More than 1,600 people sign petition to slow growth of Utrecht
Utrecht’s city council made plans to increase the city’s population to 440 thousand inhabitants by 2040. In 2021, there were slightly more than 359 thousand people living in Utrecht. A number of Utrecht residents did not see why the city needs to grow that rapidly, AD reported.
More than 1,600 people have signed a petition against the referendum to increase the number of inhabitants to nearly half a million. The target of one thousand signatures by August 11 in the first phase has, thereby, been reached, putting the plans on hold. In total, ten thousand signatures are needed to achieve a referendum.
The expansion would mean that the city’s density grows from 2,600 residents per square kilometer to 3,600. To set the plan into action, the city would need to build 60 thousand apartments in areas that are already inhabited. The arrival of more people would also require the construction of facilities such as schools, stores and healthcare centers.
“How is it possible to live like that? There has been no research done to study that”, alderman for spatial development Klaas Verschuure said to the AD.
According to the creators of the petition, the rapid growth of the city would jeopardize affordability, quality of life and climate goals. They said that the municipality of Utrecht has been unclear as to why the city needs to grow at this rate.
“Our idea of building in the city is that residents also profit by adding more green and services”, Verschuure said while acknowledging it is not possible to satisfy everyone.