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URBAN CHOREOGRAPHY - Merwevierhavens

Strategic Development Plan

Rotterdam, The Netherlands


The site was originally developed in the beginning of the 20th century to house the growing fruit import industry. Over the years the technology and energy sector have made this site their home. Recently artists and designers have found their way into the derelict industrial buildings establishing a vibrant creative community. The last addition to this urban flux has been the development of a ‘big box’ retail boulevard with a rooftop park creating a much needed green anchor on the eastern border of the site.Wedged between the historic urban centres of Schiedam and Delfshaven and with premium south facing waterfront real estate the site has great development potential. However the site is challenged due its relative distance from the center of Rotterdam and poor integration with its neighboring districts. In addition the surrounding urban areas are home to relative low income households and are considered to be urban ‘problem’ areas. Which limits the potential to attract the higher income young families and elderly looking to move back in to locations near urban centres in the region or Rotterdam.


aims to present a socially sustainable development strategy for the M4H site. The 113 Ha site is an industrial urban environment in flux. Due to uncertain economic times and the complexity of the forces at play no clear vision for the area has been developed. We aim to create a vision and development strategy that builds on the existing identity of the place while allowing for flexibility and adaptability in its implementation over time. Through a process that engages stakeholders, neighbors and other partners a clear urban vision is to be established. Following this an Urban Taskforce will manage the activation and deactivation of existing urban forces to guide and stimulate the development of the M4H site. We therefore don’t present a ‘final master plan’ but through a series of ‘urban scenes’ we try to illustrate how the urban choreography approach allows the M4H site to change overtime. The site should continue to be in flux and be a physical representation of continues competing urban forces. The city is never ‘finished’, it should facilitate urban flux and offer a platform for its changing identity through its build and un-build spaces.


is for MH4 to become a world class art, research & technology hub for the Netherlands, promoting and nurturing local and regional creatives, researchers and entrepreneurs. The site is strategically located within the Randstad and in close proximity to the TU Delft, Den Haag-Rotterdam Airport and the Erasmus University, M4H is positioned to become one of Europe’s premium knowledge and creativity hub’s. In addition we envision MH4 to foster a vibrant waterfront living district where diversity and creativity form the basis of each community. Through the capitalization on innovative design and advanced technological strategies we aim to foster a sustainable relationship with its natural & urban context. In this document we outline a 3 step approach in establishing a socially sustainable development strategy for this complex industrial urban site. We have set out a development approach and have represented a potential outcome through a series of urban scene’s. This document serves to illustrate the Urban Choreography approach.

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