River as Tidal Park

In the Rotterdam region we explored with a coalition of stakeholders the future perspective of the ‘River as Tidal Park’. Our goal is to strengthen the qualities of the Meuse river as a central, green space in its urban area and to improve the experience of the tidal dynamics for all inhabitants to enjoy. Because right now, this is lacking. The Rotterdam region currently has 360 kilometers of river bank; 70% of this stretch are hard quays and less than 10% could be considered tidal nature. At the same time this is the only open connection between rivers and open sea in the in the Dutch Delta, which brings along great natural potential for tidal biotopes.

The potential of a tidal park stretches from increasing biodiversity to increasing flood resilience and its public awareness; and from providing a base for urban development to creating new significant public space for the city. We presented these ambitions to a large group of stakeholders in a workshop setting in which we explored the potential of a tidal park for the region. The Tidal Park as an overall concept has been embraced and several promising locations emerged, offering different opportunities in terms of added values and possibilities to link with existing or future spatial developments. Each location has to attract its own ‘coalition of the willing’.

The program ‘River as Tidal Park’ has been officially adopted by officials of the City of Rotterdam, the Port Authority, the Province and Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment. On March a declaration of intent to support the overall concept was signed and to take action into actually realizing the tidal park.

Since then our involvement in the program has been twofold: in cooperation with Strootman Landschapsarchitecten and regional stakeholders we developed a landscape framework with design principles, aiming to guide and inspire local stakeholders and spatial designers who work on translating the programs ambitions into concrete project proposals.

Meanwhile we supported some of these local stakeholders in their ambition to make tidal parks at different sites along the river. For the Port Authority and the Municipality of Rotterdam we developed concepts for the Maashaven where a new configuration of berths for inland shipping is combined with a tidal park. For WWF/ARK we drew an appealing future perspective for the ‘Island of Brienenoord – polder De Esch’ showing its ecological and recreational potential. For Huys ten Donck, a beautiful 18th century estate, we supported the owner and the Municipality of Ridderkerk in their ambition to restore the estates relationship with the river. For all of these locations we organized and guided workshops, brought stakeholders together and developed concepts with the aim of translating the overall programs ambitions into concrete project proposals.