Start of construction of as many as 770 homes in Cartesius Utrecht

Marja Appelman (Director of Housing Construction at the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations) and Susanne Schilderman (Alderman at the Municipality of Utrecht), together with the Cartesius development consortium consisting of Ballast Nedam Development and MRP, symbolically inaugurated the start of construction of the second phase of Cartesius Utrecht. This phase of the area development will include a total of 770 new homes. Including social rental apartments of housing corporation Portaal and the unique apartments above the monumental CAB of CBRE Investment Management. The CAB itself will be developed into the “Living Room of the Neighborhood” with a supermarket, restaurants, the CAB Lab for research and experimentation and other facilities.

Working visit Director of Housing Construction Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations

Prior to the symbolic start of construction moment, Marja Appelman of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations paid a working visit to Cartesius in Utrecht. The area developers Ballast Nedam Development and MRP showed the director around together with Alderman Schilderman. The director also entered into discussions with various stakeholders in the area including mid-rent residents, NS Stations, real estate investors CBRE Investment Management and Achmea Real Estate and housing corporation Portaal.

She also visited the unique Cartesius Craamkamer, the place where trees and greenery are temporarily stored to be (re)placed in the area later. The Craamkamer is in operation before, during and after construction in order to preserve as much mature greenery as possible and eventually reposition it. Cartesius Utrecht will have its own Cartesius Park. A green oasis in the middle of the neighborhood that connects to a Green Loop around Cartesius. This loop will also connect other parts of the city to this new urban district. At least 30% of the district will be green to promote climate adaptation and biodiversity in the area. Eijkelboom talked more about this topic during the visit.

Circa 3000 duurzame woningen direct naast Station Zuilen

Cartesius will eventually house over 3,000 homes in an easily accessible inner-city location. Currently there is an acute shortage of housing in the Netherlands, these homes will thus bring relief. The realization of the second phase (770 homes) is characterized by a large number of different housing types and segments from social to free sector rental and owner-occupied homes. In the overall plan, room has been made for much variety and thus a wide range of diverse target groups, creating an inclusive society. Care has also been taken to ensure that the urban district will soon have a good mix of different housing needs, enabling everyone to find a suitable home at every stage of life and to make a residential career within the district. Phases two through five, with over 2,500 homes, are being developed by Ballast Nedam Development and MRP.

The homes in Cartesius have limited energy consumption. The energy for hot water and heating is generated by a collective soil energy source and are equipped with solar panels. The district is car-free, has a low parking standard and sustainable mobility is a matter of course. Every new resident will receive a free introductory subscription for shared mobility. There will be spacious and comfortable bicycle parking facilities and good bicycle and walking paths. Thanks to the new bicycle tunnel under the railroad, Cartesius residents will be able to reach the historic city center quickly after completion. Cartesius residents will also receive membership in the Cartesius area association for all kinds of (joint) activities.


A leading collaboration in area development

Cartesius Utrecht is being developed by MRP and Ballast Nedam Development in collaboration with the City of Utrecht and NS Stations. The urban plan and landscape architecture is by Mecanoo, and the various subareas are under architecture by Mecanoo, Paul de Ruiter Architects and Eva Architecten. Construction is being realized by both Ballast Nedam West and Heddes Bouw & Ontwikkeling. Each subarea has a courtyard garden connected to Cartesius Park with beautiful walkways and seating elements for meeting. The courtyard garden is a biotope designed in collaboration with the city ecologist and Mecanoo for landscape architecture. Native plants were carefully selected to provide privacy for residents and relaxation for passersby. The green facades are jointly owned to ensure that everything is well maintained.

The new CAB, designed by Mecanoo, will be the eye-catcher and identity carrier of Cartesius in Utrecht with functions focused on healthy food, community, exercise, meaning & relaxation. The CAB aims to activate the environment so that it becomes an attractive meeting place for residents and visitors. The CAB is therefore called the 'Living Room of the Neighborhood'. The monumental substructure in combination with the ultramodern apartment building above it, aims to become an internationally prominent ensemble.

Cartesius Healthy Urban Living

In and around Cartesius, people can live harmoniously with each other, the city and nature. Cartesius, inspired by the scientific theory of Blue Zones, will be a vibrant, sustainable and green urban neighborhood. A place to recharge. Blue Zones are areas of the world where people live healthier and happier lives for longer. During the working visit, the 'Covenant Building a Healthy Neighborhood' was signed by the Cartesius consortium, consisting of area developers Ballast Nedam Development and MRP and the Municipality of Utrecht, NS Stations, UMC Utrecht, Hogeschool Utrecht, University of Utrecht, housing corporation Portaal, Achmea Real Estate and CBRE Investment Management. This covenant will monitor the extent to which the interventions in the living environment at Cartesius Utrecht have an impact on physical and mental health of the residents. At a later time, this monitoring program can be scaled up to other area developments in the Netherlands. The World Health Organization (WHO), during the Economic Board Utrecht (EBU) trade mission in Copenhagen, agreed to include Cartesius Utrecht as a project in the 'Health in the Well-Being Economy' program as part of 'WHO Healthy Cities'. This development is fully in line with the Utrecht Heart of Health regional positioning. Utrecht has the ambition as a region to contribute as much as possible to a healthy world.