Although the location will be alongside Europaboulevard, the design feels more like an intimate local park. Compared to its current appearance, the eastern side of Europaplein (between President Kennedylaan and Rooseveltlaan) promises to become a pleasant place in which to spend time and to play. Over the last two years, we have had several discussions about it with local residents. In December 2020, we presented the provisional design in a video. Now that we have added the final touches, the definitive design is ready.
This definitive design is different from the provisional one in three ways. The first change will actually be invisible: we are installing a concrete system underground, in order to capture rainwater more effectively. This is because there is an urgent need for locations in the Rivierenbuurt neighbourhood where this is possible. By doing this, we are contributing to the policy that aims to prepare the city for the effects of climate change, such as sudden downpours that the drains cannot cope with. The concrete system will be underneath the playground area in the square and nothing will be visible from above. For the same reason, we are also departing from the provisional design by replacing the planted section on the edge of the housing and parking areas with a water-retardant green infiltration strip. This will enable us to retain water for longer in the event of heavy rain showers in order to take the pressure off the drainage system. These water-retardant green strips can be found in various parts of Zuidas: in Zuidelijke Wandelweg, Domenico Scarlattistraat, and in Prinses Irenestraat. Finally, between the parking spaces and the square, we will not be planting privet hedging, but mixed hedging known as Zeeuwse haag instead. This looser hedging requires less frequent pruning and its structure ensures better biodiversity.
In the period ahead, we will be working on the technical details of the design. Based on that, we will be able to search for a contractor. In addition, an application has been made for an environmental permit for the Virtual Fountains art work, which will be a feature in the square. We expect this permit to be granted soon. It will then be open for consultation for six weeks. We will inform you about that in due course. According to the schedule, work on the new renovated square is set to start in September 2021. It is expected to have been completed by early 2022.