ROTTERDAM: A STRATEGIC VISION FOR RURAL LANDS AND THE URBAN EDGE

Location: 

Rotterdam, Netherlands

Calthorpe Associates was asked by the Architecture International Rotterdam (a cultural agency of the Federal government) to envision a sustainable future for rural lands south of Rotterdam, where pressures for suburban homes and industrial parks have mounted.  As a long-term strategy, an urban growth boundary and concentrated growth near existing infrastructure, most notably transit, were recommended.  Numerous opportunities for redevelopment of underutilized land were identified.

 In addition to recommendations for land use, a plan for economic sustainability was created by studying regional markets and encouraging underdeveloped sectors.  Even in the absence of urban sprawl, a sustainable future for Rotterdam's rural environs was far from assured.  Agri-businesses were supplanting family farms, and the price of produce from Eastern Europe threatened to undermine the cost competitiveness of local goods.  A focus on high-value niche markets in agriculture, such as organic produce and dairy, was seen as the best route to economic stability. 

Returning large portions of farmland to the Rhine Delta wetland system was also a serious consideration, opening up the possibility for aquaculture and providing new opportunities for waterfront development and eco-tourism.  They have the additional benefits of filtering pollutants, mitigating flood surges, and recharging depleted freshwater aquifers.  

Returning farmland to natural wetlands can improve the environment and economy
The Plan encouraged revitalization in areas like this former warehouse district
The east of this district has been inundated as wetlands, with houseboat docks.
Several large farms are restored as wetlands, offering trails and bird watching.

Project Summary

    

Client: 

Architecture International Rotterdam (Netherlands)

Type: 

Regional Plan

Program: 

Long-term plan for sustainable expansion of Rotterdam city | 28,000 ha (69,000 ac) site area

Status: 

Design completed 1998