The south side of the Central Station is set for redevelopment in the next few years. The railway yard will go, plans are being made to improve the station entrance and accessibility, and ideas on how to shape the surrounding area are welcome. First-year students of Environmental and Infrastructure Planning at the University of Groningen see this as the ideal opportunity to further enhance the city
Forty students, in eight teams, worked in the Urban Gro Lab on plans for the redevelopment of the railway station area.
The Urban Gro Lab – which developed from the Let’s Gro event, a collaboration between the University of Groningen and the Groningen municipality – is a creative platform where Groningen residents, students and the municipality meet to explore the future of the city of Groningen together. According to the student teams, the future looks rosy for the station area, but opinions differ as to exactly what shape that future will take. One team envisages the area as ‘the North’s creative hub’, another sees possibilities for a ‘station park’, Other ideas include developing the area into a ‘city foyer’, reintroducing water, or creating a ‘green avenue’ as a link between the station and the city park. In short, there are exciting, refreshing ideas for this special area.
The Urban Gro Lab gives aspiring planners an opportunity to taste the unruly realities of urban development. The NS (Dutch Railways), designers and municipal policymakers have included the students in the current planning process for the railway station area. More importantly, the students were challenged to set to work and contribute to the complex task of developing a vision for the future. They learned how to organize a project, analyse a location and visualize ideas. The Urban Gro Lab was founded by the Groningen municipality and the University of Groningen to help students gain this type of experience. The Lab forms a bridge between the theory and practice of spatial sciences.
The students will present their plans on Thursday 12 June in the form of elevator pitches, short films and posters. The presentations will take place from 5 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. in the Urban Gro Lab at Grote Markt 33.
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