The former Market of Gavere mainly served as a parking lot. The pavement was diverse and in very poor condition, and there was no space to meet or stay. Pedestrians only had a meagre sidewalk along the facades…
In the redesign of the public space, and especially in a Market, a balance must be found between often very different topics. The Market should be flexible in use and experience: there should be space for the weekly market, fairs and other events, terraces, for meeting and staying, greenery, for (bicycle) parking, loading and unloading zones, for games and playing…
In the new Market, the space is not ‘divided’ (as before) but ‘shared’, making the use multifunctional.
The creation of such a plan is not done overnight. There was a huge participatory process beforehand with participation evenings, design workshops and information markets in which the residents and traders of the Market, the surrounding streets, and all Gaverlingen were involved.
Here too, there is a more ‘refined’ approach than simply providing some ‘flower beds’. The concept consists of a combination of perennial plants, supplemented with ornamental grasses, flower bulbs, multi-stemmed shrubs, and some solitary trees. These not only provide a very diverse and attractive image but also a high image quality in every season. In addition, they also contribute to biodiversity as there is always enough bloom and nectar available for butterflies, bees, and other insects from January to deep into autumn. All the imposed requirements were also met regarding buffering and infiltration of rainwater. There is 1400m² of greenery with a total of 310m³ of rainwater buffering. All the water that falls on the pavement flows gravitationally to the nearest plant bed. The water is therefore buffered and has the opportunity to infiltrate, and the trees and plants are also regularly supplied with fresh water.
The former pavement was very diverse and extremely uncomfortable (resulting in people falling). The level differences were flattened, and a very comfortable square floor in European granite was provided, which is very durable in use and maintenance.
Part of the square could be made car-free by introducing a new parking system in the center of Gavere. A leveled and multifunctional space with an integrated water feature is provided on this part of the square. This water feature is permanently fed with fresh and always available spring water from the lower-lying fountain (a protected monument, spring water originating from the Sint-Amandus spring). This means that the fountain will always provide cooling, even if it doesn’t rain for weeks. In addition to cooling, this part of the Market is also a space for playing and meeting, and promoting social life.
Landscape Architecture: Sweco Belgium
Completion Year: 2023
Photography: Eva Vermeylen
Streetview may show the condition before the intervention