MAASTRICHT. There should be more nature in Maastricht and the university could play a major role in this. Rob Jansen from Stadsnatuur Maastricht, a volunteer collective that dedicates itself to creating more green in the city, advocates this idea.
Jansen feels that the (enclosed) gardens at the School of Business and Economics (SBE), the Faculty of Law, but also the little garden at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS) are “fantastic.” But he refers to the parking lot to the rear of the latter faculty a “shameful waste. This valuable ground in the centre of Maastricht could be used in a much better way. The university could make this into a large garden and share it with the city, certainly if the adjacent monastery De Beyart becomes available too.” According to Jansen, there are also opportunities on the flat roofs in Randwyck.
More green in the city, he says, provides spiritual peace, creates more movement, absorbs rainwater and also has economic advantages. It makes Maastricht more attractive to tourists. “In the summer, the city is sometimes ten degrees warmer than the surrounding areas; with every 10 per cent more green, the average temperature drops by one degree,” says Jansen.
“It is essential that people start to see the importance of nature in the city; there has to be a paradigm change,” says Jansen. In order to make this vision public, Stadsnatuur Maastricht has already spoken to the city council, Woonpunt, the district water board and UM vice president Nick Bos. Not to tell them what to do, but to emphasise the value of more green. Jansen: “That is the only way to give this theme momentum.”
Bos finds the idea interesting but is not committing to anything. He wrote in a reaction after the discussion with the volunteers collective that the UM “feels that the concept is worth considering” and that it is “conceivable” that the university would sign a covenant with the ideals of Stadsnatuur Maastricht. There are no definite plans yet: he mentions nothing about the parking lot at FASoS.