Water Square Prototype

Development of new model square

Climate change means that more space is required for water. In the Netherlands this requires innovatory measures. In the near future it will rain more frequently and more heavily, water squares are the solution for this problem. A water square is dry for the greater part of the time and it is then used as a public area in an urban context. After a heavy downpour, the form and the use of the water square are transformed. The elements that are necessary for water storage are deployed, wherever possible, to create an attractive recreational area.

A water square focuses on the optimum use of the available budget for solving the water issue. The money is not spent on expanding the underground sewerage system but on above-ground solutions. This has various advantages:
* The expenditure on the water issue is visible. Moreover, this issue addresses another question, that of the lay-out of the public space. This is seen as problematical in many areas of Rotterdam. Laying out an area as a public space and, at the same time, for the collection of water, has financial advantages. There are, as it were, opportunities for budgetary double usage.
* Water squares make the water issue and its solution visible and tangible in the daily cityscape. Because of this they make a direct contribution to the spatial profile for a water city and, with that, to the appeal and the distinctive character of a city.
* Water squares contribute to more sustainable water management. The water collection system need not be tackled in one go, it can be achieved on a small scale and step-by-step. It is a phaseable solution for the sustainable upgrading of the entire water system.
* Making the water issue visible in the public space also has an educational objective. Climate change that is accompanied by the threat of flooding receives little public attention because it is simply not in the public eye. The city dweller has lost contact with natural systems such as water management. Living with water is an ongoing task, not only in terms of awareness but also as an urban and socio-cultural ritual: water connects.

year
2007

in cooperation with
De Urbanisten, VHP, Urban Affairs, Jeroen Bodewits (maquette)

programme
Storage of rainwater, public space

client
City of Rotterdam ( Municipal Public Works, Urban Planning and Public Housing Department

website
www.gw.rotterdam.nl

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