Staatsbosbeheer and the municipality of Almere have the ambition to transform the Almeerderhout area into the urban forest of the future. An urban forest that grows with the city, responds to the changing needs of users and contributes to a green and healthy living environment. This ambition has taken shape in the ‘Development Plan Almeerderhout’ (LOLA). In order to take the step towards the implementation and elaboration of the ambitions, NOHNIK has drawn up the Atlas Almeerderhout on behalf of Staatsbosbeheer and the municipality of Almere. The Atlas describes the spatial structure and guidelines for the spatial quality of the urban forest. Thematic maps and spatial quality principles have been elaborated on the basis of the themes; Forest circuit, Infrastructure, A green urban forest, Water structure, Spatial structure, Connected to the Neighbourhood and Ecological structure.
Three forest atmospheres
Three future forest atmospheres have been established in the ‘Development Plan Almeerderhout’: pure forest, park forest and wild forest. These forest atmospheres each have their own appearance and serve different target groups of visitors. Measures and spatial quality principles (e.g. principles for the course of the paths, the materialisation, the tree species in the forest and the entrances) have been established for the Atlas for each forest atmosphere.
Forest circuit as a spatial backbone
The guiding principle of the ‘Ontwikkelplan Almeerderhout’ is the construction of the Forest circuit. A route that is over 18 kilometers long, connecting the different parts of the forest. In addition, various entrances towards the surrounding neighbourhoods and the city center can be reached from the Forest circuit. In the Atlas, the Forest circuit has been worked out in more detail. The width has been determined and the materialisation has been established. The forest circuit will be built as an in-situ concrete path. A material that has been used successfully in Flevoland for decades. Through a special adjustment process a distinctive and high-quality result is realised for the Forest circuit. A combination of choice of color, aesthetic patterns of dilations, texturing (sweeping, raking) and washouts makes the circuit stand out from the standard concrete paths
The Forest circuit and the surrounding forest react strongly to each other. In the wild forest, the wild nature comes close to the circuit, in the pure forest the forest structure is more open and the profile is somewhat wider, in the park forest the profile is most spacious and the forest structure is very open and diverse.
Thematic elaboration on all spatial layers
Specific interventions in the forest have been identified and drawn for each theme. In the field of water and ecology, nature connections are being expanded and restored, eco-friendly embankments are added, the water quality in the Gooimeerbeek (a brook) is improved and interventions are made to store more water for a longer period of time. With regard to the accessibility of the area, a hierarchical system of entrances has been introduced, with a set of ingredients for the layout and design. The entrances are situated at the scale level of the entire area, up to the scale level of a local neighbourhood entrance. Forest geometries, routes, vegetation and a system of way-finding are the most important design parameters. The spatial structure of the forest is also being improved, for example by restoring planted avenues and canals and by emphasising contrasts in the landscape.
Atlas, Forest transformation, Participation
Parallel to the drawing up of the Atlas Almeerderhout, third parties have worked on a plan for transforming the current forest into the three forest atmospheres. In addition, a participation plan has been drawn up to actively involve local residents in the development of the area.