By Andrew Sgro and Christopher Yuen
Andrew Sgro and Christopher Yuen are students in their final year of Ryerson’s Master of Planning program. Andrew is focused on feasibility, large-scale infrastructure, and real estate and their potential for improving the places we love. Christopher’s research interests include transportation planning and multi-functional infrastructure.
Today began with the Lena Maria docked in the Dordrecht, famous for its preserved medieval city centre. We began our day by heading to Culemborg, a municipality approximately 15 minutes south of the city of Utretch. In Culemborg, we had the opportunity to tour the EVA Lanxmeer Eco-Village, a neighbourhood built to enable closed loop ecosystem services as much as possible. As this community is situated five meters below sea level, water management is essential to the functioning of the area.
The initial concept for the eco village was developed by the EVA Foundation with the assistance of the municipality of Culemborg. It is suited within an environmentally significant location as it sits near the town of Culemborg’s drinking water supply. The design of the community was specifically created around protecting and enhancing the site’s environmental features.
The community contains schools, homes, offices, and senior housing providing for an intergenerational mix and uses. Community gardens are located throughout the development with each household contributing their up-keep and finances.
In the afternoon, we travelled further east to Nijmegen, a city near the Netherland’s border with Germany. Here, Mathieu Schouten, landscape architect with the municipality, presented on Nijmegen’s Room for the River project. The Nijmegen Room for the River project is one piece of a 2.4 Billion Euro project to re-design the Rijn River system to manage flood risk in the face of climate change and the increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather.
The public engagement, planning and approval of this project took 7 years and construction continues today. The entire project, including the cost of the re-location of 50 homeowners that had to be expropriated, cost 360 Million Euros.
This project involved the creation of an artificial secondary channel for the Waal River to accommodate up to 1/3 of the volume of the Waal river at a time of high water flow.