Sustainable Cities™

Venlo: First cradle-to-cradle region in the world

The Venlo-region in the south-east of the Netherlands, bordering Germany, is developing initiatives at different scales which can test the concepts of Cradle-to-cradle at a regional scale. The intention is to boost social, economic and environmental welfare internally in the region whilst at the same time creating a knowledge base which can be exported across Europe and internationally.

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Venlo Greenport. Visualisering af: Urban Affairs, De Urbanisten, VHP og A2studio 2009. Venligst udlånt af Studio Marco Vermeulen.

Limburg, a region in the south-west of the Netherlands, bordering Germany and Belgium, is developing initiatives at different scales which can test the concepts of Cradle-to-cradle at a regional scale. The intention is to boost social, economic and environmental welfare internally in the region whilst at the same time creating a knowledge base which can be exported across Europe and internationally.

The enthusiasm for Cradle-to-cradle (c2c) started in 2006 following a documentary sent on Dutch television. The wide spread interest for Cradle-to-cradle which followed, was not only limited to designers, developers and politicians but spread throughout the region, peaking in the town of Venlo where everyone from local business people to local bar-staff began their own initiatives. Since then, Limburg has adopted Cradle-to-cradle as their own vision for regional growth and engine of innovation.

" The Cradle to Cradle framework means that we are native to our place; our waste is our food; sun is our income; our air, soil and water are healthy; we design enjoyment for all generations; we provide enjoyable mobility for all. Environment and Sustainable Development Department, www.limburg.nl

Courtesy of Studio Marco Vermeulen.

The key initiatives in operation currently include the development of Greenport Venlo and the preparation for international horticulture fair, Floriade 2012. Greenport Venlo will integrate agriculture, industry, transport and logistics. The development will expand the industry and activities which are already responsible for 1 billion euro turnover within these sectors. With Limburg sharing borders with both Germany and Belgium, the context is ripe for increasing trade and exchange of food, energy, material resources.

The Klavertje 4 (Four-leaf clover) project includes Fresh-Park Venlo and Floriade 2012. The site for Floriade 2012 is designed not only to accommodate the World Horticultural Expo but as an large-scale landscape which can accommodate diverse and long-term habitats. The area contains buildings and open spaces which themselves operates as eco-systems, harnassing energy from the sun, cleaning water for recirculation and releasing new resources to feed new systems.

As a park for the Expo, Floriade have been made up of five differently themed zones; Relax and Heal, Green Engine, Education and Innovation, Environment, World Show Stage. The intention is that visitors can discover and experience many different perspectives of sustainability; connecting the role of nature with human intervention with regards to technology and life-science; food and health; sport and travel; shopping and the home.

Four-leaf Clover Master Plan; General objectives

Greenport Venlo is an economic network of businesses, organisations and institutions associated with the horticulture supply chain. The physical Greenport Venlo development will take place in an area near Venlo ; the Four-leaf Clover area. The challenge from the outset has been how to create a large-scale, dynamic zone of logistics and agrarian activity here without causing irreversible damage to the natural environment.
This is not to say that the current strategy is based on reducing negative environmental impact but rather increasing positive impact; ecologically, equitably and economically. The focus lies in improving the quality and level of integration (and contribution) between; Landscape, Nature, Energy, Water and Infrastructure.

Four-leaf Clover Master Plan; Specific integrated solutions

The clover configuration makes it possible to optimise the traffic flows by means of a one-way system. The clover leaf has 70% land for industrial activity and 30% as a collective area green zones which stretch deep into the working area. These have act both as recreational areas for staff and at the same time use nature to support a closed-cycle of water use and provision, infiltrating rain-water from the large shed-roofs and re-circulating this to irrigate greenhouses.

Waste from greenhouses, industry, and adjacent villages, manure from the fields and green waste from the landscape are used to generate bio-gas which in turn provides supplement for combined heat and power plants, supplying electricity and heat to work clusters via a warm water system.

Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014

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