The Cartesiusdriehoek in Utrecht will be transformed to the first blue zone located in a city, according to the winning plan ‘Blue District’ by MRP Development and Ballast Nedam Development for the sale and development of the area. The team is selected by NS and the municipality Utrecht to develop the new residential area and signed agreements today. The concept is based on a scientific theory about places in the world where people live longer and happier, the so-called blue zones.
The new neighbourhood will include about 2,6000 residences, a large central park, a school, a grocery store, hospitality industry and several other accommodations. The historic CAB-building will be the eye-catching epicentre, where there will also be room for musical breeding ground dB’s, brewery Oproer and the new CABLAB. In the CABLAB, the winning team will cooperate with four Dutch universities, insurance company ONVZ and other utilisers to work on the concept. The neighbourhood and other stakeholders also have the opportunity to decide to what degree they would like to be involved with the upcoming development.
The former business grounds of NS has to become the healthiest neighbourhood of the Netherlands, and the most accessible regarding public transport and bicycle traffic. The development of the area is based on the vision document that NS and the municipality of Utrecht prepared together, and which the city council unanimously agreed on. The selection of the winning team is based on both the quality of the plan and the price. The design of the winning team builds on the ambition of healthy living and a healthy environment that NS and the municipality share.
The Cartesiusdriehoek will become a lively city district with lots of green and easily accessible urban facilities where pedestrian and bicycle traffic is put first. There is much focus on sustainability, especially on innovative energy solutions and sustainable mobility. The large diversity of residences will hit different target groups for future residents. About one fourth of the residences will be social housing. The project will be realised in phases in the coming years. Construction is expected to start in 2020.
Apart from MRP Development and Ballast Nedam, the winning team also exists of the Dutch Residential fund of CBRE Global Investors and Portal for the reduction of residences, Meijer Bergman Erfgoed Programmering and Hylkema, We Drive Solar, Urban Sync, Over Morgen, Antea, RROG, Rebel and C Concept Design. Fakton guided the tender procedure for NS in the form of a sale in dialogue. The grading commission included representors of the municipality Utrecht and NS Stations.
The growing pressure on cities and the necessity to stay viable and accessible is what drove property owner NS to develop cities with train stations. NS takes initiative to improve the mobility and sustainability of NS-locations and works closely with municipalities and other partners. The Cartesiusdriehoek lies adjacent to Station Zuilen and will be accessible by a underpass to the Tweede Daalsedijk in the future.
The blue zones are five different locations over the world: Okinawa, Nicoya, Loma Linda, Sardinië and Ikaria. Its habitants are known to live in good health and to have relatively longer lifetimes. These locations received international attention because of an article in the National Geographic, The Secrets of a Long Life by Dan Buettner, in 2005. The residents’ habits that have positive effects on health were examined, and nine prevailing characteristics were noted. The new neighbourhood in Utrecht will implement four themes to support those characteristics, i.e. movement, healthy diet, community and purpose & relaxation.
“The vision document has set the bar for the Cartesiusdriehoek high, but this winning plan surpassed expectations. We are proud to work with municipalities to improve their accessibility in this way. People would love to live here, also in the future” (Sebastiaan de Wilde, director Station Development of NS).
“I am very proud of the result and the way space has been created to include the participation of local residents and interested outsiders. Utrecht will gain a beautiful and healthy neighbourhood” (Wim Greijn, area director of the municipality Utrecht).
“We are extremely proud that NS and the municipality Utrecht considered our plan to be the best one. We are convinced that that the area can become a Urban Blue Zone and are thankful for the opportunity to show how development will be like in the future. The neighbourhood will become a leading example and an inspiring area for residents and visitors, and it will positively effect its environment. Together with all the people involved we would like to make this impact come true. We are looking forward to the cooperation” (Onno Dwars, director Ballast Nedam Development).
“It is an honour to work on our ‘healthy’ ambition at such an important location in the city. It is a great chance to connect North and South of Utrecht, but also to become a leading example for healthy development. We are looking forward to the cooperation with NS, the municipality Utrecht, all other stakeholders and the future residents and guests” (Maarten Stam, development manager MRP Development).