Rijnvliet Edible Neighborhood (REN) is a new residential community near Utrecht – the fastest growing city in the Netherlands. It is part of the Leidsche Rijn expansion project, designed to deliver 1000 new dwellings and demonstrate Utrecht’s ‘Healthy Urban Living’ strategy created to provide more and better green public spaces to facilitate climate adaptation, increase social equity and inclusivity.
Using ideas submitted by residents, Rijnvliet is implementing an ecologically resilient 150,000 m2 urban food forest with over 200 species of (edible) flora that doubles up as green infrastructure offering recreational benefits and ecosystem services, including water management, reduction of heat, and cleaning the air. A food forest of this size in the middle of a residential area is unique in Europe! In addition to the central food forest, as many edible plants, shrubs and trees as possible will be planted in the district.
The urban food forest forms the core of the neighbourhood. In contrast to a natural forest, it predominantly comprises food-producing species. The food forest is composed of multiple layers of trees, shrubs and plants, forming an integrated and resilient ecosystem. The different vegetation types and species attract insects and organisms, reinforcing each other. In the central part of Rijnvliet, all these layers come together.
Rijnvliet, Edible Neighborhood breaks new ground in urban planning by using participatory design to co-create a residential neighbourhood around accessible urban agriculture. Residents will do the food forest maintenance under the supervision of a forester. In January 2022, Rijnvliet won a special international award: the Innovation in Politics Award 2021.
Landscape Architecture: Felixx
Other designers involved in the design of landscape:
De Zwarte Hond, Xavier San Giorgi – AE Food Forestry Development
Project Location: Rijnvliet, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Design year: 2017
Year Built: Ongoing