Urbanism on water and ecology: The early example of Westerpark, Breda

Rob Roggema

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


In this chapter we move back in time, to when it was not an usance to base our city designs on the natural systems of water and ecology. By the end of the 1980s the dogma of separation of functions, and dividing the city in areas for working, living, leisure and traffic was slowly abandoned and especially the focus on the traffic system, more in particular the car, was leading to uproar. In this timeframe an alternative to apply the principles of nature in urban design was very new and, in the beginning, needed to be conquered on the traditionalists who would pertain using their old-school design standards. In this chapter the development story of Westerpark, and Heilaar-Steenakker is presented. This area in the western outskirts of the city of Breda, in the south of the Netherlands, was one of the first, maybe even the first to use knowledge about the water system, ecological typologies and nature as the basis for urban planning. This article starts with a description in sections two and three of the policy context at national level to illustrate the momentum of change from rationalism towards ecological planning. In section four the policy context in Breda in the early nineties is presented as the context within which the planning of Heilaar-Steenakker (Sect. 8.5) and Westerpark (Sect. 8.6) could be based in a strong sense of the natural processes of ecology and water that formed the landscape in history.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Urban Design Thinking, Vol. 2, Nature Driven Urbanism.
EditorsRob Roggema
Place of PublicationCham
ISBN (Electronic)9783030267179
ISBN (Print)9783030267162
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

SeriesContemporary Urban Design Thinking


  • water management
  • natural system
  • sustainable urbanism


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