We designed the new Mangrove City Park. Biodiversity and a nature inclusive design were key in this urban design. But in order to turn it into a public park a lot had to be changed.
Until the 1950s this area was an open water. Presumably, a good breeding ground for the growth of Mangroves was created by all the silt that flowed into the area from Otrobanda. After the ’50s, a mangrove “forest” was created in the Rifwater between the Benny Leito swimming pool and the Holiday Beach hotel.
According to the ABC report “Development of Reef Mangroves in Otrobanda” of July 2012 (commissioned by Amigu di Tera), the following mangrove species can be found in the area: Languncularia (white mangrove), Avicennia (black mangrove) and Rhizophora (red mangrove). Due to the uncontrolled influx of nutrients (read: discharge of waste water) into the area the mangroves in this area have unprecedented dimensions. Despite this negative connotation, it is a very special area with a diversity of species.
Nowhere else in the city center do we have such a high concentration of greenery of such a large size (about 275mx275m). Even before the area was transformed to the current park , a walk through the limited trails that exist was a special experience (provided you can block the stench). The disappearance of the noise of the city, the sound of the birds and the greenery makes an oasis of peace in the city.
Stopping the pollution
But in order to turn it into a public park, in which the above qualities are enhanced, the area had to be remediated and the supply of pollution (discharge of sewage) had to be stopped. Ending the discharge of sewage into the area was one of the first objectives. This was not part of our project, but there was a temporary solution created to mitigate the pollution. The new sewage system is nearing completion and this will guarantee that sewage water will not be discharged in to the area. In May 2022 the water in the park had reached European swimming water quality.
As it is a public space we wanted to make this a co-design process. The design process was organized through a series of workshops with all known stakeholders. With the first workshop it was the goal to define the requirements of the project. From there we continued the interactive process until the specification drawings were finished.
Since the main objective of this project was enhance the water quality and free the area from mosquitoes, the engineers were the first to start. Based on a simulation they were able to proof that the water would be refreshed within 14 days merely by the flow of water due to tidal changes. To make the flow of water possible they had create a minimum amount of canals. We added to those canals to create interesting routes for walking and kayaking through the park.
You can read more info about the Mangrove City Park in the brochure.