January 28, 2019

Life sciences, health and sustainability: these are key words for the future development of Utrecht Science Park. As the largest science park in the Netherlands, its concentration of knowledge already makes it a crucial magnet for the regional economy.

However, it still offers a great deal of potential in terms of increased sustainability, more housing and activities, improved facilities and a more vibrant atmosphere. The aim is to achieve an internationally prominent Utrecht Science Park, near the Utrecht city centre, at the heart of a unique green landscape. In order to make this possible, the area's partners crafted an ambition document which was presented to Utrecht alderman Klaas Verschuure (Spatial Planning) today.

Utrecht Science Park wishes to develop into an area which invites people to lead a healthy lifestyle and contributes to this ambition by means of education, research, care and activity. The ambition is for USP to become a traffic-free area with an attractive centre. The number of residences for students and employees will increase from 2,500 to 5,000. This will create a lively atmosphere and a basis for more facilities such as catering establishments. There are meeting place everywhere.

Furthermore, the number of companies and R&D jobs is also growing, the latter to an expected 3,000 jobs. Sustainability and circular building form the starting point of all the construction activities. Internal and upwards expansion will not only make it possible to retain the green nature of the area, but also to enhance it. For example, it would be much better to use the botanic garden as a green heart which people can use for recreational purposes.

Shared process
As the owner of the land, the university took the initiative. Over the past two years, numerous discussions have been held with UMC Utrecht, HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht and the Utrecht Science Park Foundation. Brainstorming sessions, theme events and administrative meetings have also been held with the institutions and companies which are based in Utrecht Science Park, the Province and city of Utrecht, student organisations and social organisations. According to Jan Henk van der Velden, director of the Utrecht Science Park Foundation, all the parties share a great deal of energy and consensus. 'The chosen path ties in perfectly with the city's ambitions in the area of Healthy Urban Living. It is now important to capitalise on the opportunities together, with accessibility as an important requirement.'

Healthy urban living for everyone
The ambition document forms an important building block of the new municipal vision for Utrecht Science Park which is being drawn up by the municipality of Utrecht. This municipal vision is expected to be completed in 2020.

The municipality is now working on the process for developing the municipal vision. All interested parties will be invited to contribute their thoughts at various points. The first step is expected to be taken in the spring.

Temporary student accommodation
In a brainstorming session with students and student organisations on 23 January, we requested ideas as to how this vital environment for students could also be shaped in the short term to supplement the ambition document.

Anton Pijpers: 'There is an acute shortage of student accommodation and something needs to be done about this in the very near future. International students in particular have no alternatives when they come to Utrecht to study. On the southern side of Utrecht Science Park, behind the Androclus Building, there is an area which has already been designated for residential use. We are examining whether temporary accommodation could be built at this location in the short term.'

 

Source: Utrecht University