Rotterdam loves to build. In the former century Rotterdam could expand and built its housing demands on the unexploited areas or former industrial areas. Since the last decade these areas are harder to find. Now Rotterdam faces the transformation of existing housing areas, the time of designing starting from a tabula rasa is over and designing becomes working on a going engine.
‘We love to build’ is a strategy on how temporary functions and manifestations can keep an urban area part of the city in the in-between-time and how the temporary and long term functions and manifestations can support the identity of the new area.
This strategy is based on a toolbox with possible temporary and long term functions, differently depending on the scale of the area, the position of the area in the urban tissue and the functions the area will accommodate.
Next to the toolbox, the whole transformation process, starting from the intention of transformation until the final new use, has been catalogued and possible manifestations have been added. The strategy is the result of a design research of different transformation areas.
This urban strategy is part of the case studies that substantiate Festivalcity_Rotterdam, a strategy for the symbiotic collaboration of festivals and urban development, creating a strong identity for both.
2oo8, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
The paper starts from 2 observations:
- Technology is developing at a speed limit and some of these implications of technology in products have mayor influence on the urban tissue. What is new today is old tomorrow, so how to create a long-term perspective of the design?
- Due to the end of the welfare state the government is redrawing. This creates a shift in the commissioning of the building projects from the public to the private sector. However, the private sector has different interests than the public sector. Next to the shift in commissioning there is a shift from supplier market to a demand market, giving more power to the future resident of the house. Where there used to be one strong commissioner, the public sector, there is now an abundance of parties, each with different interests. How will this influence the role of the urban designer in the design process?
At the moment the major part of the redevelopment projects in the Netherlands use the tubula rasa approach. First there are no more investments (public space and buildings) in the area. Because of this, people move out and the area gets a bad reputation, which finally results in the demolishing of the buildings.
To attract new buyers, a lot of money is invested in promotion, activities, ... with the goal to sell the houses and to start the rebuilding.
Within this tubula rasa approach there is no possibility to adjust to the external influences during the process, like technology or economy. Neither is the area inviting during the process, in order to more naturally attract future residents.
In the paper an alternative approach is given. By a strategic demolishing and rebuilding of the area in different parts and by the use of specific temporary functions, fitting for the new identity of the area, a more sustainable process is the result. By demolishing and rebuilding in parts, the adjustments, due to external influences, can be easier implemented. By use of specific temporary functions, the area stays more lively and therefor more inviting.
The urban plan should no longer focus on the final destination but on the steps needed to get there. The urban designer, as continuity in the process from drawing to rebuilding, takes care of the process and adjusts when necessary. By this the urban designer gets a central role in the process and the coalition of the different parties.
He/she does not focus as much on the final destination but on the steps how to get to that destination.