SITE DISCRIPTION - The area near the village of Stene (Ostend) is called Gardens of Stene. The Gardens Stene, as an integral part of SCAPE, is a 35ha polder landscape situated in this fringe area of Ostend. For many people, even for the people of Ostend, this site is quite unknown and undiscovered. This new city park of the 21st century for multifunctional land use, searches a synergy between new kinds of recreation, nature, urban agriculture, renewable energy and much more. In this context, Gardens of Stene will become a laboratory for local dynamics.
The value of this site can be found in both the top-down as well as the bottom-up vision incorporated in the design. To this end, it is the ambition to maximize the efforts on different spheres of innovation: distribution, production, people and planet.
LLD MEASURES INCORPORATED ON THE SITE
The Gardens of Stene, offers the opportunity to showcase and implement LLD solutions and their effectiveness to mitigate climate change in more non-urban area.
Increasing buffer capacity: as coastal areas face a high risk from increasingly costly flooding as sea levels rise and water from the hinterland, a lot of attention is given to the maximising the buffer capacity of the polder. Situated in the fringe area of the city, the Gardens of Stene offer the last buffer and storage before water is led underground into the city. There are various possibilities to redesign the banks of the existing water structure and to introduce new ditches in order to increase ecological potential. The banks of the inner canals will be sloped to increase the buffer capacity. The eco-hydraulic study is used to determine the most suitable profiles.
Increasing this buffer capacity to store water, is thus closely linked with strengthening the hydro-physical structure of the area. Moreover, also the ecological value of the area can benefit from this enlarged buffer capacity.
New varieties: In a wet environment such as a polder, grasslands can be maintained by grazers. The use of animals for meat production is also an ideal starting point for reintroducing old West-Flanders local breeds into the production system. New/old varieties respond to a niche market and farmers can therefore benefit financially from the additional added value of the product. New crops may also enter this wetland area. Wet crops such as typha can play a role in the story of the bio-based economy. At the same time, these crops create a landscape transition in the wetland area.
On the other hand, the expansion of the buffer capacity may not over-rinse or wash crops away as water levels may rise. Finding the equilibrium between these two is necessary.
Water network: the network of all canals and gullies had and important water management function. As mentioned above, a higher water level, also in summer is crucial. In this way, the groundwater does not sink too deeply. To avoid them from clogging up, all canals must be maintained regularly. Extracting irrigation water from the surface is therefore not a desirable option, but must be obtained by harvesting rain. Depending on the groundwater levels, it is considered necessary to work with closed catchment basins.
Strenghten historical link with Polder Dike: The Polder Dike borders the Gardens of Stene. The current relief, as a barrier, ensures that the Polder Dike is not seen as a part of the Gardens of Stene. Yet the Polder dyke and the polder are historically inseparable. A number of minor interventions can restore and strengthen this link.
On the banks of the Provinciegeleed, the same strategy is applied as along the watercourses through the polder. Soothing the banks will enhance the landscape and ecological qualities of the area. The transition between the polder and the provincial gully will be restored.
By means of a platform on the bank, the Provinciegeleed is made accessible again. At this spot the water can be experienced again. This platform can also serve as a starting point for boats to explore the Provinciegeleed and the wider polder.
- Restoring the link with the village of Stene: Another feature of the Gardens of Stene, prioritises the interaction between the various actors The polder and the polder village are inextricably linked, but this historical link is spatially absent today. With the Gardens of Stene an attempt is made to restore this link and to strengthen it again. An important line of sight and gate to the polder is situated near 'Hoeve Sanders'. This link is the most interesting passage for the Green Ribbon to continue its route in the direction of De Schorre.
Experiencing the landscape: An element in which the experience of the landscape is accentuated is an educational viewpoint. This construction combines a 'bridge' function over the Provinciegeleed with a viewing cabin. From the viewpoint there is an overview of different facets of the food story. This both within the Gardens of Stene (water meadow, testator, allotment gardens,...) and also the view over the orthogonal production landscape of the Snaaskerskse polder. The educational part in this construction tells the story of food for Ostend.