So yes, it really does seem to be happening now. The municipality clearly wants to trigger the radical transformation of its banks by 2021. The first steps towards the completely different look that the Maas and the Rotte will continue to offer in a year for ten or twenty years. Based on all the plans and programs on the table, we will then all be living together in or around two green-blue “water parks” or “city oases”. Together, they will soon become both the biggest attraction and the best place to live in Rotterdam.
I’m not going to be cynical or even critical about this, if only because the endless harassment about Rotterdam is of course no longer of this time. A generation of young professionals has emerged in the city (or recently moved here) who I have full confidence that they can add a lot of beautiful, lasting and meaningful things to their immediate surroundings. And not just for the buyers of all those very expensive apartments which will undoubtedly be added to this or that river dock. But for all Rotterdammers.
I also believe in the decisive nature of the official working group that will shape the transformation of Maas and Rotte. Over the past year, this working group has mapped which buildings / plots along the banks of the Meuse are eligible for reuse, and what the state of property relations and regulation is, especially on older ones. port sites (read: untangling the knot). With Vera Bauman (who leads the city’s initiatives) and the almost indomitable and enthusiastic town planner Pieter de Greef as the driving force, anything can happen. In the meantime, they’ve already sat around the table with half of Rotterdam, so to speak, to join forces. Anyone with their own ideas and concrete proposals on the (temporary) redevelopment of vacant plots and buildings in, for example, the old city ports can report to them. From this new year, they want and can allocate sites for new purposes (temporary or not).
How fun it can be, it has already been proven on the Eiland van Brienenoord, which you can rightly call the first urban oasis. All kinds of public activities take place on site, while nature can continue to take its course. Would it be good if things were also going like this with the Quarataineterrein on Heyplaat? The area still belongs to the port authority, but the Droom en Daad Foundation has the ambition to (also) take care of this piece of Rotterdam’s heritage.
The crowning achievement of all efforts for the foreseeable future will likely be the recognition of the (new) Maas as a legal personality: a status which gives the river its own rights, protection and political voice. The rivers of New Zealand, India and Colombia preceded our Maas.
In 2021, a team of lawyers and other specialists from the Rights for Nature project group, led by lawyer Jessica den Outere, will prepare a case that will also legally protect Maas from damage to its ecosystem and violations of its banks. . A sight to be hoped for, even if the Port Authority and the project developers will undoubtedly think the opposite.