The block polders of Kamerik and Kockengen have a strong relationship with their peat soil. The straight patchwork with open meadow fields and closed housing ribbons, which were created during the first reclamation of the peat area around 1100, make the block polders a valuable and unique landscape. Yet this strong relationship with the peat soil also has its downside. The oxidation of the peat and the settlement of the soil cause ever higher social costs. Particularly in the ribbons, the costs due to the subsidence of the houses, roads and connections are substantial. In addition, climate change and constant drainage ensure that more and more water is needed to limit the oxidation of the peat.
With Cope Scape, building on the soil and the historic landscape, a tempting perspective for the Blokpolder of Kamerik and Kockengen is being introduced. Under the influence of the Oude Rijn and the Vecht, the soil in the block polders has a gradient from a thick layer of clay on peat near the river to a package of pure peat in the northwest of the area. The areas with a thick layer of clay offer opportunities for water storage in the substrate soil layer, which can be used to maintain the water levels in the peat in times of drought. In the areas with mainly peat, the village's water basins that have a high water level can provide an answer to the further oxidation of the peat and the subsidence of the dwellings in the ribbons and villages.
By viewing the village water basin and water storage not as autonomous interventions but by seeing them as a network of new ribbons, avenues and embankments that are interwoven with the environment, Cope Scape creates a new landscape structure that will not only respond to subsidence and related water issues but will also offer room for new developments such as energy production, recreation, urbanization and mobility.
Utrecht, commissioned by Provincial Advisor on Spatial Quality (PARK) Utrecht, Zuid-Holland, Noord-Holland and Programmabureau Groene Hart, landscape architecture, design research, subsidence, water, new nature, 2019