Planning chiefs at Rotterdam city council have published a list of seven key projects which are creating attractive public places for people to meet, socialize and exercise, while helping to solve some of the challenges facing urban development in the Netherlands.

The total cost of the investment in the seven projects is put at €233m and work on them should be completed by 2030, city officials say.

The new parks, squares and open spaces, filled with plenty of trees and greenery, will help reduce heat-related stress, absorb excess rainwater and provide new places for residential development by tackling noise and air pollution. They will function, planners say, as green lungs for the city.

In addition, the projects will provide years of work for a large number of people, Bert Wijbenga, the city’s planning chief, told the NRC earlier. ‘They will contribute to our mobility strategy,’ he said.  ‘They will make it possible to build more homes and make the city greener and more sustainable.’

The seven projects are being approached in an integrated way and will also act as a driver for further neighbourhood improvements.  Together, the projects involve planting 700 trees, creating green spaces the size of 20 football pitches and planting 10,000 square metres of green roofs. The overall impact will also boost property values in the area by 15%.

One of the projects involves creating a new park in the former port area on both reclaimed land and old industrial sites. The Rijnhaven park plan includes developing floating green spaces to sit and socialize as well as plans to build 2,500 new homes.  

The Hofbogen is another city park development, situated this time on a two-kilometre stretch of a former railway viaduct that crosses several residential areas.

In all, the seven plans mean a further 17,000 Rotterdam households will live no further than 200 metres from a green space.