top of page

Center vision Bladel




Municipality of Bladel




Marco Broekman, Floris van der Zee, Ginevra Melazzi, Paul van Eeden


Vision and framework




Design office BURA (formerly known as marco.broekman) was one of four parties asked by the municipality of Bladel to make a vision for the center of the town. Bladel forms the gate to the Kempen-region close to the Dutch-Belgium border and is the biggest core in a municipality which includes five towns.


Confronted with a number of new initiatives, current policy and steering documents couldn’t provide an exact and sufficient framework for the center of Bladel anymore. Besides, ambitions for new housing, mobility and accessibility require long term and future proof thinking.


Our vision for “a resilient and vital town center” focusses on four main topics, which we find essential for the center of a small town:

  1. a place for people to meet and exchange

  2. a mix of functions fitting the scale of the town

  3. a healthy and sustainable living environment

  4. regionally embedded co-operation


Our vision is characterized by a process orientated approach adaptable to the specific dynamics of Bladel. First of all we stress the importance of the involvement of a broad range of local stakeholders from the start. Inhabitants, entrepreneurs and associations, as well as the housing corporation and the municipality need to engage in a collective process to work together and find their common needs. Besides, we proposed to introduce a Quality Team for independent judgement of projects in the center. This team, with both local as well as non-local members, will steer and monitor these new developments. Hence, we defined a series of guiding principles to facilitate decision-making, at different stages. 


Our main principles for the center of Bladel:

  • Bring the center in balance. Postion new program in relation to the existing spheres of the two main squares. The Markt is the dynamic and vibrant square, whereas the Burgemeenster van Houdtplein is more calm and quiet, the Sniederslaan is the connecting element forming a lively shopping street.

  • Treat the main road Sniederslaan as the lifeline of Bladel. Transform its profile into a shared space, where the car becomes less dominant, but is still welcome.

  • Use a sponge model for inner village densification. Affordable housing for starters and elderly is required and is preferred in proximity to existing services. Realizing new housings concepts for these specific groups in the center would be a great addition to the existing homogeneous housing stock.

  • Apply interventions for a healthier and more sustainable town. The beauty of the surroundings offers great potential to make landscape and town become more intertwined with good connections for bike and pedestrian use. Next to this, the center could become greener itself as well by applying climate adaptive solutions to paved streets and parking places.


The aim of the principles is to establish a shared base to which all new developments should contribute. They can be applied on a long-term basis, guiding ad hoc decisions as well as to complex projects.

Many parties with interests

Center of Bladel: resilient and vital

Four principles for spatial interventions

Spatial interventions per principle

Bladel in its region

Historical development

Burgemeester van Houdtplein: square space with allure

Sniederslaan as a shared space

Markt as a bustling square of activities

bottom of page