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Transformation of 'shrink area', Groningen

'Back to the source'


The province of Groningen is a very interesting province because of their spatial contrast, the city center and country side. The contrast is obvious. The current social development makes this contrast even more. There are areas in the province of Groningen who are affected by shrinkage. Services have to close their doors or be forced to merge. Young people leave and lead them to an increase in the aging population, with all its consequences.


For us, this current development is the trigger to introduce something new. It challenges us to think about the implications and impact of this area. Also, in particular to give a boost to the selected areas by creating the certain characterizing / innovative spatial interventions. Our focus is on the last one. Therefore we have chosen three villages at the northeast of city of Groningen as a research area: Winsum, Ten Boer and Slochteren. These villages are not affected by the shrink areas but they are surrounded by the shrinkage. The villages harbor a lot of potentials.


Important reasons are: nature, culture and recreation. Our challenge is to discover the original identity and character of these villages and to strengthen them that each village can maximize, complement and fullfill their own quality each other. So that they become attractive and vivid again, and will not be affected by the shrink areas. To achieve the goals, we have devised a powerful motto: “Back to the Source.” We will create a new spatial intervention by exploring and highligting multiple elements, such as water, the scenery, landscape, the original settlements, etc, preserving, strengthening and restoring the original landscape structure and character.

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