In THE BLUE RAMPARTS, we have worked with the area Damsterdiepzone in Groningen – an area that accommodates industry, housing, and businesses. In our vision we explore how nature-based solutions can solve Damsterdiepzone’s challenges: fragmentation between the different uses, poor infrastructural connections, floods, and hard surfaces, which lead to urban heat islands.

Project Information

Partner-in-charge: Ole Schrøder
Employees: Rune Wriedt, Nicolai Lindberg Mortensen, Rasmus Svane Høj, Emanuel Reich og Bulut Tümer Bursali
Client: Climate Adaptation Week Groningen, Gemeente Groningen and Provincie Groningen
Place: Damsterdiepzone, Groningen
Type: Vision
Period: 2020-ongoingThe project is a part of the Climate Adaption Week in Groningen that zooms in on the city’s challenges with regards to the effects of global warming – higher temperatures in the summer, more rain in the winter, and rising sea levels. As the organizers behind the initiative write: doing nothing is not an option. With the project THE BLUE RAMPARTS, Third Nature has been a part of exploring and answering how to face climatic changes in a way where we are not just seeing the new conditions as a ‘negative’, but mobilise the changes as potentials and resources.

Water as a flow of resources
The canal that runs through Damsterdiepzone, Hunze, is primarily used by the area’s heavy industry, while the infrastructure is an example of car-centric urban planning. In THE BLUE RAMPARTS, we are channeling the waters multiple resources to create an area with infrastructural cohesion. By rethinking the concept of a rampart, we create a reservoir that can contain 450.000 cubic metres that will remedy the enormous quantities of water that’s currently causing troubles in the winter. Through the establishing of 50.000 square metres of THIRD NATURE’s Climate Tile, it’s possible to handle 7500 cubic metres of water per hour, with the water being directed towards the new reservoir. The huge reservoir creates a beautiful blue-green area that promotes walking and biking through a new, recreational path to the center of Groningen. At the same time, the canal maintains its current use as an infrastructural artery for the industry.

Above, you can see how a petrified part of Damsterdiepzone looks now, and what Tredje Natur’s vision for the area in 2025 looks like. Below you will find a visualisation for year 2035.

Urban Heat Islands
Damsterdiepzone has a high percentage of asphalting, which results in high water levels in the event of extreme rain and, during the summer, the so-called ‘Urban Heat Islands’ (UHI). UHI occurs in developed areas when the heat of the sun is absorbed and reflected by asphalt, and there are not sufficient quantities of water and plants to giveshade and cool the area. In Damsterdiepzone, the effect of UHI can give temperatures that are nine degrees higher than a nearby rural area. With our vision, the temperature difference will only be a couple of degrees compared to rural surroundings.

The Climate Tile contributes to biodiversity
As seen on the picture above, parts of Damsterdiepzone is characterized by asphalting and very moderate planting. In our vision we propose to establish new pavements with the Climate Tile – a construction that can receive and contain enormous quantities of water. The water goes through the holes in the top level and thereafter it’s directed, either to sewers, to the adjoining reservoir or the neighbouring plant beds. The extreme rain in Damsterdiepzone thereby becomes a resource that water trees, bushes, and gras and contributes to boost the biodiversity of the area.

Biofactor and green mobility
Damsterdiepzone currently has a so-called ‘bio-factor’ on 0,5. The biofactor is measured through researching the quality and quantity of an area’s biodiversity. With THE BLUE RAMPARTS, we have created an infrastructural coherent area with 22% less asphalt. That gives room for a whole new level of biodiversity and a biofactor on 1,33.

Above, you can see a vision for Damsterdiepzone in 2035, when the sparse planting has been transformed into a hybrid between city and nature. The existing buildings have been transformed, and in our vision, the new tree structures accommodate companies working with green mobility and electric cars instead of the current petrol car sellers. The increased biodiversity and the climate tile remedy the consequences of the extreme rain, while the new paths and green areas have created new forms of transportation and recreation. Our vision, thereby, does not only offer solutions as to how we handle two of the greatest challenges that come with climate change – extreme heat and extreme rain – but also points towards how the challenges can accelerate the creation of holistic solutions with stimulating urban areas, a balance between city and nature and a consideration of the human scale. Humane solutions to man-made problems!


About author

We are a Copenhagen based office, consisting of architects, landscape architects and constructing architects. We have since 2012 developed groundbreaking climate adaptation projects, award winning sustainable urban masterplans and hybrid building typologies that solve more than just one thing. In every project we try to show and encourage the world with new positivistic approaches and ideas to deal with future urban challenges.

Primary contact
Hulda Hallgrímsdóttir

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