Spatial Strategic Exploration Maritime Cluster Den Helder

Den Helder is Growing!

Now that Den Helder’s population is growing again for the first time in decades, 2.000 new jobs are being created at the Navy alone, and it is becoming increasingly more clear that Den Helder is one of the most suitable ports to facilitate off-shore wind farming related activities, a spatial strategic exploration was needed in order to identify the most beneficial spatial strategy to fit in the required program in a limited space, while simultaneously tackling current challenges regarding climate change and mobility.

The starting point of the strategic exploration was an intensive mixed-method analysis, comprised of interviews, workshops, literature reviews and quantitative data analysis, to study challenges and long-term perspectives regarding themes like accessibility, climate resilience, the energy transition and the city’s attractiveness to inhabitants and outsiders.

28 solution perspectives were drawn to tackle urban challenges on five themes. These perpectives were combined into three complementary scenarios.

Location: Den Helder, Netherlands

Program: port activities, energy infrastructure, climate adaptive infrastructure, recreation, education, mobility

Year: 2020

Design Directors: Eric Frijters, Olv Klijn

Project Lead: Olv Klijn, Max Augustijn

Team: Simone Swanepoel, Fenna Regenboog, Lisanne Corpel

Partners: Monika Pieroth, Kirkman Company

Commissioners: Central Government Real Estate Agency of the Netherlands (Rijksvastgoedbedrijf), Province of North-Holland, Municipality of Den Helder

Through an intensive mixed methods analysis – comprised of stakeholder, trends, historical and data-driven geospatial analyses – FABRICations identified urgent urban challenges on five themes, summarized in this challenges map.

From Perspectives to Scenarios

After this thorough analysis, we drew 28 solution perspectives on three scales (Maritime Cluster, the city and the region) for 5 main types of problems (accessibility, energy transition, resilience, the city’s image, and land-use). These solution perspectives were combined into three complementary scenarios:

  • The Resilient City, which focuses on climate and economic resilience by creating climate-adaptive space for port-related activities and education for upcoming sustainable industries;
  • The Attractive City, which focuses on ecology, recreation and city branding by enhancing slow transport networks, creating new connections with the landscape and enhancing the climate resilience of the city’s green structure;
  • The Accessible City, which focuses on mobility and a more efficient use of space by implementing new public and shared transport networks and realizing three port clusters instead of one.

The solution perspectives were combined into 3 complementary scenarios: the resilient city, the attractive city and the accessible city.

Coalition Strategy and Pilot Project Proposal

These three scenario’s were complemented with a coalition strategy, which was conceptualized together with Kirkman Company, and which strategized how the large amount of stakeholders in the area could work together towards the common goal of creating “an economically vital and attractive city”. Furthermore, we also conceptualized the first step of the redevelopment of the Maritime Cluster: we argued that Het Nieuwe Diep should be the first location where stakeholders should work together in a learning-by-doing approach on the redevelopment of the Maritime Cluster.

Birds-eye perspective of a first idea for the redevelopment of Het Nieuwe Diep. Het Nieuwe Diep was identified by FABRICations as one of the most important bottlenecks in the redevelopment of the Maritime Cluster, and therefore suggested as a pilot project.


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