traffic structure were explored. Such as opportunities to improve public space, slow road links and opportunities for recreation.
One of the most important opportunities that was recognized was the extension of the old Amsterdam barge canal, which had been filled in the 1970s. However, building a canal takes a lot of effort and will take time. . In the meantime, the opportunity has arisen to improve the quality of the stay with temporary interventions: by developing a temporary public space that offers a space for meeting and social interaction and thus contributes to connection within the area. adjacent residential which has few public spaces and greenery.
The challenge of this project was to obtain maximum spatial quality from a very limited implementation budget compared to the large area of the plan area. Removing all asphalt from the road to be canceled would require the vast majority of the implementation budget. By largely maintaining the asphalt, a budget will be made available for the temporary furnishing of a living and green esplanade.
Minimal interventions have been sought so that the old roadway takes on the appearance of a pedestrian zone. The objective was to give the public space maximum spatial breadth. So no asphalt track between two green spaces, but asphalt and green intertwined in a vast public space. This is achieved by cutting pieces of the asphalt, then planting them with flowering plants and ornamental grasses. The boulevard will also stand out from the regular pavement by painting it partly in Kawasaki green with lines, sports and games.
In the past, Amsterdamsevaart has always had a continuous profile. The canal and a row of trees supported the whole street. In the temporary situation, continuity is sought in this entrance to Haarlem in a continuous hedge, green paint on the asphalt, greening of the asphalt and, finally, the area surrounding the esplanade can be sown with a mixture of flowers. native.
Due to the length of the esplanade, a variation of experience was sought, so it is interesting to walk the whole route. Ever-changing perennials and shrubs provide an exciting walking route. In addition, the program varies. A number of seating elements for railway sleepers will be placed along the esplanade, a nod to the railway workshop on the other side.
It is important to transform a place into a place to move from an artery to a residential area. Temporary furnishings provide a fantastic opportunity to achieve this. Now is the time to give this place back in memory of the people of Amsterdamsebuurt as well as the whole of Haarlem. An important part of the design of public space is therefore the program, or the way in which the space is used. The esplanade can accommodate many activities.
The construction of the esplanade was only possible thanks to the enthusiasm of the residents involved. United within the district council, the inhabitants have succeeded in putting politics behind them and in encouraging the creation of this temporary public space. Even after the redesign, residents will remain actively involved. The redesign is not a final image but a starting point. It provides a basis for the great resident energy, for new initiatives and new uses. The neighborhood council continues to work on the esplanade by supporting the municipality in the maintenance of plants, the organization of cleaning days and monitoring its use. But certainly also by programming and further developing this temporary experimental public space in the years to come.
A sector head of the municipality supports the initiatives and contributes to their organization. The aim is to improve the quality of life in neighboring neighborhoods and the entire city. In the years to come, it will be exciting to know to what extent and how residents will appropriate this temporary public space. It is commendable that the municipality of Haarlem dares to do this experience in the public space.