An edible residential area
Rijnvliet is a new residential area in Utrecht. It is part of the Leidsche Rijn expansion area that provides 1000 new ground-based dwellings. The masterplan is developed by DeZwarteHond. Felixx designed the public space in the area as an edible, educative landscape. The layout is based on the principles of food forestry and developed in collaboration with residents and Æ – Food Forestry Development.
The entire district is embedded within a productive landscape, integrating three values: food production, usage and nature. Therefore the principles to create a ‘food forest’ are merged with the functionalities required for the surrounding residential areas.
The realms are built up with multiple layers of plants, together forming an integrated ecosystem. The different vegetation types and species attract insects and organisms that enforce each other. There are seven layers:
1. The canopy, consisting of original and planted large trees.
2. Low trees, consisting of smaller trees or half-standards.
3. Shrub layer of fruit and berry bushes.
4. Herb layer of multiannual vegetables and herbs.
5. Soil covers, a layer of plants that spread horizontally.
6. Underground layer of plants that produce roots or tubers.
7. Climbers, a vertical layer of climbing plants.
The central part of the neighborhood combines all these layers. The adjoining areas focus on one or more of the layers, thus establishing a distinctive character. Maintenance of the food forest will be done by the local residents, supervised by a forester. New residents receive a cookbook, filled with recipes based on the local ingredients growing in their street. The streets are named after one of the plants growing in it, accompanied by an educative subtitle explaining the use of the plants.