Sciences shop plunges into the Waterleliegracht

Fifteen years ago the first ecological urban neighbourhood in Amsterdam was created on the former terrain of the municipal water piping system. This neighbourhood, called GWL (Municipal Water System), has several specific sustainability starting points integrated in the design of the buildings, the landscape design and the water management design, including the ditch, the rainwater system and the sewage system. The 1600 people living here are a relatively satisfied and happy neighbourhood in Amsterdam. They have a history of designing and managing their own living environment and know well how to manage and negotiate their wishes and ideas with municipal policy.

In 2012 the association concluded that the Waterleliegracht was not well maintained, overgrown with common reed, unclear water and also unattractive for people sitting nearby at the terrace of Cafe Amsterdam in the centre of the neighbourhood. The ditch did not represent the original ecological goals anymore. Also it was unclear who was really responsible. In order to be sure about the situation and to find out more about future possibilities the GWL neighbourhood association asked the Science Shop of Wageningen UR to find out about the quality of the ditch water in their neighbourhood, the level of biodiversity and the possibilities for creating a more attractive ditch. This resulted in a one year research project aiming for more knowledge and two or three future scenarios for the Waterleliegracht.

Findings and recommendations of this Science Shop project can be found in the report’s summaries (in English and Dutch) and in the full report (in Dutch).