Today the Rotterdam Labour Party (Partij van de Arbeid; PvdA) presented to the municipality of Rotterdam an ambitious plan to bring new green spaces and homes to the north of the city. The PvdA’s initiative proposes to build over a highway that separates Rotterdam’s northern districts, fulfilling the long-held desires of the local residents for a solution to the highway’s pollution, for more green space, and for additional sustainable housing. If realised, it is predicted that the plan will benefit some 160,000 Rotterdammers.
The proposal of the PvdA elaborates on a vision launched by MVRDV and developer Blauwhoed in 2009, the Kralingse Berg. The aim of the plan was to cover the motorway and train tracks to connect Kralingen and the Kralingse Bos with the Bergse Plassen and the Rotte wedge, and the rest of the city. This would create a green oasis, with 67 hectares of infrastructure transformed into a park landscape and a residential area with excellent public transport connections including a covered train station.
The PvdA’s proposal, named Het Nieuwe Noorden (The New North), tackles part of the A20. Thanks to the extension of the A16 to the A13, the motorway will have a different function and can be partly covered. This will not only connect areas of the city which are currently separated by the motorway, but will also create more space for housing and green space. The road covering will allow an estimated 5,000 to 9,000 homes to be added to the area, intended for first-time buyers and young families. The proposal’s initiator, PvdA councillor Dennis Tak, held talks with many stakeholders from Rotterdam (including with MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas, the principle-in-charge on the Kralingse Berg project) which showed that his proposal can count on broad support.
“The A20 has been a thorn in the side of Rotte-loving Rotterdam for years”, says Tak. “With the extension of the A16, the motorway has become less necessary. This approach not only solves the problem of the motorway, it also creates space for sustainable construction – not luxury residential towers, but affordable family homes for Rotterdammers.”
“MVRDV has long been aware of the need to green the city, and this has only become more urgent since the coronavirus crisis”, says Winy Maas. “I have always thought the separation between Hillegersberg-Schiebroek and Noord created by the A20 was a shame. Our plan can connect the Kralingse Bos and the Bergse Plassen and create a large green oasis, which is surrounded by new affordable homes. Hillegersberg, Schiebroek, and Overschie will come into their own much better.”
According to initial calculations, no fewer than 160,000 Rotterdam residents will be positively affected by the development of the area, benefitting either from improved connections to the city, a reduction in pollution, or access to green spaces including the Rotte. If the Rotterdam council approves the plan, the municipality of Rotterdam will then develop a feasibility study together with market parties, and will begin lobbying the national government to make the necessary changes to the A20. The council is expected to vote on the proposal before the summer of 2021.
Click here to see the original Kralingse Berg proposal from 2009.