Wenduine, as a small city on the Flemish coast, can clearly be considered as a typical example tourist oriented town. People we have met can be clearly divided into two different, non-interfering groups – the visitors (tourists and second residence owners) and the inhabitants (usually mid-aged families). The Ringlaan is the symbolical border between those two groups, but also between dominating housing typology – northern more dense urban fabric and southern suburbs. Our main idea was creating the common space for both of those groups, a space for interference, catalyzer of social interactions, providing services and leisure, for which, nowadays, people have to travel to Knokke or Brugge.
For the space of our micro urban strategy ( or should we rather call it macro urban strategy, due to dealing with almost all the perimeter of the city?) we have chosen the Ringlaan, for its location and width, splitting the city into two pieces. Its enormous size (as for the suburban fabric it goes through -30 to even 42 meters) provides broad possibilities of possible interventions. Our main idea is somehow “zip” the divided city. For this we’ve started our rearranging strategy from moving the tram line from Leopold II laan, to the place it can serve equally both the visitors and inhabitants. As, according to Jan Gehl and Jane Jacobs, fast car movement discourages (deter?) people from using public space, the car road has been designed to weave through the city. The liberated space is going to be arranged as green commons, with spot architectural interventions. Our particular projects will be designed to serve democratically not only the whole Wenduine but also potentially attracting people from other cities.
We believe that after our actions the new green Ringlaan can serve somehow as a counterweight to the seaside promenade, attracting people with its different character, and with the fact, that it’s almost equally in the middle of the city be easily accessible and interesting for everyone, no matter of their age, possibilities or interests.