Rotterdam in 2060

Flatten the curve

Rotterdams Weerwoord, a collaboration between various local authorities and water boards, commissioned Strootman Landschapsarchitecten to conduct design research on how Rotterdam can have adapted to the changing climate and rising sea level by 2060. We worked together with bureau De Zwarte Hond on a scenario in which the city makes a collective effort to anticipate the consequences of climate change by tackling the problems at the source.




Rotterdams Weerwoord


De Zwarte Hond

Surface Area

32.410 ha

Design Year


Under the title ‘Flatten the Curve’, the project shows that if we reorient our economy and society now towards a sustainable society, the city can become an example for the world, the effects of climate change can be flattened, and the quality of life of the residents can be improved. Each of four areas with a different subsoil and background has a role to play in that, which is elaborated in panoramas. ‘Flatten the Curve’ forms part of the exhibition Meteopolis, in which four teams each elaborated a different scenario for 2060. This exhibition could be seen during the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam in 2021

The Rotterdam of 2060 We did it! We have managed to limit the rise in temperature and to prevent a doom scenario. Since the sustainable renovation, Rotterdam is the model city for climate-adaptive design and the economy of the city is fully sustainable. And how proud we are of it! International trade missions now visit the most sustainable docks in the world, and tourists from near and far find their way to the city thanks to the green, car-free city centre with a pleasant climate all year round.

Urgent climate crisis The big sustainable renovation of Rotterdam began in 2020, after several extremely hot summers. Scientists had already been warning about it for longer: if we continued with our old way of life, the sea level would be around two metres higher by 2200. We could only still do something about it if we managed to limit the warming of the climate to 1.5 degrees.

Our own choice: Climate mitigation We already had the choice at hand, but we had to start seeing ourselves as part of a bigger system: from EGO to ECO. Many residents of Rotterdam were already aware of the need to do something and were making small changes: cycling instead of driving, working with circular products, getting their food locally… But there were also challenges at a level above that of the individual. We in Rotterdam would have to collectively intervene in our economy to prevent further climate change. After all, you can’t dig a canal or gully beside a river on your own.

Climate adaptation Besides the new sustainable economy, the city must also be adapted to the effects of the changing climate on water flows in the city. In Rotterdam those flows come from different directions: from the sea, the river, changes in the groundwater and rainfall.

How we tackle this is determined to a large extent by the ground on which the city is built. South Rotterdam has a different subsoil from the North, the Alexander polders are the lowest in the Netherlands, and the dockland quays are higher than the water. As a result, each area has its own qualities and makes its own contribution to the sustainable ecosystem of the city.

The fossil-fuel economy of the docks has been transformed into a system in which all the energy that the city uses is hydroelectric and is stored in the largest battery in Western Europe. The Rotterdam kitchen is now centred on local produce. Especially in the restaurants in the food forests in South Rotterdam, what you eat comes fresh from the land. A unique residential environment with an abundance of water has been created in the Alexander polder with a second ground level. The dykes have become even more important in the city: with beautiful parks on top and tidal zones in front of them. The newly created canals in North Rotterdam are more than ever the places where people meet and interact. Nature has also helped us here: by adding more plants, trees and water, we can keep the city cool, store water, and provide the residents with food and energy.

The Big Sustainable Renovation of Rotterdam: once an enormous challenge, but now something of which the whole city is proud.

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