The Stenendijk at Hasselt: spatial quality framework

The Stenendijk is an historic dyke in Hasselt in the province of Overijssel, featuring a brick wall of more than 1 kilometre in length. The dyke is currently safe, but vulnerable. To protect Hasselt and the surroundings from future flooding from the Zwartewater, the Drents Overijsselse Delta Water Board is going to reinforce the Stenendijk.

The water board is working with residents, authorities and other users to establish what measures are required and how best to integrate them in the local environment. The dyke is a national monument. The reinforcement must therefore preserve and, where possible, improve its spatial quality and heritage value. 

The challenge for Witteveen+Bos was to establish the value of the dyke in a spatial quality framework. In this framework, both the subjective value (what is the perceived quality?) and the objective value (what is the actual quality?) for the dyke reinforcement project are described and visualised. To do so, five core qualities were identified and elaborated in concrete design principles. These provide an assessment framework when considering alternatives and variants for the dyke reinforcement. 

The landscape architects at Witteveen+Bos performed a survey to establish the experiential value. Residents were involved in the survey with a customised mix of communication media like online questionnaires, kitchen table conversations, drop-in sessions and sketch evenings and the use of our mobile office, the hop-on-hop-office, on the Stenendijk. Sessions were also held with the provincial quality team and the Cultural Heritage Agency.

Working closely with heritage experts and landscape architects, the true historic value of the wall as part of the dyke was determined. The input was incorporated in the quality framework and used in the design process with engineers. 

 

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