The area around the Schouwburgplein in the center of Rotterdam has been in need of a sustainable makeover for some time. The process of urbanization has increasingly caused pollution, heat stress and water-logging here, as in other places. For that reason, Rotterdam's Schouwburg and De Doelen venues decided to draw up a plan to make the area climate-resilient. Arcadis supported the process as a partner for program management and communication.
The initiative is part of 7 Square Endeavour, an international cooperation and sustainability project that aims to prepare cities worldwide for the future. Together with Eneco, Dura Vermeer, the municipality of Rotterdam, the Schieland and Krimpenerwaard Water Board, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and TNO, we developed a plan to improve the sustainability of the area around the Schouwburgplein. The plan aims to make the area climate-neutral by 2030 and achieve a climate neutrality of 40% this year. The area will serve as an experimental test bed for innovative new technologies, cyclical processes and business models.
The scale of this cooperative project between all of the stakeholders and partners is unique. The ambition of 7 Square Endeavour is to link (existing) initiatives, knowledge, interests and expertise and to work together to create new developments. Once the analyses of the energy and water consumption of the Schouwburgplein were complete, we worked with the area partners to develop a strategy with practical targets for an energy-neutral and climate-adaptive square. This was achieved by mapping out buildings that are suitable for sustainable, multi-functional roofs with space for greenery, water storage, energy generation and accommodation.
Rotterdam is the first city to implement many of these initiatives relating to climate adaptation and energy transition, which makes this ground-breaking project very interesting for parties with similar ambitions. For these stakeholders, 7 Square Endeavour has summarized the experiences of the past three years in a handy booklet, which can be downloaded below.
The program ensures that the area around the Schouwburgplein will be completely climate-neutral within ten years. Transport, environment, water facilities, urban planning, existing buildings and quality of life will all benefit from integral energy management, cyclical processes and green design. Solutions such as smart grids, the generation, storage and exchange of energy, gray water, green roofs and other new technologies will benefit all people who live, work and play in the city. The program will also provide economic benefits, such as lower energy costs through energy savings.