Living along the tracks: mobile and green surrounding the major cities

Major cities in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) are struggling to cope with the rising demand for housing. This also increases pressure on their surrounding regions. in collaboration with Deutsche Bahn, the state government of NRW has initiated the programme "Bauland an der Schiene" which aims to identify and develop the potential of existing train stations in surrounding urban regions. The local governments are actively supported during the planning phase, in particular to develop urban typologies with a higher level of density than normal. Commissioned by the municipality of Havixbeck, De Zwarte Hond has now presented the first design for the region of Münsterland.

The proposed 20-hectare site is located in Havixbeck, 15 km west of Münster, between the station, town centre and Havixbeck castle, and accommodates 700 residences. Alongside single family dwellings, semi-detached houses and row houses, there are apartment blocks at different locations clustered around compact courtyards. Other functions will also be added. For example a daycare centre is planned here for the first phase of the development.

Although there is a height different of 13 metres across the site, the rain water management will only use ditches, troughs and temporary water storage areas. The resulting green landscape provides additional heat protection in the summer. The north side of the site includes a 40-metre-wide parking lane that connects the station area with Havixbeck.

The station will be expanded into a mobility hub and adapted for electric modes of transport. Additionally, research will be conducted into how the existing station could be transformed into a multipurpose building. To make waiting more pleasant for passengers, the surrounding public space will incorporate food-producing plants and fruit trees to create an edible landscape at Havixbeck station.

The municipality’s building commission has unanimously approved the design. in particular, the strategies for sustainability and Havixbeck’s innovation potential were well received, and will be further developed.