As you come off the motorway and drive into Wageningen, there is not much to draw your attention to the proximity of WUR. That has got to change, agree Gelderland province, Wageningen, Ede and WUR itself. The road is to be lined with trees in green Erlenmeyer flasks, wooden lampposts and a green bus lane.
An impression of the new, spruced-up Ede-Wageningen Knowledge Axis.
© Felixx Landscape Architects and Planners
Erlenmeyer flasks are an essential piece of equipment in the chemistry lab. Trees encased in 2.5 metre-high green flasks will make visitors aware they are entering distinct territory. The territory of the Ede-Wageningen Knowledge Axis. This term denotes the roads linking expertise centres in the two towns: the Business Science Park and WUR in Wageningen, and the planned World Food Centre in Ede.
The roads in question in Wageningen are the Nijenoord Allee and the Mansholtlaan. And in Ede, the new road running south of the A12, the road to the station and the new Parklaan past the former military barracks. This adds up to a total of 11 kilometres of roads that are not currently recognizable as ‘an axis of knowledge’.
With a view to changing that and creating more coherence, the province, the municipality and WUR have come up with a few ideas, of which the flask-encased trees are an eye-catching example. This ‘linear arboretum’ is a nod to the botanical gardens in Wageningen, say the planners. Trees and flasks express the central theme of the landscaping: nature meets innovation.
The flasks are fake, though: they are bottomless and the trees are rooted in the soil. The casings are made of biobased materials. The trees will be chosen for their flamboyant autumnal colours, unusual fruits or other striking features.
The dedicated bus lane along the Mansholtlaan will be coloured green and the cycle paths along the entire route will be given an earthy terra cotta colour. Wooden lampposts with an aluminium base will be used for the LED lighting along the roads. The cycle paths will have aluminium masts with dynamic lighting which shines brighter when cyclists or pedestrians approach at night.
The verges along the road will blend into the environment. Along the Mansholtlaan that means orchid-rich verges with species that thrive on soggy ground. The changes will be made gradually over the next few years. Nothing is known about the price tag of the Knowledge Axis’s makeover.