23 December 2021 News

The Achtse Trein brings everything closer

In collaboration with World Design Embassies, we launched Embassy Lab ’15-minute City’. Now we have reached the final stages of this Lab and Bygg Architecture & Design has developed a vision on how the concept of the 15-minute city can be realised in Eindhoven.

The core of the 15-minute city is about questioning and challenging the reason to travel and move, rather than making the current transportation more efficient. By analysing this and offering different services and relocating them, the movements are minimised, and this automatically leads to a different urban planning and design approach. The intensive research Bygg has performed, has led to three main themes: wild nature, technological sobriety, and social resilience. They explore these three themes in their overarching concept Achtse Baan.

Transforming the neighbourhood into the Achtse Baan

Bygg concluded during this lab that the original concept of the 15-minute city mostly resonates in big cities like Paris and Barcelona. For Eindhoven, different ideas apply. So the designers needed a wider scope and a more holistic approach to fit the cultural and urban landscape.

Therefore, they introduce the Achtse Baan, an overarching concept with which they redefine and rethink the way current suburban neighbourhoods are planned. To keep people receptive to new ideas, the studio chose an abstraction level for the project that balances between feasible and intangible to not be too imposing or too radical. Achtse Baan is a concept to improve mobility and liveability of a Dutch suburban neighbourhood by creating hubs within a city or borough that provides all essential services within reasonable range.

In the Achtse Baan, the neighbourhood is converted into a more bike and walking friendly neighbourhood, with more greenery and less hard technical materials. To keep a non-compromised feeling of mobility, the studio proposes to keep a connection to the main road network but park all cars centrally at the commercial area in the south part of the neighbourhood. This area is reachable within a 5-minute bike ride for everyone in that neighbourhood.

The obsolete parking garages can be transformed into shared working spaces, the street level parking spaces can become space for green life.

Of course, there are many more needs that need to be met in a neighbourhood. Groceries, doctor visits, recreation etc. So how do we get all essential services within a reasonable range? Bygg proposed the Achtse Trein!

The Achtse Trein

For this particular case, they conceptualised the Achtse Trein on the Franse Baan, a main road in the neighbourhood Achtse Barrier in Eindhoven.

The Achtse Trein is a shopping centre, community centre, gym, doctors post and anything else you could think of. The train moves around the neighbourhood to bring the city to your doorstep, on a closed loop. The train makes a full circle around the neighbourhood in a week’s time and moves from point to point during the night.

The most important part of the Achtse Trein is that it’s a non-commercial and commercial place, a place to go and meet each other, a place that is dynamic yet stable, a place that caters to everyone. A central meeting place or a community center where you can book some space for an event. Also, a place for simple things like returning your recycling and garbage.

Making the train travel around seems like a large effort, but it creates dynamics, and it proposes to free the idea and market that belongs to the central space. Besides that, it makes sure that elderly or less able people can also make use of the platform when it’s close to their homes.

For now, this concept is introduced as a platform to let people speculate what facilities we can accommodate and what possibilities we see for our own neighbourhood. What would you like to see?