Climate is changing and this will influence the micro-climate in our cities. Heavy rainfall, flooding, overheating, health risks and economic loss are the most common symptoms and consequences. How can we keep our cities resilient and pleasant places to live, work and relax? The vision ‘Resilient Weert’ provides answers to these questions, for the specific context of the city of Weert located in the south of the Netherlands. The vision is a perspective on the future of this city, focusing on the opportunities the specific history of the city provides when developing interventions for climate adaptation.
The city of Weert is facing a huge challenge when it comes to climate change. Compared to the rest of the country, the average temperature in Weert is higher, the soils are dried out faster because of the higher altitude of the city and as a consequence of this it is difficult to plant trees in the streets. The main challenges for the future therefore are to mitigate overheating and to prevent desiccation. However, the sense of urgency to actively do something to prevent these problems is no common sense yet. Therefore, in the vision we link climate change to other major transitions and challenges the city is facing now and in future, e.g.,; energy transition, high rates of shop vacancies, ageing of the population and sustainable mobility. The result is an integral approach for a liveable city in which interventions and transitions are presented that aim to cater multiple demands and values simultaneously, for all people that use the city.
The vision is based on three essential periods of time in the history of Weert. Form these periods, lessons are learned which are used for developing site-specific interventions and transformations within the urban fabric. By using the history of the city as a starting point, future interventions will be well embedded in the specific and unique context of Weert. Within the period called ‘Perseverance’ ( until 1900), the typical spatial structure of the city was developed with the main streets, three squares and a network of historical gates and alleys. Within the vision we use this principle to for example design a network of rainwater collection within these streets and to develop a network of pedestrian paths in the shade of these alleys and gates.
Within the period called ‘Well-being’ (1900-1950), the canal that used to encircle the city centre was of great value for a highly appreciated public space. Within the enclosure of the canal historical (religious) institutions were built. These principles are translated into specific interventions for future climate adaptation. The canal is being reintroduced and connected with the old Nijenborgh castle. The canal and a new lush green linear park form a crucial element for rainwater collection and storage and provide an attractive public space. Within the period called ‘Prosperity’ (1950-2000), the mobility of the city’s population greatly improved when a new shopping centre including multiple parking areas was built in the 1970’s. This shopping centre offers a vast roof landscape, which could for example be used for greening, water storage, energy production and recreation. The vision is presented within two illustrative design for parts of the city centre. These design are not a blue print for the future but intend to support an open discussion on the future of Weert among different stakeholders.
Type: climate adaptation, architecture, public space design
Client: municipality of Weert
Status: vision. The vision was developed with support of the Dutch Creative Industries Fund and the Governmental heritage agency.
In collaboration with: Personal Architecture and architectural historian Lara Voerman.
The vision document could be downloaded using this link (Dutch only, low resolution).
Furthermore, the project was published in the ‘KEER’ magazine as published by the Dutch Creative Industries Fund and the Governmental heritage agency. This publication can be downloaded using link (Dutch only).