The Dutch city of Leiden wishes to enrich Europe’s repertory of important public green spaces with a unique urban park concept: the Singelpark. It is to be a continuous band of interconnected green spaces, more than six kilometers in length, along the former military fortifications surrounding the most densely built historical center in the Netherlands.
Leiden’s Singelpark is ambitious, but it is first and foremost for the people of Leiden, is the city government’s philosophy. If it is a success on a neighborhood level, then it will also draw people from both the inner city and the outskirts. And in turn it will make Leiden more attractive for visitors from abroad, along with the museums and the historical buildings.
The winning proposal for this competition begins at the water line. By transforming both sides of the canal into continuous, natural horticultural strips, the canals will become a sensitive backbone for slow movement through the city. The natural atmosphere along the canals will be constructed artificially with the aid of the Hortus Botanicus to create cosmopolitan seed and plant mixes. Linked to the water line, sixteen park spaces with various characters are defined, in which local groups and actors can define the program and get involved in the maintenance and programming of the space.
Location: Leiden, The Netherlands
Client: Municipality of Leiden
Collaborators: Lola Landscape Architects, Municipality of Leiden (local partner) and Studio Karst
Year: 2012 – 2018