Park Laagraven | Flux landscape architecture

The area between Nieuwegein, Houten and Utrecht threatens to be designated as a housing location in the future. Flux has come up with an alternative plan, in which the potential of this area as a landscape park and green area for the Utrecht metropolitan region is fully utilized. Park Laagraven offers a new approach to landscapes in the context of the increasing urbanization in the Province of Utrecht. Landscapes with a strong identity are desperately needed as a counterbalance to the increasing urban pressure.

By rising population numbers and associated housing ambitions in the province of Utrecht the urban area will continue to expand. Together with Nieuwegein, Houten and Bilthoven, the city of Utrecht will also increasingly develop into a true metropolitan region, in which the relationship between city and landscape will change completely. The idea for Park Laagraven arose as an own initiative, from the need for a radically new vision of our rural areas and thus an alternative perspective for this area. In collaboration with provinciaal adviseur ruimtelijke kwaliteit Provincie Utrecht Paul Roncken and TU Delft. The strategy consists of the following components:

From shredded green to a whole:

The landscapes in the province of Utrecht are striking and varied, with the Green Heart, the lake area, river landscapes and the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. The area between Nieuwegein, Houten and Utrecht forms an important link between these different landscapes. Due to the growth of infrastructure, arbitrary allocation of functions, cluttering of urban developments, the area threatens to fragment further and eventually disappear. Flux advocates an approach in which the area is not regarded as a residual space, but as an actual destination with a strong identity of its own.

A productive and purifying park:

The park in a circular manner and has an important role in purifying household wastewater, retaining rainwater, providing clean drinking water, producing fruit and vegetables and generating energy. There is room for food production, wind turbines and forests for the storage of CO2 and the production of circular building materials. Peak showers are no problem thanks to the water retention area. During peak rainfall, the park keeps surrounding urban areas dry and provides water for a liveable city in drier times.

Housing as an engine for development:

Housing is an integral part of the development of the landscape park. Part of the proceeds from the approximately 15,000 homes that can be built here will be included in a park fund. The new Utrecht landscape park can be financed from this fund. Housing will be located on the edges and form an attractive façade towards the park. In this way Houten, Nieuwegein and Utrecht can expand with an attractive address adjacent to the new landscape park.

Front sides and new connections:

The design contains optimal connections between city and the park. There are bridges over infrastructure and striking entrances provide access to the park. For residents of urban areas around the area and also the larger landscapes are suddenly accessible by bicycle, walking or skating through a variety of routes. There are play areas and swimming pools.

Park Laagraven

Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
Project commissioned by provinciaal adviseur ruimtelijke kwaliteit Provincie Utrecht Paul Roncken i.c.w. TU Delft, Design by Flux Landscape Architecture in collaboration with Paul Roncken

Image credits: Flux landscape architecture

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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