By Risa Putri
As the world population keeps increasing, every country is facing the same crucial problems: decrease in residential land and increase in pollution. The key to solve those problems is by creating eco-friendly town that could be the place for people to live in, also the place where waste and pollution is well maintained. It is Amersfoort, a city located 15 miles northeast of Utrecht, that has been one of a pioneer in the development of eco-friendly town. Amersfoort also considered as “one of the greenest cities in Europe” and often becomes the role model of an ideal eco-town where people can combine working and living in sustainable environment.
Amersfoort, located in the northeastern part of Utrecht.
The history of Amersfoort dates back to 1981 when it is designated as a growth city. The development of Amersfoort consists of three new suburbs: Kattenbroek, Nieuwland, and Vathorst. Each of them has its own characteristic, but carries similarities in terms of good public transportation, eco-friendly building material, waste and water management, also extensive use of solar panel. The three area is well connected to Amersfoort city center, even Vathorst has its own railway station.
The three suburbs are situated in the northern part of Amersfoort city center.
In advance, what makes Amersfoort becomes a special case in developing eco-town? The speciality lies on several policies made by the government to achieve high standards of sustainable development. For example, motorcycles and cars are banned from the city center of Amersfoort, but there is a high quality of cycle routes and footpaths along the motorway that encourage people to cycle or walk rather than taking cars. Public transportation also plays significant role in minimizing the use of motor vehicles, such as the distance from every home to the bus stop has been set to maximum of 400 m. Also, the facilities are clustered to ensure that they are located in a short and convenient walking distance.
A principle bicycle route to Vathorst. Expected intensities in 2015: 15,000 bicycles per day.
Sign of bicycle street, encourage people to cycle rather than drive (above). Platforms have been constructed in the intersection of the bike path and side-roads for cyclists’ safety (below).
Moreover, the layouts of the streets are designated in such a clever way in order to make people choose bicycle over car. The main boulevard is wide and give a sense of freedom. Meanwhile, the roads in residential area are narrow, so that people are having more problems if they are getting around by car.
Boulevard in Amersfoort offers a wide area for cycling (above). The residential area has narrow road, creating more trouble for people who use car (below).
Are all of the policies above enough for building an eco-town? Of course,not. Energy and waste management are very crucial issues in the development of modern-day city. To solve this case, Amersfoort and the three suburbs install extensive amount of photovoltaic (PV) panel, propose district heating through waste incineration, and use sustainable materials for high quality construction. Waste is storage underground to maintain a neat and nice street, so people will have a good time cycling around the town.
Widely use of solar panel in residential area, Nieuwland.
From all of the information given on previous paragraphs, it is obvius why Amersfoort is choosen to be one of the greenest city in Europe and becomes a pioneer in creating eco-town. It is expected that the development of eco-town is soon to be realized in every country for the good of the citizen and its environment.