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In 1965, Enrico and Luzia Hartsuyker launched Biopolis: a model for a new urban culture. It served as an alternative to the growing urbanisation in the Netherlands since 1945 and the modernistic ideas on separating functions such as living, working and recreation. Compact and flexible, Biopolis is still topical and relevant in terms of sustainable urbanisation.

As a result of building development and road construction, post-war urbanisation had damaged the landscape and created monotonous and bland town developments. Biopolis, on the other hand, is a compact city that demonstrates the integration of urban uses and the concentration of social functions. The resulting lower levels of vehicle use and increasing use of public transport would reduce the city’s environmental impact and spare the surrounding natural areas.

Biopolis is also a flexible city that can be adjusted to developments in society in terms of the economy, communication, demographics and consumption, for example by building homes with flexible built-in systems that can be adapted to current and future use. Biopolis is not only flexible in time, but also in space: the concept can be applied at different levels of scale, from a building to a whole residential area and even a metropolis.

A particular elaboration of Biopolis was Hydrobiopolis (1968), a likewise unrealised design for the expansion of The Hague, which was to be located just off the North Sea coast.


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