Nature Based City of Almere – Development Plan 2040 

By 2040, the center of Almere will transform into a more vibrant, urban, and green heart. On behalf of the municipality, a vision has been brought to life by Felixx + PosadMaxwan that focuses on densification to enhance nature. Utilizing a nature-based solutions approach, the development integrates programmatic goals with Almere’s ecological framework. The strategic positioning around expansive open water, complemented by a network of canals and parks, contributes to creating a distinctive urban environment conducive to living, working, learning, and leisure activities. Having received approval from the Board, the Development Plan is poised for submission to the City Council.

A significant step in the city and region’s developmental journey

Almere is poised to experience significant growth over the next 30 years, with its population projected to swell from 220,000 to 350,000 residents. This expansion not only promises to invigorate the city, but also stimulate regional housing demand. Central to this transformation is the imperative to densify the heart of the city. Despite boasting an intercity station and a plethora of amenities, Almere currently hosts one of the Netherlands’ least-populated city centers. To address this, efforts are underway to bolster its core by increasing its residential capacity. By 2030, a minimum of 5,000 additional homes are slated for construction, with the potential for up to 15,000 new residences by 2050. This ambitious endeavor aims not only to revitalize the economic heart of its center, but also enhance its amenities and cultivate a more appealing and verdant public space. The overarching objective is to create a dynamic and sustainable city center capable of withstanding the challenges posed by the changing climate, to ensure Almere’s continued prosperity well into the future.

The climate challenge of today and tomorrow

Almere stands out for its unique multi-nuclear structure, which finds its roots in the ‘Garden City’ principle. This concept is deeply ingrained in the city’s identity, with its development heavily influenced by a green-blue framework. For the first time in Almere’s history, a concerted effort is being made to expand, transform, and densify its urban area on a larger scale. With the use of nature-based solutions as a guiding principle, the city is undergoing a significant transformation, resulting in a completely revamped urban landscape. This transformation entails extending the green-blue framework into the very fabric of its center, where buildings seamlessly blend into public spaces to create an adaptable urban environment. At the core of this redevelopment is the transformation of Weerwater into a vibrant ecosystem, maximizing its potential to provide essential ecosystem services and becoming the pulsating heart of Almere’s landscape. 

2232_Almere_Project structure diagram_230707

Almere in 2040

The heart of the city serves as the epicenter of Almere’s economic, social, and cultural life, connected to the surrounding region through a network of diverse pathways. The center has developed around nodes of public transport, with a mix of residential, commercial, educational, and recreational facilities. It is built on the structure and DNA of Almere, a city based on water and nature. The urban landscape has grown from the Weerwater, a central lake adorned with lush greenery, serving as a haven for biodiversity and offering pristine bathing waters to residents. It is a vibrant venue for a myriad of events and activities, while simultaneously acting as a crucial link between different educational and innovation hubs along the shores.

To the north, the Heart of the City remains intimately connected with waterways, as evidenced by the creation of the Stadsweteringpark enveloping the downtown area. This verdant expanse not only enhances the allure of the Station District but also accommodates a diverse array of residential dwellings, entrepreneurial ventures, and cultural amenities.

Conversely, the southern side is characterized by expansive forests, which define the natural ambiance of the emerging Forest District. Here, amidst the intertwining of living and working spaces, individuals are engaged in pioneering pursuits focused on innovation, environmental sustainability, and circular economies. The presence of the Forest Park along the A6 corridor not only enhances the aesthetic appeal but also serves as a conduit for connectivity, seamlessly integrating with the surrounding landscapes.

By embracing natural solutions in the development of the heart of the city, Almere seeks to demonstrate the significant benefits that arise from harmonious collaboration with the natural environment by 2040, setting a benchmark for sustainable urban living.

Nature Based Cities

The development plan represents a significant paradigm shift, as it recognizes that development and climate concerns need not be at odds with one another. It emphasizes that area expansion and nature conservation can coexist harmoniously, provided that careful consideration given to water, soil, and the existing ecosystem. “The 22nd Century Starts Now,” highlighted in the agenda of the Board of Government Advisors, spatial planning is evolving beyond the traditional color scheme of red for the city, yellow for agriculture, green for nature, and blue for water. Actively seeking synergies amongst these elements fosters greater flexibility, dynamism, stratification, and quality within our living environments. The concept of the Nature Based City transcends mere summation, as it involves leveraging various ecosystem services to their fullest potential, particularly within urban areas in which they make a greater impact.

By embracing nature-based solutions as a primary tool, the Development Plan for the Natural Heart of the City aims to inspire and motivate other cities to follow suit, ushering in a new era of sustainable urban development. The Development Plan can be downloaded via the link below (Dutch Only): https://documentwijzer.raadvanalmere.nl/app/document?url=https:%2F%2Fapi.notubiz.nl%2Fdocument%2F13828989%2F2

Nature Based City of Almere – Development Plan 2040 

Location: Almere, Flevoland, Netherlands
Team: Felixx Landscape Architects and Planners, PosadMaxwan Strategy and Design
Client: Municipality of Almere
Year: 2022-2023

Images: ©Felixx Landscape Architects and Planners, ©PosadMaxwan

About Damian Holmes 3339 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/