Decades after their separation, the 400-meter-long Luchtsingel pedestrian bridge has reconnected three districts in the heart of Rotterdam. The Luchtsingel is the world’s first piece of public infrastructure to be accomplished through crowdfunding. Together with the new public spaces, including the Delftsehof, Dakakker, Pompenburg Park, and the Hofplein Station Roof Park, a ‘three-dimensional cityscape’ has arisen. Based on the idea of Permanent Temporality, the Luchtsingel introduces a new way of making city. This means using the city’s evolutionary character and existing forms as a starting point.
The crowdfunding campaign for the Luchtsingel started in the fourth quarter of 2011. Within the context of the 5th International Architecture Biennale, ZUS launched an initiative for crowd funded citymaking: I Make Rotterdam, a new way of creating urban qualities in a post-crisis economy. Through web- and digital applications citizens are stimulated to contribute to city making: small-scale, non-bureaucratic, low-budget. Starting from 25 euros anyone can sponsor a Luchtsingel plank and have a personal message engraved in it.
When, in 2011, it was announced that a planned development in Rotterdam the Central District had been cancelled, leaving many existing office spaces vacant as a result, ZUS decided to take matters into their own hands. They used a former office building, the Schieblock, to develop a city laboratory, which currently acts as an important incubator for young entrepreneurs. With its groundfloor store, bar, culinary workshop, information centre, and its rooftopfield called the Dakakker, Europe’s first urban farming roof, it has become a prototype for sustainable development.
Next followed the Delftsehof, which became one of Rotterdam’s most vibrant nightlife areas, and then the child-friendly Pompenburg Park, where a vegetable garden has been landscaped next to a playground. The roof of the former Hofplein Station is currently being developed as a green space and events terrain. These varied and new public spaces return this former heart of Rotterdam back to being green and livable, with the Luchtsingel running throughout as a unifying factor.
By simply increasing accessibility for pedestrians, the 400-meter-long bridge will ensure synergy between these various sites. It is now the norm to walk from the Station Quarter to the North, and to the Laurenskwartier via Pompenburg. These distinctive connections give the area a unique position in Rotterdam’s urban fabric.