Parking as added value for city centre

Spark - under auspices of Professor Riek Bakker, a leading authority in urban planning - recently contributed to a future-proof plan for revitalizing the centre of the Dutch city of Roosendaal.

Photo: Pascal Blanchet

In Roosendaal – as in many other towns and cities across the country – the negative effects of new developments and trends in retail are visible all around: empty shops, fewer shoppers and lower customer satisfaction. The unanimous conclusion of the local authorities, retailers and city’s residents has been that it is essential for the city’s economic future got the city centre to be made more appealing and attractive to visitors.

A programme team was established to draw up a future-proof accessibility plan for Roosendaal. Spark’s role in this team was to look at how plans could be implemented, organized and financed. To be able to do so, we first analysed the city’s accessibility and available parking facilities and set them off against the projected economic and urban planning goals.

Essential part of the brief was to ensure that synergetic effects between the quality of city centre services, a programmatic approach, online solutions (Roosendaal Smart Retail City) and excellent parking products would result in enhanced user experience for both visitors and residents. Spark’s recommendations foresaw that parking products wouldn’t be merely optimized, but would actually be made part of how users’ experience their visit to the city centre. In this way, parking should provide added value to Roosendaal’s city centre.

To achieve all this, both organisationally as well as financially, traditional boundaries have been challenged, turning the plan into a joint project of not only the owner of the parking spaces (currently the city of Roosendaal), but also specifically including the direct stakeholders (such as owners and operators) and, of course, Roosendaal’s residents.