The access road running past Breda City Hall towards the centre of town has been turned into a biodiverse Green Lane. The road used to be lined with a few sad-looking horse-chestnut trees and beech hedging on the median strip. But nowadays, traffic is welcomed by a wide variety of trees and a colourful, insect-friendly median strip. Breda’s ambition is to become the first European ‘city in a park’ by 2030.
“That’s where the Green Lane starts”, says Mattijs van Dalen of Green Revolution, pointing at the end of a wide road that runs towards the centre of Breda, the Netherlands. Van Dalen isn’t the designer, nor the contractor, but he is the driving force behind the Claudius Prinsenlaan greening project.
It all started with a competition organised by the city council in the beginning of 2019. They were asking for ideas for the greening of their City Hall. Van Dalen: “It was a project that was right up my street. I immediately started looking for experts, to form a strong team.” His choice included designers from Donker Design, Van den Berk Nurseries (specialised in trees for urban areas), Mark Blaakman of Greenmakers (roof vegetation) and Roos Kuipers of Faunus Nature Creations to help with ecological opportunities.
Different look and feel
Van Dalen: “After our first brainstorming session, we concluded that the budget wasn’t large enough for greening the facade of City Hall in such a way that it would make a real impact. The concrete building has an overhang, which means you’d need to install an expensive watering system” Thijs Verschuren of Donker Design then suggested greening the adjacent outdoor space. The street outside City Hall was lined with chestnut trees battling with bleeding canker and the median strip was planted with boring blocks of beech hedging. Van Dalen: “Our reasoning was that a renewed street would give a different look and feel to the City Hall building. (..)
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