The harbours south of Deventer’s historic centre were built during the reconstruction era following World War II to boost shipping-related economic activity.
Seventy years on, the port had decayed and harbour businesses had moved elsewhere. Moreover, given the city’s expansion, the quarter no longer lay on the town’s outskirts but was now close to the town’s historic centre. Well-placed to attract high-quality economic activity and to house a mix of residential areas and urban functions, the area was ripe for rejuvenation.
Several different plans had been previously proposed for this area. All of them, however, first required large investments to purchase land and build roads, bridges and public spaces. However, as property ownership in the area was highly fragmented, such plans were hard to achieve.
By contrast, our proposal, rather than setting out a specific plan, proposed an urban planning strategy aimed at transforming the area gradually and in an open-ended way. That strategy was based precisely on the land’s fragmented ownership and its intrinsic urban qualities.
The strategy only entailed formulating a set of planning rules that outline the development possibilities of each individual parcel in a way that ensured the development possibilities of adjoining parcels. The aim of this strategy was to create a whole which was greater than the sum of its parts. To illustrate the principle, these rules were used to visualise just one of many such layouts.
This simple, functional set of rules addresses the building line on the side of the streets; the quays; the common property boundaries; parking and building height with regard to noise pollution originating from adjoining industrial parcels. That’s what the rules amount to—nothing more and nothing less.
Under this plan, Deventer’s distinctive Harbour Quarter could gradually develop into a more mixed, high-quality urban area—without losing its unique characteristics in the process.
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