Research Wolfert High School Rotterdam

24 May

Questions and answers on Rotterdam’s past present and future by

Wolfert Rotterdam High School

Questions on the city’s history

What were the basic themes in history concerning city development?

(protection, merchandise, labour, logistics, accessibility, identity, technology)

Harbour city, Harbour South, city life in the North.

Improvement in accessibility for foreigners.
Harbour growing away from the centre
Development of the harbour.

Improvement in accessibility for foreigners
Influx of the population into the city
Harbour changing towards urban culture.

What was the meaning of the bombardment in WWII?

Germany wanted to take over the Netherlands  with the bombardment they hoped that Holland would surrender. The result was that most of Rotterdam was destroyed and that everything had to be rebuilt. They did this as fast and as cheap as possible, so that lots of buildings are very polluting and unsustainable.
Before the second World war people were used to building their own houses. When choosing a house it was usual that the plan was the responsibility of the house owner. The city planners took care of the placing of houses, but the design of the houses was up to the owners. Because of this lots of different and authentic buildings were build.

But then the industrialization arrived. A lot of factories were build and the factory owners wanted their employees to live close to their working places. So they build a lot of similar basic small houses around the factories.

Suddenly there was… World War II. Rotterdam was bombed, lots of houses were destroyed.  After the war freedom made population grow causing the baby boom.

Suddenly there were babies. The combination of many babies and very few houses caused a housing shortage. The government decided to intervene. Their plan was building as many houses in a very short amount of time, with very little money. Huge grey flats and other apartment facilities came into existence. Causing the end of individuality in architecture.

How do you think transportation technology has changed the planning of Rotterdam.

Harbour growing away from the centre because of containerization of sea transport
Development of the harbour.

Transport used to cross through city centres, now the Ring surrounds the centers.

How did the population change in different periods of Rotterdam?

Influx of the population into the city. Migrant workers invited to The Netherlands after the war. Rotterdam has faced a great population increase since WW1. Especially during the 60s, 70s, after Holland opened its borders for guest workers from Turkey and Morocco. Asylum seekers looking for European wealth.

What are the effects of the harbour moving towards the see?

Harbour changing from industrial towards urban culture.

Why did the communication between the city planners and the public flaw in the 80s and 90s you think?

Sub-politics rose in the 80s, 90s. So when the city planners (the government) made a decision, the public could form a group and protest against. Hereby they left the government no choice but to listen.

What would be the effect of a more lively communication between city planners and the population?

The population gets more influence on their environment and thus will be better pleased with their surroundings.

Questions on the city’s present situation

Is there any place in the city that give you distinct feeling of the space, try to describe the space and why it makes you feel special?

The Rose garden (De Rozentuin). It is a beautiful part of the Museum park with lovely statues and a fountain. There’s grass in the middle surrounded by a path with benches alongside. It is a good place to hang out with friends for the cops leave you alone and let you be. It is a special place for it so very green in the middle of the big grey Rotterdam.

Can you mention some differences between the recent developments in Shanghai compared to Rotterdam?

Rotterdam’s harbour is moving towards the sea.

What makes Rotterdam special compared to other Dutch cities?

Its modern architecture.

What do you think are the most important developments in Rotterdam, how have they taken shape?

The removal of the harbour from the city towards the sea. This took shape when Rotterdam needed more space for housing. Also the development of bigger ships meant that the harbour should be replaced because these big ships couldn’t turn anymore.

Do you think greening the city will make it sustainable?

Yes, especially by making green roofs, Rotterdam will become more sustainable. I have noticed that many roofs in Rotterdam are black so that they absorb way too much sun and thereby waste a lot of electricity for cooling.

What are the most interesting urban planning projects that are being realized at the moment? Why are they most interesting ones to you?

Rotterdam railway. This makes its inhabitants able to travel large distances within no time. This is very interesting to me because it makes you mobile. It gives you the possibility to leave your neighbourhood and look further than that which was already known.

Questions on the future outlook of Rotterdam

Have you noticed any climate change in the past few years, how does it affect people’s everyday life?

During the winter less days of snow, but more rain and during summer longer periods of warmth.

To me and probably many others, the Dutch weather is very confusing. The one moment it’s sunny and than all

of a sudden it starts to rain. On these moments people cannot dress to weather, which causes you to get sick very quickly.

Do you think new transportation technology will change the urban planning of Rotterdam in the future? How?

Yes, it probably will. There’s big chance our metro’s will get connected even more broadly than they already are,

instead of only Rotterdam and The Hague, one to Utrecht and Gouda as well. Just like trains, but straight away and under the ground.

The transportation technology of these days have gone to inconceivable measures

An example is the Amfie-bus. A bus that as soon as it gets on water, it changes into a busboat. Before 60’s it wasn’t even possible to take bus from your house into downtown and now you can drive over the Maas to get there!

I think this will make Rotterdam even more busy than it already is, instead of just traffic on the road we’re taking it further on the sea as well. Realize the fact that the population keeps on growing, meaning even more people to transport.

Do you think virtual reality will change the urban planning of Rotterdam? How?

I doubt it. It might affect how many wi-fi connections are made in the town, or commercials plates are shown. But that’s basically it..

In the future, how do you think the climate change will affect Rotterdam? How could buildings adapt to new climate?

Because Rotterdam is in the part of the Netherlands that’s under sea level, there’s a possibility the rivers might flood.

The summers getting warmer and the winters rainy. we could adapt by making more houses that are able to catch the water and clean it. Instead of these big cleaning area’s, the house itself cleans it. Another possibility is making houses which during summer can store the warmth of the sun so during winter we can use the energy to heat our radiators.

What if the sea level rises and current Rotterdam is disappearing, how can Rotterdam fight against that?

Well.. Build houses on posts, like in indonesia! Will give our multicultural society a whole different meaning!

How can Rotterdam be more sustainable in the future? What if the oil all runs out in 50 years?

There are different ways to make a city more sustainable. This doesn’t only have to be by new ways of generating energy but it can also be by adding more green to a city. A sustainable city is a city that has everything a modern society needs but without ruining the future of the next generations. A city that has been busy with developing a sustainable city is San Francisco. Their research and plans can be found here: http://www.sustainable-city.org/ .

A way to make Rotterdam more sustainable in the future is to add more green to the city such as parks. These parks are not only good for the environment, they are also pleasant to live close to. Another way to sustainability is the combination of water and infrastructure, something Rotterdam is already busy with. Before the Netherlands has tried to keep as much water out of the land. However, research has proved that by pumping water out of the country the country is so to say shrinking since the land works as a sponge. Besides, we have had periods when there was a lot of rain, so much rain the sewerage system couldn’t take it anymore and dirty water from the sewerage flooded into the streets and the rivers. Rotterdam has to make space for times of excessive rainfall such as the square they are developing. When there is a period of heavy rainfall this square can hold water, which is not only convenient because you can hold the water until the water can be taken somewhere else but it is also fun for children to play with.

If the oil runs out in 50 years Rotterdam, and also the rest of the world, would have to find new ways to generate electricity. This can for example be done by means of solar cells, windmills and water turbines. Oil is not only used to conduct energy but also for cars, planes etc. The techniques for electric cars should be further developed, but an electric car is still not a very sustainable car since you have to conduct the energy. I believe the use of bikes and the public transport should be encouraged since they are both a more sustainable way of traveling.

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  1. Questions on Past, present and future on Rottedam By Wolfert HS … | Regmark - Najtańsze przeprowadzki w Warszawie - July 2, 2010

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