Mecanoo designs “healthy living zone” for Utrecht

Dutch architect Mecanoo has been selected to create a residential development dedicated to healthy living in the Netherlands.

The Cartesiusdriehoek project in Utrecht will contain 2,600 homes, a central park, a school, supermarket and other amenities.

The development is designed to be the world’s "first urban blue zone", a healthy living development where residents will lead "healthier, longer and happier lives", according to the architect.

There are currently five blue zones in the world:

  • The Japanese island of Okinawa
  • The Costa Rican city of Nicoya
  • The Californian city of Loma Linda
  • The Italian island Sardinia
  • The Greek island of Ikaria

Located on a former business park belonging to Dutch Railways, the Cartesiusdriehoek masterplan will focus on green spaces, and will encourage walking and cycling.

The theory of blue zones was described in an article published by National Geographic in 2005, "The Secrets of a Long Life". This highlights nine healthy characteristics that will be incorporated into four urban design themes for the Utrecht project: mobility, healthy diet, community, meaningfulness and relaxation.

Housing will be developed for social groups, with a quarter of the units designed for rented social housing.

Mecanoo will work as part of the Blue District consortium, also including Dutch firms MRP Development and Ballast Nedam, who were chosen by Dutch Railways and the Municipality of Utrecht.

Work will take place in phases, with construction planned to begin in 2020.

Mecanoo has recently won work in Taiwan and has bid for work in Italy.

Images courtesy of Mecanoo/3d Studio Prins

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