Campus Diepenbeek green once again
New footpaths and an opened up pond enhance nature experience
Nature is getting a comprehensive upgrade at Campus Diepenbeek. As such, the various sub-campuses will be connected by footpaths and the remaining natural features – including the pond – will once again be made publicly accessible. All this is possible thanks to the support of Flemish Minister for the Environment, Zuhal Demir.
Tom Vandeput, Deputy for the Economy and Chairman of POM Limburg: “The precious Demer landscape is being restored. This will greatly enhance life on campus.”
Campus Diepenbeek will be one of the most important intersections in Limburg, with space for education, research, business and recreation. The ambitious master plan – which runs up to 2050 – was drawn up in recent years with POM Limburg taking the lead role, and the first results are now becoming visible on the ground.
Deputy Tom Vandeput: “One of our goals when the master plan was drawn up was to restore the precious nature. In the first instance, in the interests of enhancing biodiversity, but clearly also the experience for residents and neighbours. A green environment, with footpaths and picnic benches, makes campus life so much more enjoyable.”
Natuur in je Buurt
Together with Natuurpunt, POM Limburg submitted a file to Natuur in je Buurt, a call for projects of the Agency for Nature and Forests. Ecocampus Diepenbeek is one of 23 approved nature development projects.
Flemish Minister for Nature Zuhal Demir: “Since the coronavirus broke out, more and more people in Flanders have rediscovered nature in their area. As the name of the call for projects suggests, we also want to bring nature closer to people through small-scale interventions, not least in places where it is less obvious. The nature on Campus Diepenbeek could also do with an upgrade. That way, the bright minds studying in Limburg can relax and rest, but also find inspiration and motivation in the greenery.”
Nature in and around the campus had been somewhat neglected in recent years. The ponds and pools are not open to the public, nor are they currently maintained. This is a shame for biodiversity.
Chairman of Natuurpunt Bart Vangansbeke: “With its location between the Kempen and Haspengouw regions, the opportunities for restoring wonderful nature are still there. Thanks to this project, we can finally start nature management of green areas. Through a joint management plan for the green areas safeguarded in the master plan, we will subsequently make sure this management is long-lasting. Wonderful nature for and with Limburg’s top brains of the future is our goal.”
Currently, the campus buildings have a fragmented layout. The opening up of the natural features will change all that.
Deputy Tom Vandeput: “In our master plan, connection is crucial: the two sub-campuses – the Construction Campus and the Health Campus – and the educational core, must be optimally connected. Especially in terms of the connection between the Construction Campus and the teaching buildings, this is currently a problem. By making nature accessible again, campus residents will be able to move around safely, via a car-free road. We also envisage meeting spots here and there, which helps create a community. Between UHasselt and the Construction Campus, we are also building a nature experience pavilion. This will be fully built with circular principles.”
Smart signal area
Campus Diepenbeek is situated in a wetland area. By building more compactly – for example, upwards – and by taking a smarter approach to nature management, sustainable development in signal areas becomes possible.