Built environment

Time of transition

Rotterdam is doing great. There are so many projects, zone developments and construction plans taking shape in so many areas of the city that there is almost too much to keep track of. Quite apart from the imposing high-rise buildings already in place, Rotterdam’s inspiring skyline is currently playing host to an impressive ballet of cranes and construction. All the optimistic construction activities and plans notwithstanding, it goes without saying that Rotterdam faces the same challenges that are confronting other big cities. Worldwide phenomena such as climate change, affordable housing and the energy transition are pushing the city to prepare for a time of transition, in which familiar certainties must make way for new opportunities and challenges with effects that are hard to predict.

Rotterdam built environment

In Rotterdam, construction and development are no longer undertaken blindly, but rather with a view to the future, with re-use, circularity and sustainability as high priorities. Even for sufficient and affordable housing with an ambition to build no fewer than 18,000 homes over the next four years. The homes that are being constructed have to be attractive to all sections of the housing market. New projects are based on an affordability ratio. 20% of the homes we are building will be in the social sector, 60% in the middle segment and 20% in the top segment. Developers are not just building an inclusive city; they are also focused on the sustainable aspects of their interventions. Housing associations are making plans to adapt their properties to the demand for greater sustainability and the energy transition. In Hart van Zuid (in Dutch), one of Rotterdam’s major development locations, we team up to fundamentally improve the quality of the area. Some 200 extra trees are to be planted and water storage will be installed. The swimming pool also has a moss sedum roof that retains water and absorbs heat. Another concrete measure that has already been taken is the construction of a heating and cooling network between Rotterdam Ahoy and the Rotterdam Ahoy Convention Centre as part of the European RUGGEDISED project. It’s fascinating to see so many different organisations with such diverse ways of working coming together to strive for a shared goal: an even better, more attractive and more sustainable Rotterdam.