Adding a great deal of greenery, both at the roof- and ground level, to an environment that lacks green spaces is one of the important pillars of a healthy city. Corona time has given an added sense of how important an attractive and green outdoor space is for all Rotterdammers. The city has now invested €233 million to make seven different awesome green city improvements. The city has announced seven areas of focus for the investment, namely: Alexanderplein, Rijnhavenpark, Hofbogen, Maashavenpark, Hofplein & Westblaak, Schouwburgplein and Tidalpark Feyenoord.
The focus is specifically on adding green spaces into the city and the projects should be complete in the coming 10 years. Attractive public places where residents and visitors can meet, exercise, and spend their leisure time are essential to the well-being of the city. Reducing heat stress, absorbing heavy rainfall, and building homes in places where, up to now, it has been either difficult or impossible due to noise or air pollution, are the perspectives derived from the environmental vision that have been used as a compass for the seven city projects in order to provide insight into the integral approach of the project and together the 7 city projects will be more than the sum of their parts.
For this reason the urban development office of the city of Rotterdam has started an important collaboration with the team Juurlink+Geluk for the Hofplein project; Urbanisten, DS Landschapsarchitechten and Dakdokters for Hofbogen park, with artist Jeroen van Kesteren for Schouwburgplein; with the city planner Emiel Arends for WestBlaak; Bureau Hosper and MORE landscapes for Alexanderplein; SWA/Balsley for Maashaven park; Christoph Cornille with LOLA landscape architects for Tidalpark Feyenoord.
The Alexander Hub is an urban junction and it is an important public transport hub in the Rotterdam system. Here the metro lines, intercity station, proximity to motorways, all the amenities, its proximity to attractive greenery, and its connection to the region are the qualities that can give this part of Rotterdam its own identity as a new attractive urban outdoor space.
Greenlung Hofplein and Westblaak: Hofplein, with its fountain, is an iconographic place in Rotterdam. The new plan for the square focuses on a more balanced traffic model, transforming the central area with its fountain into a large, green recreational square. The Westblaak is part of the boulevard structure of the city centre. Reducing the number of lanes for cars creates a lot of space for cyclists, pedestrians, other forms of mobility and recreation. With a greener avenue, there will also be more shade and cooler spots. The transition of the boulevards will result in cleaner air and less noise.
The Hofbogen Park, the former railway viaduct and also a listed monument will create a new two-kilometer-long city park in the north of Rotterdam and will connect the city centre with the surrounding countryside. A new icon for the city, that is green and alive and is there for all Rotterdammers to visit and experience on an urban scale as a nature-inclusive part of the city with a high ecological value.
Park Maashaven combines the feel of the port and the dynamics of the river with the experience of a modern large park for the surrounding city districts. Park Maashaven is a park for Rotterdam-Zuid in general and for all residents of the surrounding city districts and the port in particular. The park area consists of lots of greenery, large trees, lawns, seating areas and is crossed by walking and cycling routes with various spaces and is multifunctional in use.
Cultural institutions, property owners, authorities and the business community, with the aim of creating a climate-neutral Schouwburgplein by 2030, will improve Schouwburgplein as a cultural square for all Rotterdammers. The square must become an international showcase in terms of green roofs, water storage, and heat/cold exchange systems between the buildings.
The Rijnhaven has a special position in Rotterdam’s port history and due to its central location. The characteristic pentagonal shape makes the Rijnhaven unique. The many views over the open water continue to surprise and delight. The layout of the Rijnhaven will highly innovative, with a partially floating park and a public beach in the middle of the city. The park, beach and several transitions along the quays will provide a unique experience along, on and in the water.
Feyenoord City will be one of the new hubs in Rotterdam and together with the Brienenoord Island, adds a third large green, ecological structure and a tidal park from Mallegat to the Brienenoord Island will make the river more natural, experiential and attractive in relation to the urban environment. The tidal park will seek to generate various added values for the city in terms of ecology and recreation, social and economic value, experience of natural dynamics and a laboratory for knowledge development, while at the same time keeping the river as a safe shipping route.