Antwerpen, Belgium
City population: 499254
Duration: 2018 – ongoing
Implementation status: In planning stage
Scale: Micro-scale: District/neighbourhood level
Project area: 90000 m2
Type of area: Previous derelict area, Other
Last updated: October 2021

A project for the creation of a new central park was launched in 2018, where a harbor consisting of three docks used to be and is now used as primarily as a car park. The park was planned to consist of three large green spaces that are the exact same size as the original docks. As the green areas are planned to be surrounded by rows of trees, the park will look like New York’s Central Park. The park is set to contribute to Antwerp’s climate change resiliency as the central green area will contain a water basin in which stormwater can be stored temporarily and slowly infiltrate, which is enhanced by the riverbank vegetation (Ref. 1, 2, 6).

Central Park of Antwerp (2018)
AG VESPA, TRACTEBEL – ADR Architects – Georges Descombes & Les Eclairistes Associés & Erik De Waele, retrieved 08/28/2018

Overview

Nature-based solution

  • Grey infrastructure featuring greens
  • Riverbank greens
  • Parks and urban forests
  • Large urban parks or forests
  • Blue infrastructure
  • Lakes/ponds
  • Green areas for water management
  • Sustainable urban drainage systems

Key challenges

  • Climate action for adaptation, resilience and mitigation (SDG 13)
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Water management (SDG 6)
  • Stormwater and rainfall management and storage
  • Green space, habitats and biodiversity (SDG 15)
  • Green space creation and/or management
  • Regeneration, land-use and urban development
  • Conversion of former industrial areas
  • Inclusive and effective governance (SDG 16)
  • Inclusive governance
  • Social justice, cohesion and equity (SDG 10)
  • Social interaction
  • Health and well-being (SDG 3)
  • Enabling physical activity
  • Creation of opportunities for relaxation and recreation

Focus

Creation of new green areas

Project objectives

The goal is to create a park that is a vibrant place with high social-cultural value and attracts a large diversity of citizens [4]. In addition, the park should allow for recreation and sports and cultural development (Ref. 1). The park should also store stormwater and in doing so, contribute to Antwerp's climate change adaptation (Ref. 7). The public should be involved in the development of the park (Ref. 6).

Implementation activities

Creating a large green park of 9 hectares (Ref. 3), consisting of three 'tables' that represent the historical docks: 'Kooldok' (Coal Dock), 'Schipperdok' (Sailor Dock) and 'Steendok' (Stone Dock) (Ref. 1). In the area of the former Sailor Dock, a large open green space will be created for recreation with a water basin that also functions as a storage and infiltration basin. On one side of the waterbasin a step edging will be created that demonstrates the historical quay wall and on the other side, an ecological river banks will be created. This area will be surrounded by trees. The Coal Dock and Sailor Dock areas will be developed as public green spaces with diverse vegetation and recreational, playing and sport facilities (Ref. 1, 6). Public participation activities were organized in 2015 and 2016 (Ref. 4). The park also includes four squares that vary in size and allows for different types of events, ranging from neighborhood events to large festivals (Ref. 2).

Climate-focused activities

Climate change adaptation:

  • Implement sustainable urban drainage infrastructure (e.g. to make space for water)

Main beneficiaries

  • Private sector/Corporate/Company
  • Citizens or community groups

Governance

Management set-up

  • Government-led

Type of initiating organisation

  • Local government/municipality

Participatory approaches/ community involvement

  • Dissemination of information and education
  • Consultation (e.g. workshop, surveys)

Details on the roles of the organisations involved in the project

The municipality of Antwerp (AG VESPA, see comments) is the initiator of the park creation. The 'Vlaamse Bouwmeester' (a public institution that is responsible for compliance with national architecture policy) has helped the municipality of Antwerp by launching the open design assignments on which architects could respond (Ref. 3, 4). AG VESPA is the coordinator of the project and takes final decisions (Ref. 3). The project is designed and will be implemented by a partnership between Tractebel (engineering/consultancy company) and multiple architects: ADR Architects, Georges Descombes, Les Eclaristes Associes and Erik Waele (Ref. 1). Citizens and local businesses were highly involved in the planning process of the park by means of polls, interviews and public participation events which has influenced the design (Ref. 4). The project is a demonstration project of the transnational SPONGE2020 network in which governments of the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK participate (Ref. 7).

Project implemented in response to ...

... an EU policy or strategy? Yes (The project is in line with the EU Cohesion Policy ("promote a harmonious economic, social and territorial development of the Union as a whole") as the INTERREG programme is part of this policy (Ref. 10). The SPONGE2020 project of which the intervention is a demonstration project, is subsidized by INTERREG (Ref. 7).)
... a national policy or strategy? Unknown
... a local policy or strategy? Yes (The project was developed as a response of the local general development plan of the area (Ruimtelijk Uitvoeringsplan Binnenstad: Spatial Development Plan Central Antwerp) in 2012. In this plan, the city decided to create a 'zone of public domain' in the area (Ref. 9).)

Financing

Total cost

More than €4,000,000

Source(s) of funding

  • EU funds
  • Public local authority budget

Type of funding

  • Earmarked public budget
  • Direct funding or subsidy

Non-financial contribution

Unknown

Impacts and Monitoring

Environmental impacts

  • Climate, energy and emissions
  • Strengthened capacity to address climate hazards/natural disasters
  • Water management and blue areas
  • Improved stormwater management
  • Green space and habitat
  • Increased green space area

Economic impacts

  • Unknown

Socio-cultural impacts

  • Social justice and cohesion
  • Improved liveability
  • Improved access to urban green space
  • Increased involvement of locals in the management of green spaces
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Gain in activities for recreation and exercise
  • Cultural heritage and sense of place
  • Protection of historic and cultural landscape / infrastructure

Type of reported impacts

Expected impacts

Presence of formal monitoring system

Yes

Presence of indicators used in reporting

Yes

Presence of monitoring/ evaluation reports

Yes

Availability of a web-based monitoring tool

No evidence in public records

References

Central Park of Antwerp (2018)
AG VESPA, TRACTEBEL – ADR Architects – Georges Descombes & Les Eclairistes Associés & Erik De Waele, retrieved 08/28/2018