Islands of Polders
Polder of Islands

Design Studio R&D,
Urbanism, TU Delft

Autumn 2015
Student Project
Urban Research
Luisa Calabrese

I studied the city of Dordrecht by means of spatial models. The complexity of this middle sized city is formed by the dikescape and its infrastructure. On the one hand, the dikescape can be perceived as a peculiarity of Dordrecht. The city is located on an island in the Dutch delta and has therefore an unique position in the Netherlands. Beautiful nature can be found along the Merwede and the Biesbosch. Without the dikes, Dordrecht could not exist. Thus, the dikescape forms the ‘island of polders’. However, the dikescape can also be perceived as a constraint, dividing the city in separated fragments. The dikesystem was overtaken by a road system and buildings were created on it. Therefore, barriers were formed. The dikescape created a ‘polder of islands’, existing out of segregated parts. Finally, the dikescape of Dordrecht also has some potentials to increase the absorption capacity of the city and connect various separated parts. Along the dikes and the highways are various unused and unaccessible spaces. These spaces could in the future be transformed into public space and could add some qualities to the dike system which is dominated by cars. The empty green spaces along the ring provide potential to involve more functions and hence an opportunity to densify. In the future a totally different setting of public space could be possible in Dordrecht.