Lanen van Zuidwest Den Haag

The Hague is facing a major densification challenge. The ambition is to build 100,000 homes within the existing urban area, of which 10,000 homes must be incorporated in The Hague Southwest. The Hague has the ambition to combine this densification process with an impulse for green space in the city, where green is used to make the city climate adaptive, nature inclusive and healthy.

The Hague’s striking avenues in east-west direction connect the Zuiderpark with the Uithof. Because the avenues mainly function as traffic lines for car traffic the utility value of the current situation is relatively low causing fragmented greenery and water in the profile of the avenues. A change in the mobility structure of Southwest creates opportunities to give the avenues a new layout that is inviting for pedestrians, cyclists and at the same time offers more space for greenery, water, sports and socializing. The importance of the avenues in the water structure offers opportunities to improve this by connecting watercourses at strategic locations or widening banks for the benefit of ecology. The opportunities for the avenues lie hidden in the fact that linear structures can arise with a connecting character.

Where public spaces in Southwest sometimes feel anonymous now, the avenues may differ more in character in the future. For example, the Melis Stokelaan, traditionally part of the green cross, can in the future develop into a broader park zone with plenty of space for green and blue structures, the Hengelolaan can be given a formal character as a boulevard with squares along the avenue, creating a varied dynamic. The differences in character offer opportunities for stronger identities and places and thus an improved orientation in the neighborhood.

The spatial integration of the 10.000 homes in Southwest can go hand in hand with an impulse for public space. The avenues, as long lines, offer the ultimate opportunity for compaction in the edges. This spatially strengthens the avenue as a structure and creates fronts with a residential program or other programs in the plinths on ground level. The current and often diffuse edges and backs are presented in a solid framework of the avenues. In this way, densification in the avenues can go hand in hand with the definition and design of promising public spaces at the level of Southwest as a whole.

The Hague, design research, mobility, publicspace design, urban transformation, landscape design, commissioned by the municipality of The Hague, Flux landscape architecture, 2021