City Safari Eindhoven

safari eindhoven 

[POST BY Isis Boot and Anne van Strien]

During our city safari, waterway the ‘Dommel’ functioned as our ‘guideline’ through the urban landscape. This line guided us from masterplan scale level to a more human scale as we approached the city center on our bikes. Starting at the High Tech Campus, a semi-public urban park where many of the world’s ‘bright minds’ are working together, Tom van Duuren informed us about the state of the city in terms of biodiversity and ecological management. Among other ‘designed’ features, we noticed some birch perks, which, concerning biodiversity weren’t so successful as these plots remained quite narrow in terms of height differences and options for birds to find food and nestle in. As we left the HTC, we drove downstream towards the center.

The river Dommel may be compared to the High Line in New York, as it went through a similar process of ‘upgrading’ its status from backside of the city to its ecological ‘billboard’. As well as the High Line, the river Dommel has been upgraded in the development from open drain to what it is today, and what it will be in the future. The river has obtained an important status in the larger ecological main structure in the Netherlands (EHS), connecting the south to the northern part via (the center of) Eindhoven.

Hence, the Dommel has many faces and functions for the city, as well as on a larger (province) scale. In the city, the river is the main artery for many fauna. Fish, ducks, insects, birds and other small mammals benefit from the river to move through or fly over, as well as it is a source of food, for example on its river banks.

Furthermore, street artist Wladimir Manshanden shared with us his poetic view on Eindhoven’s trees, each having their own story (to tell). We became inspired as Wladimir told us, that in their ‘leaf mirror’, trees need their own leafs in order to function well. Hence, ‘cleaning up’ leafs in parks has a negative effect as the tree its own ‘food’ is taken away. On a larger scale, whole trees may be left in the landscape as sources for future food, rather than taking them ‘away’. These examples made us understand the importance of taking the ecosystem into account as a whole in which each part has its own important function to make the system work.

for a useful source regarding this ecological way of management see: Louis G. le Roy.