The ISMH is a collaboration between 11 municipalities in the province of Zuid-Holland: Bergambacht, Bodegraven, Boskoop, Gouda, Nederlek, Ouderkerk, Reeuwijk, Schoonhoven, Vlist, Waddinxveen and Zuidplas. In 2009 these municipalities decided to further develop their sectoral spatial policy into a spatial agenda, focussed on realisation: de Ruimtelijke Agenda Midden-Holland.
De spatial agenda has to serve the region and the municipalities on several levels. The agenda has to formulate the specific qualities and overall identity of the region and lead to more control of the spatial developments in the region in relation to provincial, governmental and interregional developments.
The main themes of the spatial agenda are derived from the vision Midden-Holland 2040, the existing site characteristics, as well as the major current projects. The themes are:
1. Urbanization based on improved accessibility.
2. The strengthening and safeguarding of the site specific qualities.
These themes are transcribed into two distinct projects: The Gouweknoop and the Landscape Structure.
The Gouweknoop is an infrastructural node strategically located within the Randstad. Highways, trains and metros come together at this spot. It is the ideal place for urban densification. The densification takes shape according to the degree of accessibility of station Gouweknoop and the surrounding routes. Around station Gouweknoop we see densification of housing and large scale facilities, all in relation to the existing green structures. The existing and new recreational routes are also accessible from Gouweknoop.
In architecture, spatial quality exists only when the framework has been set in the right way. Space, in a building, is constructed and articulated by means of borders: the walls. By placing walls we create rooms for activity and hallways for transition. Rooms have a specific use and clutter is stored in sheds and closets. In a similar way the landscape of Midden-Holland, where a lot of the buildings are seen as an attack on the open space, also deals with such borders. By interpreting the landscape as a green framework we can work on strengthening it and making it more valuable. Not only do we have to define the borders of the framework, we also have to look for valuable scenic vistas which we have to highlight. The linear village developments play an important role in the battle against the cluttering of the landscape. By setting out a strong list of rules and guidelines about the re-use of former agricultural land a stronger spatial coherence is realized within these linear villages. Also we have taken into account the double ribbon village. A large part of the linear villages have a disorderly backside. By strategically placing another ribbon development alongside the former one, the clutter of sheds and storage is sealed within the two ribbons.