Rotterdam city is making plans for a sensational new park called “Hofbogen Park”. The public park is situated on the abandoned elevated railway called “Hofbogen”. The monumental viaduct runs through four urban districts of Rotterdam. With a length of 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) and an average width of only 8 meters (25 feet), the Hofbogenpark will be the longest and narrowest roofpark in the Netherlands.
The Hofbogenpark invites people of all kinds for a pleasant walk at height through a rich, colorful and fragrant linear landscape. The park is a ‘green lifeline’ that connects the densely populated neighborhoods around it. It offers its visitors a pleasant and welcome space for strolling and lingering in an elevated landscape with flowing water and native vegetation, surrounded by treetops.
Platforms of different sizes are distributed throughout the park to make place for a rich variety of public activities. There are platforms for people to work, lunch, play, sport, perform, linger and relax. A number of balconies along the line provide the visitors with amazing vistas of the surrounding city. Access to the elevated Hofbogenpark is provided by both stairs and elevators. Some of the access points will be integrated in existing and new buildings along the line.
The park is not only open for people. Animals too are considered ‘clients’ of the Hofbogen park. Native planting and freshwater offer migration space, shelter, and food for bees and butterflies, toads, bats, birds, and hedgehogs. They have their own ways to access the park. The Hofbogenpark connects to a larger ecological corridor and brings nature deep in the heart of the city.
As a city in the Dutch delta, Rotterdam is vulnerable to climate change. The city, therefore, is an international frontrunner in sustainable water management. With the Hofbogenpark, Rotterdam will showcase the next generation of climate-adaptive urban solutions. Rainwater from the immediate surroundings is collected and treated by natural processes (soil & helophytes) in the Hofbogenpark and stored in underground aquifers. In times of drought and heat stress, the stored rainwater can be reused in the Hofbogenpark for irrigation, playing and other purposes.
The elevated Hofbogenpark is part of a larger network park that will develop around the line in the coming years. In this network park, activities that need more space will be developed, together with a substantial ‘greening’ of the surrounding streetscape. A future connection over the highway to connect the open landscapes around Rotterdam is also foreseen in the network park.
The preliminary design for the Hofbogenpark was made by De Urbanisten in close collaboration with DS landscape architects and De Dakdokters. The project was commissioned by the Municipality of Rotterdam and Dudok Group, the owner of the “Hofbogen“. The community of the surrounding districts has been involved from the beginning of the project and for future development and maintenance.