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De Groene Loper: Van Dichtbij Verder op de Kaart

The Groene Loper always intended to be more than ‘just’ the tunnelling of the A2 motorway near Maastricht. The development to be realised above ground was not a consequence of the tunnel construction but rather a goal in itself. To create a pleasant living environment between the districts of Wyckerpoort, Wittevrouwenveld and Scharn, to reconnect these districts through green public space that invites people to move around and meet each other. 

The ‘Groene Uitlopers’ were added during the course of the project. The Groene Loper alone was no longer enough: its influence should be felt even deeper in the neighbourhoods and ensure a quality improvement in living and life there too.

It is the year 2022. The tunnel has been in use for several years now, and construction work above ground is in its final phase. The Groene Loper is used by many different target groups and is embodied in the daily ritual of many Maastricht people. The corona crisis has put the spotlight on the Groene Loper as a pleasant space to exercise, walk and meet. Not just for local residents, it has become a destination for people from all over Maastricht. Many new residents have moved in, a completely new neighbourhood has been added whose last houses have not even been built yet. Home values in Maastricht East have risen significantly, plausibly due to the construction of the Groene Loper. Neighbourhoods seem to be brightening up. Studies on health effects, movement patterns, perception well-being have been done or are ongoing.

There are places nearby where the Green Carpet could have even more impact. Where people say they have had little inconvenience, they could still benefit more from the added value of the Groene Loper. Where social cohesion could still grow, for example among new residents. Our own follow-up survey (2020-2021) shows this. What can the ‘Groene Uitlopers’ or other actions/programmes still mean in this regard? With the end of Projectbureau A2 in sight, it is time to take stock and initiate the final actions to make the Groene Loper an even more widely shared success: a place by and for everyone. Commissioned by Ballast Nedam Development and Projectbureau A2, Dear Hunter will get to work on this.

Client: Ballast Nedam Development, Projectbureau A2
Date: 2022-2023
Photography: Elodie Ledure, Jonathan Vos

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Image: Dear Hunter doing fieldwork at the Groene Loper, 2015.

What and how?

Dear Hunter has been executing car topological research in the area for several years to qualitatively assess its livability. A final ‘measurement’ will be realised in autumn 2022 and spring 2023 through a.o. an intensive fieldwork period of two months.

Ongoing or recently completed surveys provide valuable insights, especially when related to each other and to ‘the field’. A first successful test of this took place in 2021, when INDIGO’s measurements were provided with qualitative context by linking them to Dear Hunter’s observations. This provided insight into why some residents or neighbourhoods did or did not yet take full advantage of the Groene Loper. Dear Hunter will compile these and any other studies, link them to each other and to its own qualitative (cartopological) research. By living and working on location from the by now familiar containers for two months, Dear Hunter will let the spatial experience (cartographic registrations) in combination with social experience (anthropological participatory observations) form the basis of ‘De Groene Loper, Van Dichtbij Verder in Kaart Gebracht’. Interviews with residents, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders will be brought together with (impact) measurements and scientific data.

Dear Hunter will provide a ‘roadmap’ that the municipality of Maastricht, residents and other parties can work with. This roadmap can be seen as an advice containing both spatial and social/societal objectives. It is a helping hand to the ‘A2 neighbourhood’, including the new residents but also the residents of Wyckerpoort, Wittevrouwenveld and Scharn, to ensure that the neighbourhoods in themselves and the area as a whole also develop the necessary sense of belonging.

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