Our analysis led us to conclusion that the main problem of the city is the fact that suburbs are cutted of from the city by the Ringlaan, which, for its function, is over dimensioned and seems discouraging to cross or walk along it, as it has no function or possibilities of actions along it or even crossing points. This disconnection causes lack of interaction between the city parts and provokes to search for activities in other cities. On the other hand, wide roads provoke drives to drive faster, that additionally deters people from walking, even if their fear of traffic is not fully rational (Gehl, 1987)
Our main design strategy was to provoke people to use this area, as it whole would serve as common grounds, for equally the “inhabitants” and “visitors”. It’s possible by getting rid of what discourages people and creating attractors. Therefore, it should provide diverse activities and possibilities to attract people, not only from Wenduine but possibly also from other cities and villages. The base of the strategy was moving the tram line, which currently enforces the border between the promenade and the city, to the Ringlaan, forcing some people to walk through the city and providing better transportation to the others. Because of that all the street needed to be rearranged which gives the possibilities to create a pedestrian friendly space, that would be, instead of smooth border, a jagged stitch, that will have different character and mood. During our research process we came to the conclusion that the city can be clearly divided into three typologies defined by their density. Ringlaan is the border between the urban, dense one and rather loose suburban one. To empower the stitching idea I propose to swiths them on a part of the street.
For my particular intervention I’ve chosen the lots (or rather area, as for the intervention would lye across the modern Ringlaan, taking additionally lots from both sides of it) near the intersection with Kerkstraat. As we’ve learned from the input session and our own experience, paradoxically, open landscape of polders is highly privatized, and unavailable to the people. Here I could witness a similar situation. This inspired me to combine those two, into easily accessible and appropriable unity. Historical pattern of rural divisions has been transformed into, as they are called by landscape architects, spaces with floors (Rutlege 1971) of different materials and characters. The functions of particular have not been defined directly. A park is not necessarily “jammed full of equipment, game courts, and directed things to do to satisfy basic human need” (Rutlege 1971)
Wide paths with their zig-zags, inspired by the polder dikes, and diverse view are supposed to provoke walking. Due to the importance of accessibility in Wenduine, where in the park would equally meet old people and young mothers it is importante to keep the paths on one level. It will bring double benefits: firstly – people don’t have to struggle with curbs, and secondly it forces the cars to slow down, which reduces the negative effect of their appereance. As it is not possible to realize proper social research for the exact needs of future users of the park, the people should be let to appropriate space in their own way, which can be surprising even for the designer as the possibilities of human behavior have incredibly wide range. The northern side is defined by very picturesque church, which once used to be the city dominant, and even now, looking from the polders its tower its clearly visible on the background of seaside residential buildings. Its red wall will be perfect background for park activities or simply greenery, in winter it will be clearly cut off the white surroundings.
Picturesque values are also important in the tram station design. As for its function it is going to be an important node, concentrating people moving to the seaside or to work, or back home. From my personal experience I find the movement of rail transport appealing. Ian Gehl somehow proofs my words, by saying that people tend to gather in places that something is already happening. By creating a multi-level building, with a café on first floor and a roof garden I want to attract people there not only for the tram rides, but also any other time. It would create somehow a semi-symmetric situation where the main city center with walking promenade is countered with the “polder” park with a café and a shop. Those two centralities would fulfill each other – northern orientation and the southern, static sea view with dynamic tram and park one.