Catalyzing Re-Industrialization is an urban strategy included in our research on Rotterdam Metabolism. By making better use of a small proportion of the huge flow of cargo through the city, in order to generate added value, Rotterdam has the potential to grow to become the logical business location for a new, clean, small-scale and therefore flexible manufacturing industry.

Limited economic spin-off and a smaller role for the retail sector result in emptier city streets, with a reduced market and social value. Moreover, the city and the harbor are almost entirely disconnected. Can this be turned around? Looking at the flow of goods, adding value to a small part of this flow in the emerging maker industry will improve the local economy. Connecting harbor and  city also reduces the mobility poverty that is currently present in parts of Rotterdam.

Regional public transport ring plus knowledge e-axes: by designing the missing link in the existing public transport network at a regional level, a light rail ring is created. This modification makes a substantial flow of people possible. By setting up the zone around the Delftse Schie and the connection between Westland and Oostland into a development area for knowledge and innovation, two knowledge axes are created, connected by the light rail ring, and linking the knowledge from Rotterdam to the expertise already present in these productive areas.

A logical place for new activity is Rotterdam Zuid. The gaps appearing in the urban fabric through the disappearance of retail trade can be filled with new forms of manufacturing industry and craft activities. By re-industrializing three existing city boulevards, work can be brought to the people, rather than the other way around. As freight traffic both by road and by water plays an important role in Rotterdam, the optimization of logistics can result in great economic and ecological benefits.

E-loop for people and cargo: in order to reduce the motorized freight traffic that currently passes right through the city center, this flow is directed away with the design of a new inner ring road – the e-loop. Three cargo hubs in Spaansepolder, near to the Feyenoord Stadium and in the Waalhaven, connect up the e-loop, the motorway network and water. At these points, loads are transferred within a dense distribution network that comprises boats,
bicycles, electric delivery vans, cargo lockers and pick-up points. But the e-loop not only forms the backbone for goods. People hubs at the main railway station, Zuidplein and the RDM campus ensure that people, too, will make intensive use of this ring for small-scale electric transport.

Re-industrialization boulevards: by seizing the opportunity left behind by the departing retail trade and making use of the capacity in the urban fabric, space for a mixed urban environment comes into being. Through the use of designs for changing both the street profile (into shared space streets) and the zoning plan (a mixture of functions for the first two storeys), three city boulevards are being made for reindustrialization: one port boulevard (Brielselaan), one city boulevard (Pleinweg – Strevelsweg) and one data boulevard (Slinge). Think in terms of 3D printing, data processing, innovative storage, etc.



Rotterdam is able to respond to the drastic changes in our economy by using part of the huge freight cargo flow through the city for the development of small-scale, clean industries and crafts. In addition to having economic and social benefits, the introduction of this city-center logistics system with cargo hubs for facilitating this development has positive effects on our traffic in particular, and therefore our energy consumption. If all of the freight and other traffic travels to the city center through this network, this also brings ecological benefits. This results in a considerable reduction in the use of raw materials, the reduction of CO2 emissions, improvements in air quality, an increase in employment, more turnover per inhabitant and reduced congestion.

From the same investigation, you can also see:

Flows assessment

Food and Materials

Heat and CO2

Green and Blue Biotopes

Location: Rotterdam

Program: Urban Strategy for Mobility, transportation, flows of information and people

Year: 2013

Commissioner: IABR, Municipality of Rotterdam

Partners: Environmental Assesment Agency, Havenbedrijf Rotterdam

Design Directors: Eric Frijters, Olv Klijn, Richard Kennedy

Project leader: Rens Wijnakker

Team: Bas Driessen, Olga van Lingen, Simone Ierardi, Veronica Rivera,  Megan Born, Sanjukta Sen, Jack Lipson, Li Shuyang, Veronika Trnovská, Andrea NG

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