‘Handboek voor de kweek' (‘Manual for fostering') sets out a strategy to revitalize a post-industrial area in the close vicinity of the city centre of Enschede. Instead of projecting a fixed final image, the scope of this winning competition entry was to provide tools, which, when skillfully applied, allowed the owners and users to revitalize the area step by step: bottom-up.
To explain this way dealing with dynamic and changing conditions, we used the metaphor of ‘the gardener'. Similar to the ways of the gardener, we propose to fertilize, plant, nurture and only cut when it's necessary. Shaping, in dialogue with what occurs and seems to grow best.
Available pavements are mapped and re-applied as boarders. Pioneering plants are applied to give this process a boost, while gradually making place for a slower growing and a long-term type of vegetation. Buildings are programmed plinths first, directly charging public space. The water storage problem, an issue on city-level, is seen as an opportunity to add a water stream and add character to the site. Step by step the area is softened, while places are created. Monotony becomes a differentiated carpet of activities. The plot, located in a area of modest means without much green space available, becomes a city garden, linking city centre and the living areas around it.
Full-grown, with a revitalized historical landmark at its centre, this city garden will be a stimulus for its surroundings. On the long term the morphological strength of this city garden could grow strong enough to frame future developments. A set of rules, concentrated on the boarders of the city garden, guides this new relationship.
Step by step value is created through a process of natural succession.