Highway x City

New vision for the ring of Rotterdam A20 commissioned by BNATU Delft, Rijkswaterstaat and Gemeente Rotterdam about how smart mobility might impact our cities in 2050. 

Rotterdam, NL. 2016


The highway has a significant negative impact on its environment, involving particles, noise and physical barrier formation. A typical case of ‘not in my backyard’. Unfortunately, this highway is already there. Technological, economic and social developments make it likely that the use of highways will change and that their negative impact on their environment will continue to decrease.

Transport systems will become increasingly interconnected, creating a breeding ground for new, highly urban environments around infrastructural and public transport nodes (Transit Oriented Development). The access to, and physical proximity of, highways will be increasingly advantageous.
In our proposal, the A20 becomes an urban boulevard with extra approach and exit roads to ensure that more local traffic will use the highway instead of Gordelweg. This allows the phased downgrading of Kanaalweg and Gordelweg, which will eventually be cancelled altogether.

This will create space for a park-like strip adjacent to the highway and the canal that has a much better environmental quality than the area has today. It will make the existing residential areas much more attractive and create opportunities for the qualitative densification of the area through a combination of new public transport nodes and a smarter use of the existing infrastructure. Rotterdam Necklace

We looked at the significance of the highway as a ring road that not only connects and accesses individual sections, but keeps them apart as well. The areas adjacent to the ring road are used as parks, allotments, golf courses, cemeteries and the zoo. In addition, areas where building has been impossible (so far) and to which no specific function has been assigned: formally, they are use-less.
These large recreational areas and unidentifiable residual areas are valuable landscapes. We support the principle that remaining urban residual spaces fall to the community. Allowing pedestrians and cyclists more access to these areas and regarding the ring road as a chain of smaller loops or subsystems, we further open up the space around the ring road for the residents of the city.
Combining these landscapes with the existing green-blue networks in the city creates het halssnoer van Rotterdam (The Necklace of Rotterdam), a system of public and/or publicly accessible zones. 

LOCATION      A20 Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, NL                    

CLIENT        BNA, Gemeente Rotterdam, Rijkswaterstaat

IN COLLABORATION WITH    Mauroparravicini Architects, Openfabric, Noha, MoveMobility

SIZE       TOTAL 32.200 m2


PHOTOGRAPHY      Jacopo G. Feslikenian

You can buy the book here. (Dutch/English version)