The consequences of climate change (e.g. sea level rise, peak flows, extreme weather) get an extra dimension for the landscape of Groningen because of soil depletion that currently takes place. Due to gas mining, unstable grounds have been lowering for decades and severe risks for flooding of urban areas occur. Furthermore soil depletion makes the landscape less suitable for agricultural purposes. Pastures and arable fields get infertile because soils get wetter. Furthermore, these soils with agricultural purpose are heavily contaminated (from natural perspective) by high Phosphor and Nitrogen concentrations. Neutral soils are important for ensuring the quality of potable water, and a flourishing ecology which is then beneficial for CO2 reduction as well. Next to that protecting urban areas from flooding is an important assignment for the coming decades.
The design uses the morphology of the area that is built up from low and unstable grounds with higher (and more stable) ridges crossing the area. Residential areas are relocated to stable and high grounds, a pattern of peninsulas that is determined by these naturally established higher ridges. The low and wet soils are allocated for cleaning accumulated water (from contaminated soils) using helophyte filters. The static agricultural landscape becomes a dynamic landscape organism that can stretch, grow and fluctuate. Using the natural morphology and logics of a landscape more carefully provides new interesting principles for living in these areas. It could be a starting point for new landforms in large-scale landscapes.
The project received an international Jury Award (selected out of 223 other international entries) at the IFLA Congress in Rio de Janeiro, 2009.
Copyright Jorrit Noordhuizen 2009 / Wageningen University, the Netherlands, 2009