The city council of Eindhoven has approved by a convincing majority a vision to densify the city centre while making it greener, more attractive, more hospitable, more social, and more lively. Alderman Yasin Torunoglu presented the proposal to the council last week, with 39 of the 45 municipal councillors voting in favour of the vision. This approval clears the way for high-rise buildings in the city centre, in combination with extensive greening, improved mobility, and better public spaces.
The vision was developed by the municipality in collaboration with Winy Maas, who has been supervisor of the city centre of Eindhoven since 2017, along with MVRDV. As a supervisor, Maas spoke to entrepreneurs, developers, and residents about how the city centre – where only 6,000 people live, which is dominated by car traffic, and where only 7.3 percent of the surface area is green – can be made more liveable and habitable.
The densification vision shows how Eindhoven can grow in a responsible manner. The new densification makes it possible to add research centres, conference centres, and cultural institutions along with thousands of new affordable homes. Combined with a greener public space and improved mobility, this provides an enormous quality boost for both the centre and the rest of the city.
The densification vision is based upon three constituent studies: one into greening the city, one into the public space, and one into increasing the city’s density. The greening study proposes a radical "green dip". Adding local plants, shrubs, and grasses wherever possible cools the surroundings and improves air quality, creating a forest for the city centre. More greenery is good for birds and insects, and will result in better drainage, storage, and filtration of water. Solar panels on the roofs also enable more sustainable energy management. A reduction in parking and more space for cyclists and pedestrians ensure a more liveable and climate-proof city centre.
In the study of public space, a new paving design creates better cohesion, providing a carpet for the city – a peaceful, sustainable backdrop for the collection of high-rises. The now inaccessible and inhospitable courtyards will soon be opened to residents via new paths and alleys. Stairs and bridges make the green roofs accessible, with room for cafés and restaurants on the roofs.
The intensification study combines two apparently opposed goals: continuing the city’s growth and strengthening its image as “Brainport Eindhoven”, the leading innovation, technology, and research region in Europe; versus preserving the existing charms of the “cosy Brabant city”. The existing buildings of approximately four storeys will therefore form the so-called “Eindhoven layer”, being expanded and improved to form the basis for greening roofs. This Eindhoven layer then becomes a plinth for taller buildings, the “Brainport layer”, with a collection of icons that accentuate the squares and public spaces in the city and make the city attractive to residents and investors alike.
"Our plan greatly improves the scale of the city centre by expanding, improving, and intensifying the Eindhoven layer at ground level. This layer acts as a stage for a green park at the top, an ‘Eindhoven National Park’ connected by stairs and bridges”, says Winy Maas. “It serves as the basis for a beautiful and unprecedented ‘Eindhoven collection’ of high-rise buildings that will make the city even more recognizable!”
An intensive consultation process preceded the development of the densification vision. At the end of 2019, the municipality organized a meeting for residents and other stakeholders. Together with an online survey and other initiatives, this resulted in the exceptional involvement of Eindhoven residents in the development of their city. Their insights have been used to further sharpen the vision. A number of improvements, such as the greening of the public space and better paving, have already started in some places.
Read more about the city centre densification vision here.