A resilient future with water squares

Is it a water storage? Is it a playground? It is The Benthemplein Water square!

It is undeniable. The weather is becoming more and more unpredictable. Temperatures crack age-old heat records. And sometimes it rains so hard, streets are flooded. The city of Rotterdam has a solution for this, the water square. When it has been raining, the square turns into a water storage. And after a few days, when the rain water has gone, playing children and chilling students take over the square.

Dynamic and green place

Rotterdam has the first water square of the world. And good news, other cities in Holland also want, or even built, a water square. How did it all start? De Urbanisten, the company which invented the water square found an empty place and sought contact with the local community, such as residents and students from nearby schools. Together with the Municipality of Rotterdam, the local community participated in their project and they all agreed that the water square should be a dynamic and green place for play and lingering. And the water? Do not hide it. Let it flow!

Sport, play and linger

Three basins collect rain water. Two of the basins, the shallow ones, receive the 'usual' rain. The third  deeper basin receives water from the wider area around the square. Rain water is transported via large stainless steel gutters into the basins. When it is dry, the square is a feast for active youth to sport, play and linger. The first shallow basin is fit for everybody on wheels. The second shallow basin contains an island to hang around. The deep, third basin is fit for football, volleyball and basketball. On each entrance there are more intimate places to sit and linger.

Water disappears the natural way

The rain water of the two shallow basins gradually seeps back into groundwater. The water of the deep basin flows back into the open water system within 36 hours to ensure public health. So the storm of water does not flow into the mixed sewage system anymore. Another advantage of the water square.

Water square, Check. Aquaduct ... next.

Next to the square is a former railway viaduct. De Urbanisten propose a water-sensitive perspective for this former railway viaduct and its surrounding district. And guess where they want to get the  clean water from? Yes, the water square. Rotterdam is the first city with a water square. And probably the first one with a cleaning aquaduct. That's what we mean with Rotterdam, city full of innovations.

The water square is great example of how Rotterdam adapts to changing weather conditions. The Urbanisten contribute to Rotterdam’s Resilient strategy and shows again that the Netherlands lead the way in finding solutions to floods. As we say, live with water, don’t fight it.

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