Nature today | How does Breda become a city in a garden?

I wish the residents

In short, the phrase “city in the park” means that residents feel as if they are living in a park. For some, this means a green meeting space where you can listen to a concert on the lawn, and for others, it’s a place where you can learn about special animal species. In any case, biodiversity and green spaces should be near everyone. Within the city we assume the “distance of the slippers”: within two hundred meters it should be in the green space. Our second criterion is ‘Bike Neighborhood’: you should be able to be in a woodland, in a bird meadow or sand drifts outside the city within fifteen minutes of cycling. “

“As a municipality, we did not come up with this green ambition ourselves. We asked residents and visitors what they thought of Breda, and what kind of city it should be in the future. A green city was at the top of our wish lists. So it really is the desire of the city itself. There were also many Breda’s Special Initiatives: People who ran a park themselves, made the streets greener, developed train routes. Then we provided a coordinator who brought all these initiatives together so they could learn from each other. This created a community that takes greening initiatives from the bottom up. the above “.

All-encompassing nature building

“As a municipality, we had to – in the beginning – give priority to green development plans. Of course we had to think of all the plans, but the green plans came on top of the heap. As a result, the project developers also worked with it; we saw that biodiversity was given a place in the Their plans We have now made it mandatory: Within the development area, 20 to 35 percent of the space should be green. Half of this should be biodiversity, so not only playgrounds, but also ecological green spaces and natural playgrounds. And there should be facilities for animals such as house sparrows, bats, hedgehogs, sparrows, weasels, or owls, depending on the location in the city.”

“The developers of the project appreciate and deal with this clarity. We give them as much freedom as possible: you have to serve a number of target species, but how to do that and which species you choose is largely up to you. For example, biodiversity is not a tag list, but It is given full place in the design process. As urban environmentalists, we test plans for feasibility and sufficient ambition. Companies also see the added value of inclusive nature, in part due to the great health benefits of living in green spaces. This is especially important for the target group, because tenants suffer Oftentimes it has more health problems than homeowners.”

In and out of the city

“We’re not just adding green spaces in the city; we’re creating nature reserves outside the city. With new meadows and woodland areas, for example, we’re making the biodiversity around the city as diverse as possible. Through ecological corridors, we’re attracting that biodiversity into the city to bring it to the doorstep.” People. Through these areas we also make the connection between the low-lying swampy areas north of Breda and the sandy soils in the south. Streams of sandy soil gather in our centre. Otters and beavers from Biesbosch will soon be able to travel to Belgium via our city.”

Nature Factory

“We are creating parks and an all-nature city river for eco-contact areas. This river will soon allow greater water drainage, which will ease canals and create space for more green space and an eco-contact zone. The Nature Factory also aligns with this plan. Many animals are doing well In big cities, as long as they have somewhere to turn;Think of wild boars in Berlin or badgers in London.This is why we want to give more space to nature.For example, using an old roofless building in a park as shelter.Animals can enter and exit through animal tunnels If there are people in the green space during the day, the animals have the opportunity to retreat inside the walls, where wildlife can develop. And when people go to sleep, the animals can go outside and use the greenery around the building.”

jungle thieves

“In addition to those big projects, we are working on small-scale greening in many places. Tiles have been raised and facade gardens laid. Bush thieves dig up plants from the gardens of buildings being demolished to distribute to neighborhood residents. Or they take them to a plant shelter, where people can Bring and pick up excess plants. All community initiatives.”
“This will make it greener all over the place in and around the city. We are seeing more and more black-tailed fables in our nature reserves. The house sparrow population in our city is stable, while this bird is disappearing from many Dutch cities. We are seeing more and more white rapunzel, which is A very rare plant. And our tree frogs are doing well.”

Rombout in the center of Breda, near Oude Vest

health opportunism

“Does it go as planned? Nothing goes according to plan, these are the city dynamics. But this also provides opportunities. You have to know what you want and be healthy inside. In Breda, many lands around the center have been released: from a factory The sugar that has been closed, the barracks site being stripped by the army, the prison that will be given a different function. This way we can expand in a green way without filling the lawns. This keeps the city compact, with an attractive nature outside the city limits. When realizing the nature reserves, we do not stay In the research phase for a long time, but we are trying to buy the land quickly. In this way we achieve a lot and also form a reliable partner for other parties when it comes to realizing nature.”

“What helps here is that recently we have ‘green’ and ‘location’ planning in one portfolio. This is very important for cities that want to go green. This way you can reconcile interests. No more conflicting interests during a board meeting; one person guarantees That spatial evolution also becomes green.”

It helps us a lot to get support from the population. You cannot achieve this everywhere, in some villages people prefer clean and tidy lawns. Our residents are now accustomed to the rougher plants in the city; More complain here when we mow wildflowers. Entrepreneurs are also investing in the city’s green spaces. Our great green ambition has united the people. It is now in the DNA of a Breda citizen. We can really call this a success story.”

Text: Mariel Verborg, Bird Protection, The Netherlands
Photos: Rombot Van Eckelen; Meryl Rocks

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