Vision inner city Groningen, NL

year: 2017
size: 100 - 1000 ha
type: urban design
client: Gemeente Groningen
with: TOPOTEK 1
In the upcoming years, the city of Groningen wants to upgrade its inner citys public space. As the pressure on the city is increasing, the quality of the public space needs to improve. In this context, LOLA together with TOPOTEK 1 and the Municipality of Groningen worked on the guidebook New City Spaces. The purpose of the guidebook is to give direction and coherence to the redevelopment of the public space. Key ambitions are more space for pedestrians, more green, better accessibility and space for initiatives.

The inner city of Groningen has a clear, historically grown spatial structure. The inner city consists of a medieval core, surrounded by two ring-shaped urban extensions. The guidebook sets a clear regime for each zone. The focus in the medieval core is on accessibility, quality of public space and a diversity of functions. The first extension provides space for expansive city functions and offers green living environments. The second extension accommodates major city functions like the train station and the hospital. These functions must remain well-connected to the medieval city. Intensified use and more coherence are some of the challenges here.

However, these regimes should also provide opportunities for initiatives and they should anticipate on future developments. Therefore it's important to find the right balance, for instance between unity and diversity and between everyday life and leisure. The right balance should be sought in a dialogue with the inhabitants and entrepreneurs in Groningen.

The design of the public space can strengthen the character of the different urban spaces in the inner city, so that the city as a whole becomes more varied and exciting. The guidebook therefore provides a 'toolbox' for the different urban areas like streets, alleyways and city entrances. The document also provides inspiration for future projects through seven design elaborations and inspirational collages. The upcoming years there are a lot of projects planned in the inner city and these design elaborations show how the principles formulated in the guidebook can contribute to better public spaces in the inner city. With these means, the guidebook New City Spaces aims at a future-proof inner city that is accessible and attractive to all.