Opportunities to connect nature and climate adaptation within the energy transition

Heat networks are being constructed in more and more cities. This also brings opportunities to combine the work with other measures. Therefore, in collaboration with nest architect for the animals and the municipality of The Hague, we explored the opportunities for nature inclusiveness and climate adaptation to be connected within the construction of a heat network in The Hague. This research was made possible by the Creative Industries Fund NL.

Transvaal District Park

We focused specifically on the Transvaal District Park, a popular and much-used park in the heart of The Hague. The Transvaal district park is going to be demolished for the construction of the district heating network. The heat network does not connect with the neighbourhood and residents experience particularly inconvenience. There are therefore opportunities to renew the park by making 'work with work'.


There is much to be gained for the park on both nature inclusiveness and climate adaptiveness. The high usage pressure calls for synergy between utilization functions and nature-inclusive and climate-adaptive measures. The combination scenario below is derived from the two thematic scenarios, shown on the right. In this scenario we find a large variety of planting including a mix of trees with high ecological value, which in addition provide shade and water absorption. The structure of the park is determined by the heat network and the main walkways.

The construction of this heat network is cleverly used to make other large-scale interventions. For nature inclusiveness, the heat grid can contribute to nature connections. In addition, the heat network can also be combined with water drainage that connects water from streets to various large water storage locations.

What’s next?

By cleverly linking interventions, only one street needs to be opened up while the neighborhood gets a lot in return. However, this requires an approach in which opportunities for linking are identified from the outset (partly through participation) and are properly incorporated into the design. The Municipality of The Hague is serious about making the neighbourhood park more climate adaptive and nature-inclusive - the advice is therefore to enter into dialogue with various departments in the municipality to look for a smart and efficient way of linking tasks and adding extra value to the final result.