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Studio report: Integrated Studio 1

Article by Erik Mies


In period 1 of the first year, the new students of our program started their very first studio, integrated studio 1. Ever since the open days, something we were looking forward to: a whole afternoon of drawing and trying to get your wildest plans on paper. In groups of four, there were three weeks of discussion, planning, drawing and learning, resulting in a master plan and a vision for the Foodvalley region in 2050.

After an introductory lecture about the studio and the first week of work, we went to our classrooms, and a good fifteen minutes later the planning could really start. We thought...


The first two days of the studio were dedicated to a stakeholder analysis and trends within the Foodvalley region. After all, how is it possible to plan if the interests, needs and existing plans of the region and local organisations are not known? Analysing needs and sectors where change is needed ensures that certain goals can be pursued at a later stage of planning. After a lot of online searching, and an interview here and there, most groups had drawn up a nice report in time in which all these things are described and explained.

By choosing important trends, the foundation was set for the coming weeks. Several directions were already forming within the studio. Trends such as internal migration and an ageing population may be reflected later in housing construction and infrastructure. More green trends have also been taken into account by various groups, such as declining biodiversity and the increasing demand for recreation in nature. The goals that have to be achieved in the vision for the future differ greatly between the groups due to this diversity in trends.

Figure 1: Stakeholder analysis


For four days, work was carried out on the Land use Planning (LUP) component. The drawing could finally begin, because it was time for an analysis using the layer approach. Left and right, bottom bounces, occupation cards and many other cards slowly but surely appeared on the boards. One with very realistic colors so that the card would be easy to understand, another with colors that were as bright as possible so that the cards would be clearly visible when they would be placed on top of each other. In any case, most groups got a good and complete picture of the Foodvalley region and the layered approach became a fact.

To turn the entire Foodvalley upside down in the first period of your studies was still a bit too ambitious. Fortunately, the master plan for the LUP component only had to cover the Binnenveld, an open area between Wageningen, Veenendaal and Ede. This was the moment when the groups could give their own interpretation to the future plan and creativity could be used to the maximum. From whole new residential areas to a new nature reserve, everything passed by. The great diversity of ideas has not only been a result of creativity, but also the previous stakeholder analysis and trends researched play a major role. The implementation of the plan to be drawn up depended for the most part on the earlier analysis of the area. With a lot of drawing and consultation, the first plans in which the Binnenveld of 2050 was described slowly emerged.

What was very striking about the plans made is how the groups have dealt with agriculture. For example, there were groups that stayed away from the agricultural sector as much as possible, but plenty of other groups thought of forms of less intensive agriculture or the creation of food forests. Here and there, large pieces of nature were created in the courtyard where all kinds of animals and plants would be very satisfied. In general, space for agricultural purposes decreased sharply. These and many other choices make the plans unique, without one having to be better than the other.

Afbeelding 2: Soil Map Region Food Valley, group 4A

Afbeelding 3: Occupation Map Region Food Valley, group 1C


The Thursday of the second week started with another lecture, but this time about Landscape Architecture (LAR), the third part of the course. We were given four days again this week, but this time we started on a smaller scale. Another analysis needs to be made, but this time the problems and synergies in the infield were particularly important. This analysis showed that agriculture can have a polluting effect and that the infrastructure could use a boost in and around the infield. In addition to planning on a smaller and more detailed scale, the programme also introduced me to drawing landscapes for the first time. How do you indicate heights in the landscape and how can changes be properly indicated? These skills were practiced on a detailed plan of 500 by 500 meters on the map. Because this scale was so small compared to the first week, planning had to be done in a completely different way. Instead of thinking about the infrastructure of an area and connecting nature reserves, the smaller ditches, streets and trees were important. Individually, we came up with beautiful drawings that contained stylish and detailed plans. 

Afbeelding 4: Synergies Map, group 1C (schaal: 1:12500)

Afbeelding 5: Vision for the future 2050, Swanhilde Bottenheft (schaal: 1:500)

Afbeelding 6: Toekomstvisie 2050, Erik Mies (scale: 1:500) Afbeelding 7: Toekomstvisie 2050, Sibil Geluk (scale: 1:500)

Because the scale in the LAR part of the studio was so small and the details became more important, we used reference projects. These projects that had already been completed were used as inspiration for parts that were implemented in the company's own plan. The chosen trends were very visible in some plans. Where one group wanted to increase biodiversity by creating an archipelago, the other group built a beach as a nice recreational opportunity.

The small squares, reference projects and the ideas from the LUP week were combined into a master plan in the last days. Together, the individual drawings became part of the larger sub-area. The small details and the big ideas came together in one card that marked the end of the LAR week.

Afbeelding 8: Masterplan Binnenveld, group 4A (scale: 1:12500)

Afbeelding 9: Masterplan Binnenveld, group 1C (scale: 1:12500)


Human Geography was already present in the studio with the stakeholders and the trends. In the final days of the studio, we looked back at those stakeholders and trends and how they were reflected in the master plan. For the stakeholders, the main focus was on whether the changes in the master plan will have a positive or negative impact on the interests of the organisation.  The trends may or may not have been reflected in the master plan and this has also been looked at. We then looked at the extent to which the trends were reflected in the master plan, and if that was the case, how they manifested themselves.

This last review, the LUP vision, the LAR master plan and the analysis that was made at the beginning of the studio have been brought together in a presentation. During the presentations and the questions asked by the teachers, the differences between the groups really became visible. Not only was the plan different, but often also the mindset behind the plan. This studio nicely shows that many ideas can arise with relatively little expertise.


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