'Island of Possibilities' Strategic and Speculative Design for Nijmegen


Master Urbanism TU Delft (MSc 1)

Project location:

Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Presentation poster:

Nijmegen has always struggled with rising waterlevels of the Waal river that runs through the city. To make space for this excess of water, the city council and regional authorities have plans to broaden the river. By implementing this plan, an island will arise in the midst of the river. For this project I wanted to research what the possibilities - in terms of functions and programme - could be for this island in the city of Nijmegen. I therefore created a speculative design based on a strategic plan for the future development of the city. This plan contained two development scenarios, responding to the fluctuating economic circumstances of the region.

In this Mastertrack the theme strategic design was highlighted. From a regional analysis I concluded that the city of Nijmegen wants to invest in an improved connection with the nearby city of Arnhem. Together with Arnhem, they want to build a strong economic front by making use of their geographical situation in a European context.

By analysing the city's demographic data, I found that there was a shortage employment availability for the increasing number of high educated citizens. At the same time, there was also no future spatial plan for the rapid growth of starting entrepeneurs. For the programmatic design of the island I therefore focused on this last group.

My ambition for this island was to develop a multidisciplinary business area. In the first phase of this development, business centres would be planned, which would form an attractive opportunity for the starting businesses of the city's young and new entrepeneurs.

When these entrepeneurs start, their first option is to rent an office within the business centre building. Here, they can rent a larger office space whenever their business grows and needs more floor space. If the business keeps growing and increases in its success, the entrepeneur can choose to buy a plot on the island where his own office building can be built. This evolution of the entrepeneur is shown in the diagram at the top of this page.

In order to make a flexible plan, which will take in consideration the future growth of the island and of the overal economy of the region and country, it is important to articulate development guidelines. These guidelines will create a playing field in which the plan can develope organically. These guidelines exist of plot lines and building heights. Within these guidelines there is a freedom for the entrepeneur to create their own building plans.