SITE DISCRIPTION - The Victorialaan is based on the so-called Oosteroever or East Bank of Ostend. Oosteroever, a former industrial and harbour area, is currently in full development and will be developed into a centre of housing, small industrial and business activities. Characterized by its former activities, the Victorialaan forms the ideal context for this kind of mixed-use (urban) development.
In the early phase of the project, a masterplan was set up and drew the general ambitions for the reconversion of the site. In this reconversion, it was important to preserve the relation with its industrial and maritime history.
Moreover, the masterplan also expressed its clear ambition to conceive the area as climate change adaptive, using blue and green infrastructure. The blue infrastructure, integrated in the design of the street was nicknamed: City River. The combination of a blue, city river, and the green structure will counter the urban heat island effect on a nature friendly manner.
LLD MEASURES INCORPORATED ON THE SITE
- Promenade and side pavement: The pavement is semi-permeable, lifting up the climate resilience of the site in case of heavy rain. The pavement and permeable pipes of the sewage system (see below) aim to infiltrate as much water as possible to diminish the impact of rainfall on the sewage system running inland where flood risks are high. A second important benefit of the infiltration of rainwater, is replenishing the amount of ground water. A lager volume of groundwater makes it easier to deal with drought. On the other hand, the salinization of ground water, related to the rise of the sea level, can be counterbalanced with the addition of fresh groundwater. As the balance between both types of water - fresh and brackish water - is fragile so adding groundwater can have a profound effect on the balance.
- Sewage system: Periods of heavy rainfall, which will increase due to climate change, are a major challenge for the present sewage system. With the installation of permeable pipes, the current sewage system is adapted to longer mediocre periods of heavy short or longer lasting rainfalls. Moreover, the pipes of the entire site are all interconnected and placed horizontal. This connectivity (with e.g. H. Baelskaai, Fortstraat, Liefkemorrestraat) maximizes the infiltration even more.
This potential increase in rainfall resulted in the ambition to buffer a shower occurring once in 20 year. In case of an overflow, security measures are taken into account. Two pipes were added to direct the water to the nearby docks, while an extra pipe was attached and connected to the classic sewage system. The possible overflow of water in the entire system will be monitored.
Buffer capacity: In order to meet the ambitions (20 years shower) to construct a highly resilient adaptive site, a buffer of 500m³ will be integrated. This will be done by integrating an underground buffer of 300m³ and 200m³ above ground. The water runoff from the street will be captured in this above ground buffer and overflow into the underground buffer.
Continuous water (stream and buffer) above ground: A second water related ambition aims to realise a continuous water stream above ground with educational purpose. The educational aspect, as the creation of rising awareness, is an important feature of SCAPE. The design of the city river offers the possibility to visually showcase dry and wet periods: in cases of heavy rainfall, the fluctuation of water is highly visible, while the stream in dry periods will be smaller. To fill this buffer capacity, the interconnected area should be big enough. That is way the Victorialaan is interlinked with the Fortstraat and the water systems of the various developments along the Victorialaan.
Green spaces: The blue infrastructure will be implemented together with green spaces. The vegetation and green spaces, integrated on the site, were selected thoroughly to mitigate the so-called Urban Heat Island effects and take care of the human thermal comfort. In this context, the vegetation is directly integrated into the design of the site and offers not only an extra feature but also enhances the site resilience. All vegetation will be adapted to the local and coastal climate. Moreover, the green infrastructure – on a functional level – will separate the redevelopment area from the industrial site on both sites of the Victorialaan. Furthermore these green spaces will be connected to the new developments on the Dr. Eduard Moreauxlaan. In this way, the green areas are interconnected and can divert people to have a look or walk towards the protected dune area nearby.