The Delta District | Vinge, Denmark | SLA

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The Delta District in the future city Vinge is an example of how landscaping can create dual functions:  promote better communities and prevent flooding. A man-made delta and creeks handle rainwater and provide the city district with unique qualities for residents to gather around.

The Delta District in Vinge is a former agricultural site and now is to become the very first green residential development area of the new city Vinge in Denmark. The Delta District will mark the starting point of a new type of urban community with 462 houses all built according to the spatial qualities of the landscape. Here, the landscape determines urban development to achieve a community where landscape, nature and sustainability goes hand in hand with a vibrant urban environment.

SLA named the district The Delta District to signify the defining element of the future district: the man-made delta which the studio decided to add as the focal point of the city. This delta serves the practical purpose in a rainwater management system unique to this city, and in addition has both an ecological function for e.g. amphibians and birds, and a recreative and social function for citizens and visitors.

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When faced with the challenge of designing a brand new urban space we identified two features that required particular focus;

Firstly, the needed to enable the district to manage varying amounts of rainwater. The specific conditions in Vinge forced us to considder alternative ways of dealing with water drainage as the soil here is very clayey, and, hence, doesn’t allow water to penetrate the ground.  We really had to be quite innovative here..

Secondly, the opportunity to create a very green, recreative, diverse and social community was one we were very excited about.

We decided that focusing on and embracing the water could help us achieve both goals, while additionally providing the city with a unique identity. Water is simultaniously a source of life, inspiration, recreation and fascination. Embracing it rather than fighting it seemed an obvious choice given the values and goals we worked with and towards. Hence, we decided to develop the city on the water’s terms” – design team

 

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SLA designed a green development plan with a departure in landscaping. Firstly, a man-made delta is to be introduced and, secondly, a network of trenches and bassins that branch out across the whole district to function as water reservoirs and lead rainwater to the delta from all around the district.

The creeks and trenches will divide the area into irregular parts, creating an area where creeks and waterbassins are integrated into the whole district as a defining feature saturating the entire district with nature and grouping the area into intelligibly differentiated parts to supply a variety of spatial qualities.

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The development of the urban space is to be inspired and conditioned by these qualities posing the opportunity to introduce many different modes of residency from small single family houses and cluster houses to  apartments and larger villas. This facilitates the meeting of many different demands and economies, ensuring a diverse range of residents to bring life and atmosphere to the area.

Via the man-made creeks, rainwater is lead to the delta, and is visible all the way to the delta. No water ends up in sewers, and, thus, it can here be observed and interacted with by people at all stages.

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During a dry period, the only water there, will be the water in the delta, and creeks and bassins will be dry and work as elevations in the landscape and as green trenches. Rainwater, on the other hand, transforms the whole area and becomes an attraction. Green trenches become blue, bassins are filled to the rim and the visible water trickles and purls causing wondering moments and an air of relaxation and harmony. The water creates habitats for amphibia and birds, and children in wellies jump playfully around in the water and across the trenches.

Nature is brought close to all residents, so that everyone has a view to it and are, by that view, encouraged to stay in the outdoors along with their neighbours.

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The Delta District in Vinge provides a starting point for new city that is situated in the landscape, surrounded by nature and conditioned by the variety of this nature. The district showcases and utilizes unique and innovative methods to embrace nature’s ability to meet contemporary and future climate challenges as well as promoting well-being, diversity and social meetings. Landscaping in this case unites nature and urbanity in an optimal complementary relationship that utilizes nature as a facilitator of urbanity rather than taming it for merely decorative purposes.

 The Delta District | Vinge, Denmark | SLA

Man-made acclimatisation in Denmark

Project name | The Delta District

Location | Vinge, Frederikssund

Design firm | SLA

Consultants | Rambøll A/S

Images and text credit |  SLA design team and Rambøll A/S