The metropolitan park: searching for a new typology for intermediate green areas in urban fields

M. Brinkhuijsen, R. van der Velde, E. de Graaf, E. Kruit, A. Lodder

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperAcademic


Ongoing urbanization in metropolitan regions creates a wish for large green areas in the urban peripheries for recreational purposes. Agricultural landscapes are being replaced with woods, nature and water to provide citizens with space for outdoor recreation and other activities. Park-like settings and facilities are being mingled with rational agricultural landscape images. These large areas – up to 1500 hectares – are supposed to provide common recreation for adjacent residential areas, but their size justifies higher ambitions. They are meant to perform as an outstanding regional attraction, and, furthermore, to meet other demands such as climate adaption, water management, nature and agricultural production. They should be ’metropolitan parks’ at a regional level, which asks for a clear identity and a set of appealing, distinctive facilities. While in the past decades public authorities used to purchase, construct and maintain areas like these, nowadays the involvement of private partners is essential for the realization and subsistence of large green areas. These developments result in new design challenges. Well-known design strategies, concepts, images and programs for urban parks don’t suffice and are subject for debate. This paper will present the results of studies and debates initiated by the Dutch Association for Landscape Architecture NVTL in 2010 in order to light up the design of large parks in urban agglomerations. Plans for five large ’metropolitan’ parks in the Netherlands will be compared: Park 21 Haarlemmermeer (design by Vista Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning), Landschapspark Buytenland Rotterdam (design by PVLA), Amstelscheg Amsterdam (design by ?), Park Lingezegen Arnhem-Nijmegen (master plan by Feddes Olthof Landscape Architects) and Park Leidsche Rijn Utrecht (design by West 8 landscape architects). The characteristics and challenges of these areas are similar: their hybrid character, being both park and landscape; the multiple recreational purposes from neighbourhood park to regional attraction; the combination of recreational and other land uses; the diversity of stakeholders; the uncertainties by reason of the extended development time. There is the problem of the need for coherence in an area which is way too large and complex to be wrapped up in a few images. Despite the similar problems, the design concepts and strategies are diverse. The question is if the solutions brought up by the designers will ensure attractive future environments and if they offer innovative concepts for intermediate green areas in metropolitan networks.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventFrom urban landscapes to Alpine gardens. IFLA 2011, Zurich, Switzerland -
Duration: 26 Jun 201129 Jun 2011


ConferenceFrom urban landscapes to Alpine gardens. IFLA 2011, Zurich, Switzerland


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