Urhahn is working on behalf of the municipality of Woerden on the transformation of Middelland. After making ‘opportunity maps’ and a development vision, Urhahn has drawn up rules. The Structure Vision, which is made up of the Middelland development vision and the Middelland Noord development framework, was adopted in February 2019.
Urgency and potential
The Middelland work area in Woerden is struggling with structural vacancy and an outdated appearance, and the municipality’s ambition is to make transformation possible into a high-quality urban district. The potential for this is excellent: in the middle of the Randstad, near the characteristic city centre and well connected with the recreational qualities of the green heart.
Initiatives and rules …
Allowing new functions and a higher building density makes it attractive for entrepreneurs to start a redevelopment. There is, however, a side note: the quality must match the high-quality ambition level. That is why, in co-creation with owners and entrepreneurs, rules have been drawn up that new developments must meet, such as the appearance of the facade, plinth functions or parking solutions. In some places, co-operation between owners is aimed, and financial rules regulate, for example, the payment to an area investment fund.
We have developed a spider web diagram, which contains a number of main objectives in the area of space, mobility, sustainability and programme. A developing party will never score 100 percent on everything, but the goal is that ultimately there is a result that is in balance. The spider web is a means of communication between the municipality and market parties, and a consideration framework at the same time.
In parallel, interventions have been proposed at the level of the framework that improve the quality of the urban space and the connection with the surrounding neighbourhoods. A new bridge, a connection to the centre and rules about the design of the private outdoor space help to strengthen the area as a whole and make it part of the city. The location and sequence of the transformation is determined by the dynamics of the market and might start with promising initiatives such as the redevelopment of the Town Hall or densification plans on the hospital grounds.