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The H.W. Mesdagplein Transformation

A Manifestation of the 'Design Guideline Liveability of Public Space'

On September 1, 2023, we proudly unveiled the transformation of the H.W. Mesdagplein, nestled in the heart of the Schildersbuurt in Groningen.

In collaboration with the municipality of Groningen and local inhabitants, Felixx applied the innovative approach of the NEW SPACE. Design Guideline Liveability of Public Space, to create a strategy for the squares of the Schildersbuurt. It was the unanimous choice of the residents to prioritize the rejuvenation of H.W. Mesdagplein as the first square to be further designed and realized this year.

The Design Guideline 

The Design Guideline is a document that serves to inspire and offers a new perspective on our public spaces. The Guide proposes a design method in which mobility is no longer normative but where accessibility, safety, perception, health, social interaction, ecology, climate adaptation, economics and cultural history together make up the street. By naming these ten dimensions at the outset, a new balance between all these interests is created.

H.W. Mesdagplein

Inspired by this guideline, residents of the Schildersbuurt collaborated with the municipality of Groningen for the phased transformation of their streets and squares. A participatory trajectory has been organized for residents of the Schildersbuurt to determine which of the ten dimensions are crucial for the transformation of the square. During this workshop, residents pointed identity, social interaction, biodiversity and inclusivity as key factors for the redevelopment of the H.W. Mesdagplein. This square plays a pivotal role in the connection of the green zones in order to elevate the biodiversity.

Groningen as a pioneer

Groningen has played a pivotal role in changing the way we think about Dutch cities. The compact city, which is only increasing in density, and the surrounding villages all have an impact on the use of space. The current objective to reclaim the public space and improve quality of life within our public spaces is part of a wider public debate on how we design our urban areas. This gives Groningen the opportunity once again to play a groundbreaking role.

Future perspective

The design guideline provides a future perspective for the municipality of Groningen, including the city, with public spaces that encourage use, play, and social interaction. The renewal of the H.W. Mesdagplein marks just the beginning of our commitment to improving the quality of life in our community and its surroundings. After consulting with residents, attention will also be given to other squares in the Schildersbuurt in the future. The Jozef Israëlsplein, Taco Mesdagplein, and the Melkweg have been selected for redevelopment.



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