Sweco makes the largest market in the country green

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Sweco makes the largest market in the country green

23 June 2020
The Artgineering, LAMA, Sweco and Daniel Ost (ALS_O) design team won the study assignment for the redevelopment of the Grote Markt in Sint-Niklaas. We are very proud of this, because it gives us the opportunity to give the largest Belgian market square a green metamorphosis. Sweco takes care of the elaboration of the design, the preparation of the implementation file and the follow-up of the project. Sweco had already redeveloped the Stationsstraat, and renovated the green shopping precinct in Sint-Niklaas.

The ALS_O team is searching for structural, sustainable solutions for the market of Sint-Niklaas. The concept 'The Green Market' is based on an integral long-term perspective in which the basis is formed by climate adaptation, sustainable mobility, economy and meetings. The search for solutions to anchor an intensively used urban space more firmly in the urban and social fabric. The heart of Sint-Niklaas forms the hub in a metabolism of different green spaces that together make the city more liveable, today and in the future.

Multifunctional & climate adaptive
Substantial greening is crucial in order for the four hectares of urban space to become not only a square, but also a park and garden, without compromising its intensive usage as a stage for the Thursday market, the Vredesfeesten and other events. A green border with a variety of trees allows an intense interaction between the activities within the borders and the central open field. Green areas will also be provided with flower gardens with seating areas to create more and pleasant residential areas within the square. The central area will even include grass fields. The central open space will remain the stage of the city centre. In between the numerous events there is room to get together, to play soccer, enjoy a barbecue or have a picnic. Between the tree line and the north-eastern part of the central square are water features that significantly increase the experiential value, especially for children. They also serve as peak storage, cooling and water filtering, and act as a climate regulator for the city centre.

Space for people
In the mobility and neighbourhood circulation plan, the city council formulates the objective of reducing through traffic in the centre. Traffic is limited by targeting destination traffic. This creates more space for cyclists and pedestrians, and shopkeepers can make active use of the edge of the square. As a result, the Grote Markt will be reintegrated into the urban fabric, as a place to meet and stay. In the southeast corner of the square, near Parklaan, the grass field subsides to the level of the underground car park. This is the first step towards transformation of the underground car park into a more sustainable solution with an accessible underground bicycle parking garage. The car park will be open locally to allow plenty of daylight to enter, with opportunities for new forms of use such as a coffee bar or bicycle repair shop, combined with a covered bicycle parking facility.

Illustrations: © Artgineering-Lama-Sweco (ALS_O)