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Name EVA Lanxmeer
Location Culemborg
Country Netherlands
Office A dynamic interdisciplinary process
Client E.V.A. foundation
Completion 2000 start building, 2005 end building
Fig.1 Map.jpg
<googlemap version="0.9" lat="52.09" lon="5.349" type="satellite" zoom="9" width="300" height="250">


Core Question 1: In how far does this project reveal your concept of future landscapes?

In our opinion, future landscape should be eco friendly and sustainable mingled with profund public participation. While it also should have aesthetic values and various kinds of spaces to afford users' recreational demands. EVA Lanxmeer just has all the characters as we mention above. So we choose this built project as the future landscape.

Landscape and/or urban context


  • Located in the town of Culemborg in Netherlands
  • Culemborg is in the center of the Netherlands and situated in the south of Lek River (the map is shown in Fig.1_Map.jpg‎)

Overall character:

  • Environmentally-friendly-housing development
  • Ecotown
  • Sustainability: Sustainability plays an important role in this project. The organizations of EVA Lanxmeer use many methods to achieve the principle, like using sustainable materials, building many recreation facilities. Among these recreation facilities, water system is one of the most important part.
  • Genius Loci: The structure of the urban plan is mainly based on the record of the existing landscape. The polder Lanxmeer covers various historic items. Firstly, an ancient river bed crosses the area. Also, it covers archaeological findings from the Roman era. Not only to preserve this landscape, but also to use the natural conditions for (short periods, seasonal) water storage special attention was paid for the implementation of the landscape elements in the project.
  • Community participation
  • Creative design process: bottom-up. The Lanxmeer project was initiated by the E.V.A. Foundation in 1994. The Lanxmeer concept was developed by a group of scientists having diverse backgrounds. Some of them were already keen to settle in Lanxmeer. The network grew quickly and a group of future inhabitants was created and regularly met to co-create the foundations of the project. In 1996, 80 families had already subscribed, having a positive impact on the elected representatives of Culemborg municipality. The future inhabitants participated in several workshops; additionally an Urban Development Plan was drafted in dialogue with (future) residents and users.

Following a ‘sustainable development’ training course and being aware of the wide interest of possible future residents, Culemborg municipality took interest in the project. Today, Lanxmeer is a co-production of Culemborg municipality and E.V.A. Foundation.

History and dynamics:

  • Culemborg was received city rights in 1315.
  • In Joannes Blaeu's map of 1649, Culemborg remains entirely enclosed by walls behind its city moat-like encircling canals. The moated castle stands outside the city walls. Houses present a united front along streets and the two canals that cut the city in three sections, but they all face gardens behind, and market gardens are plentiful within the city walls.
  • In 1995, Culemborg was one of the cities which were temporarily evacuated because of the risk of flooding. (the map is shown in Fig.2_Old_map_of_Culemborg_in_1649.jpg)

Cultural/social/political context

  • Brief explanation of culture, political economy, legal framework

Culture and politics

  • Nowadays people in Netherlands are fighting for spaces. What to do with it? Should we build houses, make nature or place companies? The Netherland is quite small, so we try to think about the choices before changing the landscape and it’s functions. At the moment are people getting more aware of nature and environment. People want space for recreation in a beautiful landscape that is formed by culture and nature. They would like to be more sustainable, but don’t know how to change their habits. The government is trying to influence these habits by stimulating several kinds of projects. Like separation of waste and recycling, or green energy projects.
  • The Eva lanxmeer project was stimulated to develope in certain ways. They got money from the German Ministry for Education, Science, Technology and Research because they chose Eva Lanxmeer as an European demonstration project. The Dutch Ministry for Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment provided subsidies and the project also got some stimulation funds for Architecture.
  • It is also because people are getting more aware of nature, food production, energy systems and water problems, that there is a mark for this kind of sustainable housing projects. It is a good example to inspiration on the citizen’s initiatives.
  • In Netherlands there are generally spoken 2 models of decision making:

referee model, in which one person or group decides a matter when there is a conflict, this model places the problem at the opposing individuals and interest groups. interaction model, in which all “partners” in the process have to agree with the decision, in this model the decision makers are the cause the problems. With the Eva lanxmeer project the second model for decision making was used. All partners had to declare their willingness at certain points. This participation model is growing in Netherlands, A thing of which we think that should be developed and improved in the future.

Spatial analysis of area/project/plan

  • What are the main structural features?

Lanxmeer consists of 250 dwellings, 40.000 m2 of offices and business units, an urban ecological farm, an information centre, wellness centre, congress centre, bars, restaurants and a hotel.(1) (The layout is shown as picture Eva-1)

  • How has it been shaped?

It incorporates many of the principles of high environmental quality and ecotown but its principal originality is the promotion of the constant participation of the inhabitants. Indeed, this area was designed and conducted with representatives of future residents in a creative bottom-up process . It is often regarded as a model for several of its aspects. (2)

  • Were there any critical decisions?

The Lanxmeer ecological project is meant to promote sustainable development by being an example of integrated approach towards sustainable planning. The chosen approach is to integrate technology/innovation ('hardware') and the environment and behavior ('software') to achieve preservation of natural resources in everyday life. The final Lanxmeer project programme contains six areas which form the Lanxmeer coherent and integrated Eco framework: energy, water, landscape, mobility, chain management and communication and education. Moreover the municipality set ‘integration of functions’ as a one of the crucial criteria for the district.(3)

Analysis of program/function

  • What are the main functional characteristics?

Lanxmeer integrates different urban functions, providing good equilibrium between social, economic, cultural, educational, recreational and sustainable interests.

  • Energy: sustainable energy systems - striving towards zero-energy balance: energy production + minimised consumption of fossil energy sources; energy production from waste and sewage, energy-independent dwelling, not being connected to the grid
  • Water: integrated water management system and local biological water treatment; rainwater for toilets and washing machine; the sewage is used for biogas production. Water system is shown as Eva-2.
  • Materials: sustainable building programme; the chain management objective is to close down material cycle in terms of origin, transport, production, use, reuse and recycling.
  • Land use: sustainable city planning - good balance between urban land use and green spaces, public and private gardens
  • Transport: support public transport and limit car use
  • Food: ecological agriculture, biological food, contact with nature
  • Social: co-production and inhabitants involvement in the building process; variety of dwellings according to architecture, size and price leading to social diversity
  • Integration of different functions: living, working, recreation, education, social etc.(4)

  • How have they been expressed or incorporated?
  • Energy: annual energy use of 50 GJ / household (approx. 1250 m3 gas and 2500 kWh electricity) / year; mainly RES: small Canadian wind turbines installed; biomass station for power and heat generation; most houses dispose of solar panels for electricity and solar collectors for hot water(as shown in Eva-3); excellent insulation. Where entire roofs are covered by solar panels, electricity is fed in the public grid during summer and partly in spring and autumn. In order to keep track of electricity use most residents take part in a monitoring program.
  • Water & sewage: separate water delivery system: rainwater running off roofs (as shown in Eva-4) is led to retention pools (as shown in Eva-5) by a drainage system; rainwater running off road surfaces is collected in a sewer system flowing into ditches; waste water from kitchen sinks and washing machines is collected in another sewer system, treated and lead into ditches; waste water from toilets is collected separately, fluids are filtered and the solid component is used for biogas production.
  • Transport: fast and attractive scheme of bicycle routes and foot paths; walking distance to Culemborg central train and bus station; limited car use; approx. 55 households share a fleet of seven cars: 0.7 cars/household; car free district: parking places situated at the edges of the housing area; cars allowed for delivery only.
  • Social: The bottom up approach of involving the intending residents in all aspects of the project’s conception, planning, design and construction is showing positive results in terms of awareness and sustainable behavior. Inhabitants are organized in a residents' association which takes care of the maintenance of the area. In the neighborhood, there are many forms of cooperation, focused on subjects such as the maintenance of nature, energy, education and the urban ecological farm. While it may have taken more time than a developer led project, EVA Lanxmeer is paying clear dividends in providing aesthetically pleasing houses for living and creating a community that will work socially and ecologically with employment on site.
  • Land use: built according to the "pergola" plan meaning smooth transitions between private and common (no walls nor fences), cultivating food in the area for the residents, limit of transport and trade beside participation of the people on the farm; live-work-recreate close to each other; 4 inter-connected main green areas communicating with private gardens, municipal land and the urban farm; integrated functions: the need for work places, manufacturing, food production, community areas, and private and government houses.
  • Materials: dwellings are built using sustainable construction materials.

Analysis of design/planning process

  • How was the area/project/plan formulated and implemented?

Formulation of the plan

  • In the beginning Eva lanxmeer was just a concept made by scientists. In 1994 they started the Eva Foundation as an ecological center for Education, Information and Advice. The people in this foundation where from a lot of different disciplines, like architecture, landscape architecture, agriculture, healthcare, energy and art. They wanted sustainable planning by combining technology and innovation with environment and behavior. They wanted to realize an example project for an ecological and sustainable way of urbanization.

Implementation of the plan

  • Not long after the Eva foundation existed more and more future inhabitants got into this network. They started as a group of people who had no power, but got the project into realization by working their way up toward realization. You could call it Bottom-up approach. That means that the project has not implemented from the top (government). After some while when they saw the importance of sustainability, the Culemborg municipality got involved with the project. The urbanization plan was made by organizing workshops, ateliers en master classes. In this process interdisciplinary people, future inhabitants and the municipality where active.

  • Were there any important consultations/collaborations?
  • The most important in this process are public consultations, by which the public could have input on the project. By publishing what was going to happen they give people information, also the people of the rest of the city. They also consulted the interest groups on their opinion and used participation to involve the these groups in the making of the plans. This improved the public involvement, transparency of the project, understanding and also the efficiency of the project. That is what we would like to see more in the future.

Analysis of use/users

  • How is the area/project/plan used and by whom?

The project is was used by EVA foundation members and some local people including some scientists and engineers in Culemborg.

  • Is the use changing? Are there any issues?

The use hasn't been changed yet.

Core Question 2: What is the role of landscape architecture in this project?

Landscape architecture is the carrier of the environment. It offer the local people comfortable recreational place and the energy resource. Besides it also give chances for local people to speak out their ideas of their own ideal landscape and realize it.

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