We have finally reached Rotterdam. For an international journal like
The Plan focused on urban transformation, this is one of the cities that can truly be defined as a world capital of contemporary architecture.
Rotterdam is a metropolis with a total population of over 1,250,000. The metropolitan area includes Europe’s largest port, handling more than 11.5 million containers and second only to the gigantic ports of China.
As always, our GIS-based maps give us a clear indication of this polyhydric city, the epitome in old Europe of innovation, experimentation and cultural integration. Statistics tell us, for example, that soon more than 50% of the population will be Muslim.
This section of the journal aims to explore world cities by means of available online databases. As our CityPlan research broadens, it has become increasingly feasible to compare cities, draw useful urban planning considerations and get a clear idea of ongoing urban development trends. Our research also clearly shows, albeit in summary fashion, the “scientific form” each city takes.
The population map is, as always, the blueprint with which to read the other maps. Looking at Rotterdam’s population map immediately reveals why it can be called an “infrastructure-city”. The city itself grew up to the west of the huge river port on the banks of the Nieuwe Maas and covers a smaller area than its port, which has a strikingly larger footprint.
Laid out on a hub and spoke grid, roads provide good vehicle accessibility throughout the urban fabric. The port is equally accessible by road thanks to an efficient ring road running along the north and south banks of the river with bridges at a couple of points. One of these, the Erasmus Bridge is a major landmark and one of Europe’s most iconic bridges. Overlapping the population map with the services distribution map shows Rotterdam to be a highly mixed-use...
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