Merwedekanaalzone: creative urban vibes for futureproof living

Increasingly, people prefer an urban lifestyle over life in suburbia. Less traffic en route to work, less hassle getting to the shops and less time spent dropping the kids off at school means a lot more time to spend doing, well, whatever you it is you enjoy doing.

At the same time, young professionals and families are finding it difficult to get that first foot on the property ladder. Which is why Utrecht has made affordable, qualitative housing a key focal point in its urban development plans. Transforming former commercial plots into vibrant neighbourhoods creates more space for Utrechters to live the healthy, connected urban lifestyle they seek.

Diverse and Sustainable

New residential areas such as Cartesius and Merwede are the inner-city neighbourhoods of the future.  Here, cars make way for bicycles and shared mobility solutions, and parks aren’t just green spaces, but places to meet with neighbours, friends, and colleagues. Where there’s room to run and play, where you get to enjoy a coffee on a sunny terrace or buy fresh vegetables from your local urban farm. Where circular materials and products are used to link past, present and future for a greener, more sustainable world.

Merwede is set to become a residential area like no other, built around five key themes: healthy and sustainable, mobile and accessible, green first, lively city district, and space and variety. In total, some 6.000 new homes will be created in Merwede, with a balanced division between social housing (35%), affordable rentals and properties for purchase (25%), as well as properties to buy or rent in the commercial market (40%).

Futureproof Living

But it’s not just the approach to urban planning that’s innovative in Merwede. How about building insulation made of fungi and wood chip instead of the more traditional rockwool? Or reusable bricks that simply click together, no mortal required? Solar façade panels? Buildings will be heated and cooled through a hot-cold system that draws energy from the ground, ensuring a comfortable temperature year-round, with no stress placed on our natural resources.  Every square inch of rooftop space will be used for living roofs, urban farming, roof terraces, or to house solar panels.

Of course, no futureproof, modern development can go without its own living lab, and so Utrecht municipality has joined forces with the project developers to create Merwedelab. Here, innovative products and ideas are translated into concrete, practical solutions that support Merwede and its residents in their ambitious sustainability goals. Renewable energy, circular construction, social structure of a resilient and happy community, and healthy urban living are the four pillars on which the vision for Merwede is built.

It’s hardly surprising that so many entrepreneurs and creative souls have found their way to Merwede already. When will you be joining us here?

Finn Van Leeuwen

Niel Glas

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Merwedekanaalzone: creative urban vibes for futureproof living

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