Newsletter Juli 2023

The risk of flooding and heat stress is increasing in urban areas all over the world, including Groningen. Spatial measures are needed to make the city cooler and to limit flooding. For Damsterplein we created the LIFE COOL SQUARE project. This project looks at solutions and ideas to transform the stony public space into a green and liveable environment. With trees, benches and fun elements for young and old. The municipality of Groningen received a funding from the LIFE program to realize this project. When the work is finished, Damsterplein will be the ‘coolest’ square in Groningen.

Below you can read about the latest developments regarding the redevelopment of Damsterplein. This time, we will pay particular attention to the themes of knowledge sharing and participation. How can we learn from the experiences of other cities and how can we involve local residents, entrepreneurs, students and our youngest residents in making the plans.

Students from RSG de Borgen are doing research on cooling down Damsterplein

Rick Aalders and Dennis Zoutman, two students from RSG de Borgen, have done research into heat stress in the city center of Groningen, with a special focus on Damsterplein. Their research has led to innovative ideas to improve both the temperature and the living environment on the square. For example, they propose to install a mist fan on the square, place salt lamps in the lampposts and create a water collection system in the parking garage.

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Working visit Hamburg

At the beginning of June, a part of the Damsterplein project team visited the city of Hamburg to gain ideas for the redevelopment of Damsterplein. The team has been warmly received at the Ministry of the Environment, Climate, Energy and Agriculture. Various employees have talked about their project green roofs, water collection and greening. The project group also visited the Häfencity project - a large new construction project in a former industrial area, where green spaces have been created together with residents - and the St. PAULI Bunker. This bunker is very relevant for the Damsterplein, because a number of extra floors will be built on this bunker filled with trees and bushes. The possibilities for trees to take root are limited, just like at Damsterplein. The group was warmly welcomed by Felix Holzapfel-Herziger of Landschaftsarchitektur+, who designed the plan for the bunker. He has shared a lot of knowledge about the technical possibilities and points of attention for the design.

Visit Project Life Cool Square at Villa Doomijn Damsterstede

On Thursday 11 May, part of the Damsterplein project team, together with children's mayor Fatoumata, visited the Villa Doomijn Damsterstede after-school care. This childcare is located close to the Damsterplein. The purpose of this visit was to ask the children what they think is important for the new design of Damsterplein. After a short explanation from the children's mayor, the children of Doomijn drew their wishes for the square on a coloring page and then enthusiastically explained it to Fatoumata. The children wanted to be able to play in the square and they wanted more trees and plants. We will include these and other good ideas in further plans for the area.

HAVO 4 students Werkman College are thinking about possible design of Damsterplein

In March 2023, part of the Damsterplein project group visited Werkman College to tell HAVO 4 students about climate adaptation and about the plans and tasks for the city center of Groningen and Damsterplein. The students were also allowed to think about how they would prefer to see the square. We want the square to be used properly by everyone, young and old.

The students were given a map of the square, on which they were allowed to draw in groups what they wanted on Damsterplein. Although the floor plans differed a lot, there were also many similarities. For example, each group had drawn something of greenery (trees or flowers), a water spot (such as a pond or fountain) and a place where they could exercise or play. There was also attention for sitting on the square, in the form of benches and picnic tables. Striking was a slide from the roof of Nijestee, a petting zoo and a field with sponges to collect the water.

Hanze University students monitor the square

Students from the Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen have conducted research into the perception, heat and water collection on Damsterplein. In redesigning the area, the students advise trying to create more shaded areas on/around the square and to make the south side of the square more attractive for passers-by, as it stays cool here for a long time. In the field of water, they advise to see whether water can have a greater chance of infiltrating the roof of the parking garage.

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