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Posts Tagged ‘Rotterdam’

Innovative Urbanism: Crowdsourcing change

Posted in Movements by Jessica Bird on February 8th, 2013

Source: Mesh Cities.


Image from I Make Rotterdam.

From the article “Crowd funding city innovation” by Mesh Cities.

[…] We all know or suspect that riding a populist, demographically-driven wave is the essence of electability. This era’s politicians (generally) know it’s best not to think too big in terms of urban-improving expenditures. Time is better spent learning how to deftly kick the can of crumbling infrastructure down the road—increasingly potholed though that road may be. “Let my successor manage the impending crisis,” their inner voices might be heard to say, “I’ll lose the next election if I raise taxes to fix x,y, or z let alone build something new.” This attitude is closely related to the one that causes well-established, successful companies like Nortel to go from world leaders to market flameouts almost overnight. Why improve something that the investors think to be a world beater? Behind the scenes, however, key players are running for the exits with whatever spoils they can carry before the whole operation collapses due to inattention. There is an alternative to the destructiveness of this self serving, near-term thinking about our cities: Crowd funded urban innovation. It is not a fantasy. Some cities are already doing it.

Why is crowd funded urbanism different than what we’ve seen in the past? In a way, it isn’t. It is fundamentally old school thinking brought into the digital age. In the farming communities of our parent’s parents, when people saw something that needed doing they pitched in to get it done. That’s the way crowd funded urbanism works. See it. Fix it. New communications tools are shrinking our complex world to the point where direct action is possible even where political action is an oxymoron. Even better, in a connected world we can assemble best-practice solutions in one easily accessible place for everyone’s use. Talk about efficiency.

Take a look at I Make Rotterdam for one example of a crowd funded pedestrian bridge that is a prototype for this nascent, city-changing movement. The public in that city cared enough to invest real money in the project after being inspired by New York’s High Line Park (good ideas are contagious). What’s more interesting is that their commitment spurred local government to get behind the project as well. […] That’s the power of this idea. It is not about finding new ways of taxing people. What it is about is unequivocally showing where people want their communities improved so governments can act. Another example is the U.K.’s Space Hive. Broader in scope than I Make Rotterdam, Space Hive offers opportunities to tackle the needs of communities across the U.K.

Are these projects reinventing the way representative taxation will work a generation from now; or, are they just another example of online art projects that capture our collective imagination? We will find out, but our guess is that the future of cities demands better forms of community representation. These just may be the early models that will evolve to greatness.

>>> You can read the full article on Mesh Cities.
>>> Check out I Make Rotterdam, SeeClickFix, and Space Hive for some great examples of crowdfunded urbanism in action.


Green Roofs for Stormwater Management

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on September 24th, 2010

Source: Worldchanging


Image: Rotterdam Climate Initiative

From “Green Roofs in Rotterdam: Studies, Plans, Outreach, and Reducing Flood Risks” by Allison Killing:

Rotterdam’s initiative to promote the creation of green roofs within the city has seen just under 10% of the roofs suitable for this converted into green roofs. The project is part of the Rotterdam Climate Initiative, run by the Rotterdam city council, Port Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency with the aim of reducing the city’s CO2 emissions by 50% and helping the city adapt to climate change.

Although large areas of green roofs have many benefits for cities, such as reducing air pollution and helping to combat the heat island effect, Rotterdam’s priority was for water retention, since the city has a shortage of areas where water can be stored following heavy rainfall. Water management has always been a major concern in the Netherlands, since approximately 60% of the country lies below sea level. The analysis of the potential of green roofs in Rotterdam that preceded the introduction of the subsidies focused heavily on their capacity for water storage in order to reduce peak water discharge following a rain storm and help prevent flooding.

Read the full article on Worldchanging.


Rotterdam Market Hall

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on January 18th, 2010

Source: Inhabitat

From “Construction Begins on Amazing Tunnel-Shaped Rotterdam Market Hall“, by Bridgette Meinhold.

Rotterdam’s new Market Hall creates a 100,000 sq meter public market space covered in an arch of ten floors of 228 apartments. Of those apartments, the majority will be for purchase, but 102 of them will be available as rental properties. The bottom two floors will house restaurants and shopping, while underground, there will be a supermarket as well as a parking garage with 1,200 spaces. The archway will be protected from the elements on the front and back by flexible suspended glass facades.

The design for the Market Hall is a result of new laws from the Netherlands that require public markets to be covered, and also that certain rooms for a residential dwelling must have natural daylight. Each apartment is situated so that rooms and living spaces are situated on the exterior of the archway with views out to the city, while the kitchen, dining and storage is on the interior, with lots of insulation to block the noise from the bustling market below. One hundred stalls will be available for the sale of fresh foods daily and the interior surface of the archway will feature changing pictures projected from LCD screens.  This mixed-use development combining residences, shopping, restaurants and a public market will be a central hub of activity for citizens and tourists. The project is being developed by Provast and was designed by MVRDV.

Read the full article by Bridgette Meinhold.