Utrecht, Netherlands
City population: 315851
Duration: 2013 – ongoing
Implementation status: Ongoing
Scale: Micro-scale: District/neighbourhood level
Project area: unknown
Type of area: Other
Last updated: November 2021

The municipality initiated to realize a healthy and climate-proof 'city island' which includes a large variety of projects, including the City Island Park Tour, which is a cycling/walking tour around the island that includes multiple green-blue infrastructure elements along two canals. Together it can be recognized as a large city park (ref. 2, 6). The tour contains the sights of green banks, recreation possibilities, bridges and boulevard-ways, thereby promoting environmental quality, mobility and attractiveness of the area (ref. 6). A food park at Leeuwensteyn is envisioned for 2050 (ref. 7).


Nature-based solution

  • Grey infrastructure featuring greens
  • Riverbank greens
  • Green playgrounds and school grounds
  • Other
  • Parks and urban forests
  • Green corridors and green belts
  • Community gardens and allotments
  • Other
  • Blue infrastructure
  • Rivers/streams/canals/estuaries
  • Green areas for water management
  • Other

Key challenges

  • Climate action for adaptation, resilience and mitigation (SDG 13)
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Water management (SDG 6)
  • Improvements to water quality
  • Green space, habitats and biodiversity (SDG 15)
  • Habitat and biodiversity restoration
  • Habitat and biodiversity conservation
  • Green space creation and/or management
  • Environmental quality
  • Air quality improvement
  • Regeneration, land-use and urban development
  • Promotion of naturalistic urban landscape design
  • Health and well-being (SDG 3)
  • Enabling physical activity
  • Improving physical health
  • Creation of opportunities for relaxation and recreation
  • Economic development and employment (SDG 8)
  • Economic development: agriculture
  • Tourism support
  • Employment/job creation
  • Cultural heritage and cultural diversity
  • Protection of historic and cultural landscape/infrastructure
  • Sustainable consumption and production (SDG 12)
  • Sustainable consumption
  • Sustainable production


Creation of new green areas, Creation of semi-natural blue areas, Ecological restoration of degraded ecosystems, Protection of natural ecosystems

Project objectives

The main goals of the intervention were to improve urban attractiveness, improve quality of life and promoting recreation (ref. 5, 6). Underlying goals of the blue-green infrastructure are: Promoting health by stimulating exercise (2, 7) Support urban climate adaptation (ref. 2) Supporting mobility by means of improving cycling/walking/running facilities (ref. 2, 6) Habitat for species including bats, birds and butterflies (pollinators) (ref. 2) Reducing heat stress by improving local climate (reducing local temperature, reducing wind) (ref. 2) Improving local air quality (ref. 2) Promoting cultural heritage: the area has cultural heritage value because of the historical navigation elements (ref. 2) the creation of a Food park is envisioned for 2050 at Leeuwensteyn (ref. 7)

Implementation activities

Creating green banks along canals (ref. 2) Creating green connecting zones with counterparts of the city (ref. 2) Creating recreational zones and routes including play grounds and cycling paths (ref. 2) Greening of spaces underneath bridges (ref. 2) Maintaining historical navigation elements and thereby maintaining cultural heritage (ref. 2) Creating ecological shores (ref. 2) Food park, which is envisioned for 2050 at Leeuwensteyn (ref. 7) - a quarter of the number of jobs were already found on the west side of the canal in 2013 (ref. 2) which means that some of the jobs were available along the west of the island but no reason was given on why the west of the island. Improving local air quality (ref. 2); broadly "Support urban climate adaptation" (ref. 2) by realizing a healthy and climate-proof 'city island' which includes a large variety of projects, including the City Island Park Tour (Ref 2, 6)

Climate-focused activities

Climate change adaptation:

  • Increase or improve urban vegetation cover to help reduce outdoor temperature
  • Create or improve outdoor spaces to help people escape from urban heat

Climate change mitigation:

  • Invest in public transport/bicycle infrastructure as a means to prevent car use

Biodiversity conservation or restoration-focused activities

Biodiversity conservation:

  • Protect and enhance urban habitats
  • Preserve and strengthen existing habitats and ecosystems
  • Promote environmentally-sound development in and around protected areas
  • Create new habitats
  • Protect species
  • Undertake specific measures to protect species
  • Undertake specific measures to protect valued species
  • Other

Biodiversity restoration:

  • Rehabilitate and restore damaged or destroyed ecosystems
  • Restore species (native, endangered, or unspecified)
  • Restore valued species

Main beneficiaries

  • National-level government
  • Local government/Municipality
  • Public sector institution (e.g. school or hospital)
  • Non-government organisation/Civil Society
  • Private sector/Corporate/Company
  • Citizens or community groups
  • Other


Management set-up

  • Government-led

Type of initiating organisation

  • Local government/municipality

Participatory approaches/ community involvement

  • Dissemination of information and education

Details on the roles of the organisations involved in the project

The municipality of Utrecht worked closely together with Rijkswaterstaat (Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment) to realize the parks along Amsterdamse Rijn Canal (ref. 2). The (national) Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment was landowner of the area where green-blue infrastructure was improved and also monitored the plan in line with water management issues (ref. 2). The project was initiated by the municipality of Utrecht (ref. 2). The following actors were also involved in this intervention: Sport association (TC Domstad: tennis association), housing corporations, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, local NGOs, community groups (Leidsche Rijn) were involved in the development plan of Amsterdamse Rijn Canal (ref. 3). More specifically in the City Island Park Tour, an urban architecture company (Marco Broekman Urbanism Research Architecture), designers (HKI) and landscape architecture (LINT) were involved in the implementation (ref. 7). Regional networks that include this project are: Coalition Spatial Adaptation Utrecht, a partnership between Sweco (engineers company), Natuur en Milieufederatie Utrecht (NMU, local NGO) and Hoogheemraadschap Stichtse Rijnlanden (regional water body) (Ref 4) ; "The project was related to the European Horizon2020 NATURVATION project" (ref. 4).

Project implemented in response to ...

... an EU policy or strategy? Unknown
... a national policy or strategy? Unknown
... a local policy or strategy? Yes (The development plan for Amsterdamse Rijn Canal which includes the development of 'Rondje Stadseiland' (City Island Park Tour) was part of the 'Meerjaren Groenprogramma' (Long-term Green Program) of the municipality of Utrecht (ref. 2).)


Total cost

€500,000 - €2,000,000

Source(s) of funding

  • Public regional budget
  • Public local authority budget

Type of funding

  • Earmarked public budget
  • Direct funding or subsidy

Non-financial contribution


Impacts and Monitoring

Environmental impacts

  • Climate, energy and emissions
  • Lowered local temperature
  • Reduced emissions
  • Enhanced carbon sequestration
  • Environmental quality
  • Improved air quality
  • Improved protection against strong wind
  • Water management and blue areas
  • Improved water quality
  • Green space and habitat
  • Promotion of naturalistic styles of landscape design for urban development
  • Increased green space area
  • Increased conservation or restoration of ecosystems

Economic impacts

  • Increase of jobs
  • More sustainable tourism

Socio-cultural impacts

  • Social justice and cohesion
  • Improved liveability
  • Improved access to urban green space
  • Increased access to healthy/affordable food
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Improved physical health
  • Improved mental health
  • Gain in activities for recreation and exercise
  • Cultural heritage and sense of place
  • Protection of historic and cultural landscape / infrastructure
  • Other

Type of reported impacts

Expected impacts, Achieved impacts

Presence of formal monitoring system


Presence of indicators used in reporting

No evidence in public records

Presence of monitoring/ evaluation reports

No evidence in public records

Availability of a web-based monitoring tool

No evidence in public records