The new neighbourhood is located next to Utrecht Zuilen railway station, with the monumental CAB, a former repair facility of Dutch railway operator NS, as the centrepiece and living room of the neighbourhood. Cartesius will house around 3,000 homes ranging from social rental, medium rental and starter homes to large flats and luxury town houses. Cartesius is a project by a consortium of leading sustainable real estate developer MRP and Ballast Nedam Development, in cooperation with the Municipality of Utrecht and NS Stations. With phase 1 completed, the entire residential area will be ready in 2028.

Inspired by the Blue Zones

The Cartesius concept is based on scientific theory about places in the world where people live healthily and happily for longer, the so-called Blue Zones. Cartesius will be a differentiated and inclusive living environment where community and health are central, with a unique identity and high ESG ambitions according to the latest insights in health, sustainability, ecology and circularity.

“The Cartesius project contributes to both the energy transition and the resources transition. As such, it is a great addition to our investment portfolio”, explains Willy Bulsink, fund manager of Triodos Groenfonds. The houses in Cartesius have limited energy consumption. Energy for hot tap water and heating is generated by a collective soil energy source and equipped with solar panels. The neighbourhood is car-free, has a low parking standard and sustainable mobility is a matter of course. Every new resident will receive a free introductory subscription for shared mobility. There will be spacious and comfortable bicycle sheds and good cycle and footpaths. The public area and buildings are designed to make healthy living a natural choice.

The S of ESG

In addition to extremely favourable energy performance and sustainable use of materials, Cartesius also pays close attention to the social and health aspects of urban living. The World Health Organisation recognises that highly innovative public health solutions are applied in this project. The partners in the Covenant 'Building a Healthy Neighbourhood' - including the Cartesius consortium, the UMC and the University of Utrecht - are working closely together to conduct more research into healthy urban living environments in addition to the proven applications. Cartesius Utrecht has been included by WHO in the programme 'Health in the Well-Being Economy' as part of 'WHO Healthy Cities'. One example of such a health solution are the courtyard gardens in each subarea, which are all connected to Cartesius Park with beautiful walkways and seating elements to meet. Cartesius Park will be a green oasis in the middle of the neighbourhood that connects to a Green Loop around Cartesius. This loop will also connect other parts of the city to this new urban district. At least 30% of the district will be green to promote climate adaptation and biodiversity in the area.