Sustainable Urban Design: Rotterdam’s Route of becoming a World Leader as an Experimental City

In every field, sustainability is the main goal. There are several experiments that are conducted worldwide aimed at developing sustainable urban designs. Currently, Netherlands stands as world’s most sustainable nation. This article will focus on how residents in the second capital city of Rotterdam have opened up their home in an experiment towards sustainable urban design.


Rotterdam is open to new ideas

The city loves playing with new ideas. It is fast rising as a sustainable design capital and is a home of dozen experimental projects. In the year 2020, all houses in Netherlands are set to have carbon neutrality according to law. Rotterdam is a concept house village and by 2017, it will have the world’s first floating dairy farm followed by a few more in successive years.


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The City is receptive of cultural changes

The city is home to Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s biggest port. Naturally, being a major port has helped it embrace ideas from all over the world. It was the first city to have skyscrapers in the 1990s before even Amsterdam the capital. To put it in one word, Rotterdam is very entrepreneurial.



Regarded as a sponge city

As a port city, Rotterdam faces several challenges with every seasonal change as sea levels rise and fall. When it rains, there is nowhere for the water to go. However, during the dry season, the concrete basin can be used as a recreational use for sports. Infrastructure may need to be redesigned such that rain water does not mix with the sewage system.

Rotterdam draws its strength from the water

In different harbors, there is an experiment. Some of the experiments are actually carried out directly in the water. The 2017 floating dairy will have 60 cows and greenhouses growing greens to feed the cows. These projects help make use of available space. This is because harbor areas that were once used for shipping are now empty to 1970s oil crisis.

Sustainability in abandoned warehouses

Just like in the harbors, the city also has an abundance of open space. Where there is an abandoned warehouse, a new experimental project finds a way to blossom.

Rotterzwam mushrooms 

What was once used as swimmers dressing rooms, is now filled with the racks of plastic bags growing a mixture of mushrooms spores and coffee. The saplings are left to grow until they can be moved to ‘fruiting’ rooms. Local food is grown locally and organically.

Rotterzwam Mushrooms
Rotterzwam Mushrooms

Summary of how Rotterdam helps drive innovation

Rotterdam opened its doors for Europe and the rest of the world. Additionally, the residents are only happy to be a part of the experiments. It’s pretty impressive how Rotterdam has turned the tables from being known as the home of crime to being more inventive in sustainability compared to other cities 10 times as large.



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