From Nature-Based to Nature-Driven: Landscape First for the Design of Moeder Zernike in Groningen

Design studio

Global climate change impacts the future of urbanism. The future is increasingly uncertain, and current responses in urban planning practice are often human-centered. In general, this is a way to respond to change that is oriented towards improving the life of people in the short term, often extracting resources from the environment at dangerous levels. This impacts the entire ecological system, and turns out to be negative for biodiversity, resilience, and, ultimately, human life as well. Adaptation to climatic impacts requires a long-term perspective based in the understanding of nature. The objective of the presented research is to find explorative ways to respond to the unknown unknowns through designing and planning holistically for the Zernike campus in Groningen, the Netherlands. The methods used in this study comprise co-creative design-led approaches which are capable of integrating sectoral problems into a visionary future plan. The research findings show how embracing a nature-driven perspective to urban design increases the adaptive capacity, the ecological diversity, and the range of healthy food grown on a university campus. This study responds to questions of food safety, and growing conditions, of which the water availability is the most pressing. Considering the spatial concept, this has led to the necessity to establish a novel water connection between the site and the sea.‚Äč

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