In the Lijnbaanstraat, the city of Ostend (BE) is creating a green oasis where residents can meet each other. Moreover, more green means more cooling in the city. The redevelopment started in January 2021 and is part of the European Cool Towns project.
Hot summers are a reality that we will be confronted with more and more in the future. Since heat is generated in urban areas, creating green zones in the city is an answer to this challenge. In Ostend, the vast majority of the city center (the zone between Vindictivelaan, Visserskaai, Van Iseghemlaan and Leopold II laan) is paved. The Lijnbaanstraat offers the opportunity to break through this and create a green resting point in the city center at this location.
The first phase of the refurbishment will start from February 2021. Utility company Fluvius will start with a test installation of the lighting in the underpasses. The contractor will then start installing new sewers. This is followed by the construction of five raised green islands with grass, prairie plants, trees and shrubs. Partly at the request of local residents, the City of Ostend opted for a flowery and very varied design. Ultimately, the Lijnbaanstraat should be given a garden character with fairly detailed planting.
The flowering magnolias, seven-son trees and Anna Paulowna tree are the main eye-catchers. In addition, each raised island will have a seating area, a drinking fountain and a fully accessible toilet near Ooststraat (passage to Kapellestraat). New in this project is that we collect the surface water that falls within the area in underground basins. In dry periods this water can be used to irrigate the plants in the city centre.
Construction with climbing plants
In the second phase of the redevelopment it is the intention to place a construction with climbing plants along the facades of the surrounding buildings. A test structure has already been built in the northern part of Lijnbaanstraat. Feel free to take a look. The City opted to plant star jasmine and wisteria.
Traffic-free city center
Today, this zone has 50 parking spaces that will disappear in the future. These places are compensated by the recent opening of the Zeedijk car park with 244 parking spaces. In addition, the Mijnplein, Zeeparking, Kursaal and Visserskaai car parks are located in the immediate vicinity of the Lijnbaanstraat.
One of the action points in the Administrative Agreement is to reduce traffic in the city centre. Transforming the Lijnbaanstraat into a green resting place where it is pleasant to stay is part of this vision. The ultimate intention is that pedestrians, cyclists and people who are not so mobile are given priority over all other traffic.
Pop-up garden and participation
Local residents and visitors to Ostend were able to get acquainted with the plans in September 2019 via a pop-up garden and an info box of the Energiehuis Oostende, where a model of the Lijnbaanstraat could be seen and where everyone could go with their questions and ideas.
Via the info box, residents indicated that the fairly dark, covered entrances of the Lijnbaanstraat caused an unsafe feeling. These places will be given a test set-up with unique lighting from January. After the work, new fixtures will be installed in the courtyard itself. Finally, there will also be camera surveillance on the site.
The redevelopment of Lijnbaanstraat is part of Europe’s ambitious Cool Towns project. By reducing paved areas, planting trees and climbing plants and introducing water elements, we can avoid heat stress in the summer.
If all goes well, the works will take about six months. The total cost of the redevelopment of the Lijnbaanstraat is approximately 2.5 million euros. Because these interventions are part of the European Cool Towns project, Europe is investing approximately EUR 480,000 in the project.