Westwijk Rooted Vlaardingen

Van Tijen's Westwijk, an icon of post-war modern urban design, is in need of renewal. Both the outdated houses and the sparse public space are no longer sufficient. The open urban design structure offers many opportunities for change. At the same time, there has to be a break with a number of original starting points. For example, we have to move from ‘tabula rasa’ to ‘tabula scripta’ and from separation of functions to interweaving. This means a radically different relation between living space and ground level where both will have to become more attractive, diverse and sustainable.

Westwijk Rooted is about a neighborhood that is connected with the reconstruction past, the wet subsoil, the adjacent polder landscape, the new metro station and, of course, the existing and new residents. A new ground level that starts from the peaty soil forms the main structure for the landscape plan. It makes the neighborhood climate-proof, water-resilient and biodiverse. This also creates the ideal conditions for attractive new living environments that are anchored at ground level.

We use the following five strategies to help Westwijk and its residents:

1. From flooding... to a climate-adaptive living environment

Westwijk was built in the 1950s on a thick layer of sand without any relation to the peaty ground. By excavating the sand layer in the public space, adding more surface water to the neighborhood and raising the Krabbeplas area in strategic places, attractive and climate-adaptive residential environments with limited subsidence are created.

2. From isolated ... to connected

With the addition of bridges, splitting up roads and connecting green areas, the landscape of the Krabbeplas is drawn into Westwijk. In addition to the interweaving, the connection with the new metro station will also be reinforced by the realization of an entrance square, a node development with housing and an improvement of the north-south axis that also establishes a link with the Broekpolder.

3. From one-sided green ... to valueble green

By better adapting the greenery in the district and the Krabbeplas to the wet soil condition, less maintenance will be required and ecological added value. Improved biodiversity matches with a better recreational value by offering areas designed for meeting neighbors and attractive walking routes. The green can also be used functionally as, for example, water purification or food forest.

4. From one-sided housing supply ... to a diverse mix

Our plan focuses on a variety of housing with an emphasis on more ground-level homes. In Van Tijen's signature, the energy and sustainability challenge is used to realize a combination of demolition, new construction, renovation and transformation. In new development locations on the edges of the neighborhood we’re looking for a combination of homes for young and old, both in the private sector and in social rent.

5. From social isolation ... to communities

We are committed to stimulating communities. Communities consisting of residents with a mix of economic strength, age and family situation. Communities that feel connected to their immediate environment. In addition to a diverse range of housing, the design of the public space has a decisive role in the creation of these communities. The development of communal places at both block level (vegetable gardens, play and sports areas) and at neighborhood level (local cafe, scouting, walking routes) create opportunities for interaction and meeting.

Vlaardingen, i.s.m. Shift architecture urbanism, Bureau Stadsnatuur, Acacia water en Execpt