The Blauwe Stad was initiated to generate a new economic boost to East-Groningen, a shrinking region in the Netherlands. The transformation of agricultural land into a new residential and commercial development at the water’s edge was achieved by creating an ecological, multi-use living environment.
- East Groningens is a largely monofunctional agricultural area in the periphery of the Netherlands and is traditionally well known for its grain. However, the mechanization of the agricultural industry caused massive reductions in employment.
- This technological shift, but also the shift towards a more knowledgable service based economy, led to the permanent shrinkage of population. This caused significant problems with economic stability.
- The aim was to diversify the regional economy by installing new leisure-based economic activities and attracting affluent and skilled people to venture to The Blauwe Stad from the western part of the country.
- Increase the value of existing land which as at a serious disadvantage from the quality of the soil.
- The 1.350 hectares of farmland available had problems with the waterlevel and the quality of the soil.The value of the land could only increase.
- The site had an ideal smooth curved form which made the creation of a lake possible.
- Transforming the land into a new landscape which consists of the main element, a large artificial lake.
- Stimulating economic activity by attracting people and investments to move from more wealthy regions in The Netherlands and Germany, to the province of Groningen.
- Providing unique living environments for The Netherlands by offering large, water-orientated plots with a high level of freedom and choice of building.
- All houses were to be built with ecological and recreational facilities.
- 800 hectares was flooded with an average depth of 1.30 meters to create the lake. The lake was the identity and the spatial theme of the new area.
- 350 hectare was made ready to construct a nature reserve. Initial plans were aimed at 1470 exclusive dwellings.
- A wide spread campaign initiated to advertise the project.
- Poor sales of plots and some negative publicity surrounding The Blauwe Stad had a huge impact on the organization. Three private construction companies left the consortium leaving 3 municipalities and the province of Groningen behind.
- After the community reform, the three municipalites turned into one and created a new identity. The province and municipalities are currently at a severe disadvantage to invest in other projects.
- Adjacent villages benefited economically due to tourism.
- The economic model of Blauwe Stad is now considered a long-term process. The hope is that patience and time will help the economic strategy of ‘Blauwe Stad’ for a longer period of time.
- The Blauwe Stad has become an example for the need to plan and design rural development differently.
- By 2006, the Dutch housing market had slowed down. This had a significant influence on the influx of new inhabitants to the area.