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The municipality of Dordrecht is going to redevelop the Noordendijk district. After relocating several big school buildings, a large space opens up in the 4.5 hectare area, which the municipality intends to use for residential development. The intention is to make a unique district, where the nature that originally was present here will make a visible and tangible return.

EcoShape partners Deltares and Witteveen+Bos were asked by the municipality of Dordrecht to set up guiding principles, so the Noordendijk district can acquire the desired character in the future. Landscape architect Harro Wieringa explains: ‘The Noordendijk district, as seen from north to south, is located between two districts with different characters. Seen from east to west Noordendijk is located between the urban functions of Dordrecht and the green area of the Wantij park, open-air swimming pool and vegetable gardens. The Noordendijk district is intended to become a linking point between these different areas. Starting point for the design is the nature present in the area.’

With climate change, sea level rise and societal changes new challenges arise for delta cities like Dordrecht. The shaping of the environment is increasingly becoming important and requires flexibility and resilience to be able to adapt to changing conditions. The specific knowledge question of the municipality of Dordrecht was: ‘What is unique about the ecological and landscape characteristics of Noordendijk district and how can we optimally use these characteristics?’

The research by EcoShape showed that the area originally was a fresh-water tidal marsh, which is quite unique. EcoShape subsequently researched the possibilities for reinforcement of this natural area and made a connection with the desired living environment. The result is an ambition for living in a fresh-water tidal environment located at a branch of the Wantij waterway. Next, this ambition was translated to the necessary guiding principles, examples for design principles and mindsets.

Harro: ‘The ambition entails that water and green in the area have to be visible and tangible from the residential homes as well as the public space. This way the inhabitants can enjoy nature from their homes and feel the dynamics of a fresh-water tidal marsh. The criteria and principles help ensure that the final design will meet this ambition.’

EcoShape advises on the initiation phase for redevelopment of Noordendijk district, Dordrecht 1

Interactive workshop Noordendijk Redevelopment in Dordrecht

Two interactive workshops as input for the research were held. They were and attended by people from Deltares, Witteveen+Bos and the municipality of Dordrecht. Specialists from different fields took part in the workshops to ensure integrality and feasibility, amongst who were a hydraulic engineer, an urban planner, a landscape architect, an architect, an ecologist, an economist and employees with a role in local nature conservation and water management. In between the consortium provided interpretation and further elaboration in smaller sessions. The result of the research is the ‘Inspirational Document research framework criteria Noordendijk’ (Available in dutch only).