Central Innovation District

Den Haag, NL

How can we double a city centre while integrally steering on quality?

Central Innovation District

The Hague’s economic engine is the Central Innovation District (CID) – the area between and around the Central, HS and Laan van NOI stations. The city wants increased economic growth and innovation here, which requires a huge densification project.

© Thuring, Fotoburo

The CID must become just as urban as the city centre. It must become a place where quality of stay is more important than accessibility, where everyone becomes a pedestrian or cyclist and where the car is a guest. Just as we now find it inconceivable that the Binnenhof was once a car park, so in the future we will look back with amazement at the current layout of the CID.

Buzz Zone: highest density, most people on the street, active plinth, small grain

Hush Zone: broader range of housing concepts, space for climate adaptation and recreation

Fizz Zone: space for hanging out; room for work and ‘making’, and a high tolerance level with regard to nuisance

Urban living, working and recreation

With this desired transition as its foundation, the structural vision makes the CID an attractive area for working, living and recreation – a central environment that doubles the scope of the current centre. In order to ensure that quiet living environments and dynamic living-work environments can co-exist, streets and building blocks are given a profile: ‘Buzz’, ‘Hush’ and ‘Fizz’, or a combination of them.

Major interventions are planned at strategic locations to increase the quality of stay. The focus is on the connecting axes between the stations and the historic centre.

Meeting, connecting and plinths

Walking and cycling city

Energy transition

Climate adaptation

The character of the different neighbourhoods is reinforced and not changed everywhere

Space on the ground floor

Hush: Weteringkade now and in the future

Buzz: Prins Bernhard viaduct now and in the future

Fizz: the Trekvlietplein now and in the future

In the CID, the city actively focuses on quality in this large-scale area development. That directing role is facilitated by the Quality Plan, describing the cohesion, qualities and tasks for the CID. The plan safeguards integral environmental quality. Not only is this important to determine what the area will look like later, but also to ensure how it will operate properly and remain future-proof. Based on current The Hague characteristics (3 The Hague key qualities) and tasks for the future (7 quality tasks for the CID), cohesion turns into the primary qualitative ambition for the area. The CID is approached as an integrated area development, with plans and developments being considered part of their context. Separate projects are coordinated accordingly; each construction plan should contribute to improving the city and specifically to improving the public domain.

The Quality Plan actively steers toward an integrated quality improvement of the CID. Therefore, it is important to not only uphold the distinct The Hague identity, but also to strengthen it where possible. She defines three The Hague key qualities: ‘I. Eternal The Hague Beauty’, ‘II. Long lines connect the city’ and ‘III. Individual identities per sub-area’. Each development in the CID needs to relate to this context.

The Hague key qualities
Because of its existing context, the CID is not a tabula rasa: the existing (visual) quality of current neighbourhoods will be further expanded. Developments are utilized to strengthen the individual identity of neighbourhoods and offer different types of housing and facilities. The characteristics of the eight sub-areas and program serve as a starting point. Identities are described in area profiles based on cultural history. In addition, there is a distinction between areas that are highly or less dynamic, each with their own tasks.

Area profile: Laakhavens was an inner city industrial complex with large-scale and rough building volumes

Area profile: Laakhavens is a post-industrial and former port area

Area profile: Laakhavens turns into… College Campus

To ensure spatial quality in the CID, inspire and balance the ratio of initiatives to what already exists, statements are being made on the following three levels:
‘What does it look like?’ This question directs visual quality plans per area that will be drafted at a later moment.
‘How does it work?’ and ‘How is it future-proof?’ These questions direct the area-specific visions and development memos that will be drafted at a later moment.

The direction of the developments is determined by the quality tasks which will cohesively create a beautiful, liveable and future-proof dense piece of the city around the three large stations in The Hague. This will cultivate an urban area that is pleasant for living, working and staying. For newcomers in the area, ánd for existing inhabitants and users.

Central Innovation District

The Central Innovation District (CID) is the area in The Hague between and around the three stations: Central, HS and Laan van NOI. The CID is the economic heart of The Hague and the region and has enormous development opportunities. De Zwarte Hond consecutively drew up the structural vision and then the quality plan for the area. Some 20,000 homes and 25,000 jobs will be added in the area. This requires an intensive and multiple use of space and a public space that invites encounters and exchanges. At the same time, it has to contribute to the mobility transition, healthy, biodiversity and climate adaptation. The structural vision provides for the design of a colourful mix of housing, work and facilities. This not only produces a lively and attractive street scene, but also ensures that different functions can benefit from each other, cross-fertilisation takes place and a high level of facilities is created.

Qualitative zoning like ‘hush’, ‘buzz’, ‘fizz’,  gives direction to initiatives. The developments and qualitive tasks are described in the context of the Quality Plan. Starting from the The Hague key qualities and defined quality tasks, the plan facilitates the densification transformation of the CID with more cohesion and resilient quality.


Central Innovation District
Den Haag, NL
Gemeente Den Haag
Research, Urban Design
More info